Chinese stowaway Mei Li (Miyoshi Umeki) arrives in San Francisco with her father to meet her fiancé, wealthy nightclub owner Sammy Fong (Jack Soo), in an arranged marriage, but the groom ...
See full summary »
Robert Lomax tired of working in an office, wants to be an artist. So he moves to Hong Kong to try his hand at painting. Finding a cheap hotel he checks in, only to find it's used by ... See full summary »
Fred and Lilly are a divorced pair of actors who are brought together by Cole Porter who has written a musical version of The Taming of the Shrew. Of course, the couple seem to act a great ... See full summary »
Billy Bigelow has been dead for fifteen years, and now outside the pearly gates, he long waived his right to go back to Earth for a day. But he has heard that there is a problem with his ... See full summary »
Chinese stowaway Mei Li (Miyoshi Umeki) arrives in San Francisco with her father to meet her fiancé, wealthy nightclub owner Sammy Fong (Jack Soo), in an arranged marriage, but the groom has his eye on his star singer Linda Low (Nancy Kwan). This film version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway musical is filled with memorable song-and-dance numbers showcasing the contrast between Mei Li's traditional family and her growing fascination with American culture. Written by
The original Broadway cast album of "Flower Drum Song", issued in early 1959, was the first Broadway cast album of a Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II show to be issued in stereo. (The stereo versions of the film soundtracks of "Oklahoma!", "Carousel", "The King and I", and "South Pacific", were all issued in 1958.) See more »
Nancy Kwan's character sings "Grant Avenue", a big production number in Chinatown. The lyrics incorrectly identify a "cable car" as a "trolley." Cable cars move by gripping moving cable that runs under the street. A "trolley" uses a "pole" which connects from the roof to an overhead wire which powers the car. Cable cars do not use poles or overhead trolley lines. See more »
This one takes me right back to the sixties when we were young and full of hope for the future. We saw it as a first run movie at Graumann's Chinese Theater in Hollywood and loved it. Even today, on the television set, it holds up well and the overture just jumps out at you. Soon, you hear "A Hundred Million Miracles, with doll-like Miyoshi Umeki, and other great songs like "Love Look Away," and "Sunday." The choreography is as impressive as the music, in particular the erotic dance sequence for "Love Look Away," with beautiful Reiko Sato as Helen. Her unrequited love for Ta (James Shigeta) is never neatly resolved, unlike the film's other romantic relationships, and unfortunately, she died in real life only twenty years later. Nancy Kwan as Linda Low, of course, looks great, sings well, and slinks around very nicely, as do the many other lovely Asian dancers who grace this testament to Chinese American culture and oriental beauty. The funniest and best acting came from old man Wang, played by Benson Fong. He complained to his wife's sister (Juanita Hall) that after five long years of citizenship school, the only thing she could say about America was, "This isn't China!" And when asked to describe the mugger who had robbed him on his doorstep, he replied simply, "How should I know. All white men look alike." James Shigeta and Jack Soo handed in memorable performances, as well. The former became one of the most successful and consistently employed oriental actors in American film and television, while the latter went on to play Nick Yemana on "Barney Miller." Although there are some corny aspects to "Flower Drum Song," these are more than counterbalanced by the many interesting elements that occur throughout the movie. In short, it's a sort of "Joy Luck Club" of the early sixties, on a similar level and released about the same time as "South Pacific" and "West Side Story." A couple of years later, America was again impacted by the Orient. The beautiful song "Sukiyaki," an imported hit from Japan, went to number one on the American pop charts. We had our problems in those days, but culturally speaking, it was a great time to be alive.
20 of 21 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?