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The King and I (1956)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, Musical | 29 June 1956 (USA)
A widow accepts a job as a live-in governess to the King of Siam's children.

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(screenplay), (book) | 1 more credit »
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Won 5 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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...
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Martin Benson ...
Terry Saunders ...
Rex Thompson ...
Carlos Rivas ...
Patrick Adiarte ...
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...
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Storyline

Mrs. Anna Leonowens and her son Louis arrive in Bangkok, where she has been contracted to teach English to the children of the royal household. She threatens to leave when the house she had been promised is not available, but falls in love with the children. A new slave, a gift of a vassal king, translates "Uncle Tom's Cabin" into a Siamese ballet. After expressing her unhappiness at being with the King, the slave decides to make an attempt to escape with her lover. Anna and the King start to fall in love, but her headstrong upbringing inhibits her from joining his harem. She is just about to leave Siam but something important she finds out makes her think about changing her mind. Written by Randy Goldberg <goldberg@nymc.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Fabulous Broadway Stage Success Comes to the Screen! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

29 June 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I  »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,550,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)| (70 mm re-release)| (1956 roadshow version)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Both Yul Brynner and writer Ernest Lehman were determined to include the song "Is a Puzzlement" in the film, but this idea was refused by hands-on producer and 20th Century Fox head, Darryl F. Zanuck. He did relent on this to the extent that if he deemed that the film needed it upon completion, then he would allow for re-shoots. This is exactly what happened. "Is a Puzzlement" was shot, as indeed was an opening sequence showing Anna and her son arriving in Bangkok, all to the tune of an additional $400,000. See more »

Goofs

During the song "A Puzzlement", the King's earring appears and disappears from his ear between shots. See more »

Quotes

Kralahome: [to Anna] Why are you so blind; have you no eyes to see? King tries impossible task - wishing to be scientific man who know all modern things... He will only tear himself in two, trying to be something he can never be!
Anna: Of course he can never be, if those who are closest to him are unwilling to help him!
Kralahome: You do not know King as well as you think you do. You believe you have great influence over him. You will end up as his slave-like all the others!
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: Siam 1862 See more »

Connections

Featured in The 100 Greatest Musicals (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

A Puzzlement
(1951) (uncredited)
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Sung by Yul Brynner
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A magnificent, emotionally packed unusual love story
29 October 2000 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

I originally saw THE KING AND I at the Roxy Theatre in New York when I was ten years old. My grandmother took me after a day trip to the Statue of Liberty, and I was expecting to see one of my favorites, Jan Clayton, the star of LASSIE, in the starring role.

When the movie unfolded I was enraptured by the beautiful redhead playing the lead and realized it wasn't Miss Clayton (whom I later learned had played in the road version of the show, and kids that age don't really know the difference). I went out into the theatre lobby and looked at the ornate program, which listed Mrs. Anna as Deborah Kerr.

What an impression this woman has had on my life over the years from the retelling of the classic tale of the British woman who comes to Siam to teach the king's children. It is superb, not only musically, but from a story standpoint holds up as the best of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals. It is essentially a women's lib story, which makes it as relevant today as it was fifty years ago when it premiered on Broadway.

The fiery, but compassionate Mrs. Anna who is at first turned off by the king and then charmed by him, and who little by little changes him from a near-despot to a man who can grow.

The subplots are fanciful, but lovely and, in the ballet of Uncle Tom, as performed by Tuptim draw a direct analogy to the unpleasant lives endured by Siamese slaves, in particular women. It does so with majesty and intelligence, no less so than Arthur Miller did in "The Crucible," contrasting the Salem Witch Trials with the awful McCarthy political witchhunts on Capitol Hill.

It is an extraordinary achievement, and it is shocking that it did not even make the top 100 AFI films a year ago. It is continually fresh and alive, and every time there is a festival or re-release it does well. Indeed, a few years ago it was shown on a huge screen at The Hollywood Bowl, with orchestral accompaniment, and it was a smash again.

My only regret is that Deborah Kerr (six times nominated for an Oscar) was not gifted with an Academy Award along with her co-star Yul Brynner.

It is a film that should be seen for generations to come.


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