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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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In 1862, a young Englishwoman becomes royal tutor in Siam and befriends the King.

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Stars: Irene Dunne, Rex Harrison, Linda Darnell
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Cast

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

More than your eyes have ever seen... More than your heart has ever known! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

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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

Deborah Kerr's uncredited voice double Marni Nixon said that she realized the keys of Anna's songs were very low for her - "very contralto keys" - and that she was really too young (just 21) to be able to sound "adult" and "womanly". Hence, a modifier was placed in Nixon's microphone, to make her voice sound deeper and more mature. "I have a very light, bright ring to my voice, and I tried to take that out" she said. "But they were able to use this modifier to emphasize the lower partials of my voice. I also remember having a terrible cold at the time, not being able to breathe in those recording sessions. But that probably helped in matching Deborah's voice, deepening it." See more »

Goofs

The film is riddled with numerous inaccuracies about the biographies of King Mongkut and King Chulalongkorn (see trivia), causing the film to be banned and shunned in Thailand/Siam as libelous and slanderous. See more »

Quotes

Anna: This girl hurt your vanity... she didn't hurt your heart! You have no heart! You've never loved anyone and you never will.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The credits first say "Twentieth-Century Fox presents a Cinemascope Picture in Cinemascope 55", and then they go on to say "Darryl F. Zanuck presents Rodgers and Hammerstein's 'The King and I'". See more »

Connections

Referenced in Friends: The One with Joey's Big Break (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Song of the King
(1951) (uncredited)
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Sung by Yul Brynner
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A musical classic
16 January 2000 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

Known best as a musical version of 1946 FOX film "Anna and the King of Siam" starring Irene Dunne and Rex Harrison, "The King and I" often takes a back seat to "The Sound of Music". Whilst the latter is both my favourite all time movie and musical, "The King and I" is only second to it. Most of this, is due in part to the wonderful performances of Deborah Kerr, Yul Brynner and a delightful supporting cast.

Musical characters have been immortalised by few in the time musicals were fashionable. A few would be Julie Andrews' Maria, Gene Kelly's character from "Singin' in the Rain", Judy Garland's Dorothy and James Cagney's George M. Cohan from the biopic "Yankee Doodle Dandy". Brynner, in his best and most defining role, has forever left his mark on the King, arrogantly fierce, so simple, so desperate, so true.

Although not a singer and well known to be dubbed by Marni Nixon, the 'ghost' favourite of Hollywood musicals, Deborah Kerr gives another beautiful and loved performance as the English governess, with son Louis, travels to 1860s Siam to be tutor to the Royal children. Her performance demanded character, command and charm, and Kerr managed to successfully combine all three in a memorable performance.

But it is the Rodgers and Hammerstein score that tops it all off. The element of the screenplay in the FOX movie adaptions was not always the strongest. Tentative and urging was "Something Wonderful". "I Whistle a Happy Tune", bright, calming and inspirational. "Getting to Know You" sets the mood of happiness, "Hello, Young Lovers" keeps a note of optimism, and the rich, lush score of the overture and throughout the film make it memorable. But it is "Shall We Dance?", a joyful song that I believe to be the best of the lot. Although it is melodiously challenged because of Gertrude Lawrence's low voice range, it is still one of the best of the duo's scores.

Cinemascope, used first in the first of the Rodgers and Hammerstein movies of the year "Carousel", provided opportunities to open up moments in the picture. On a widescreen print, only then can the real grandeur, splendour and colour of the enormous sets and opulence of the movie itself can be fully appreciated.

Despite my love for the musical, since viewing both "Anna and the King of Siam" and the new Jodie Foster, Chow Yun-Fat movie "Anna and the King", the flaws in what was previously believed to be an accurate and true account of Anna Leonowens story, have unfortunately ruined the musical, both in Anna's life and the depiction of the Siamese court. The non-musical versions have been obviously more historically accurate, and the comparison of the three different FOX versions have all been noticably scripted to the fit the time of release.

But I have not yet allowed that to get in the way of enjoying a great musical. With "Anna and the King" as my favourite movie of 1999 of the moment, I hope it won't spoil things further.

Rating: 10/10


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Didn't realise it was a musical :^( svenrufus
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Shall we Dance sequence virginia72585
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Deborah Kerr Singing? love_you_hilaryduff
The three deleted numbers from this film. dove100scott
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