7.0/10
2,016
45 user 6 critic

Flower Drum Song (1961)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 9 November 1961 (USA)
A young woman arrives in San Francisco's Chinatown from Hong Kong with the intention of marrying a rakish nightclub owner, unaware he is involved with one of his singers.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

South Pacific (1958)
Musical | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

On a South Pacific island during World War II, love blooms between a young nurse and a secretive Frenchman who's being courted for a dangerous military mission.

Director: Joshua Logan
Stars: Rossano Brazzi, Mitzi Gaynor, John Kerr
Kiss Me Kate (1953)
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

An ex-husband and wife team star in a musical version of 'The Taming of the Shrew'; off-stage, the production is troublesome with ex-lovers' quarrels and a gangster looking for some money owed to them.

Director: George Sidney
Stars: Kathryn Grayson, Howard Keel, Ann Miller
Carousel (1956)
Drama | Fantasy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Fifteen years after his death, a carousel barker is granted permission to return to Earth for one day to make amends to his widow and their daughter.

Director: Henry King
Stars: Gordon MacRae, Shirley Jones, Cameron Mitchell
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

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 »

Director: Richard Quine
Stars: William Holden, Nancy Kwan, Sylvia Syms
Biography | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A widow accepts a job as a live-in governess to the King of Siam's children.

Director: Walter Lang
Stars: Yul Brynner, Deborah Kerr, Rita Moreno
State Fair (1945)
Comedy | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The Frake family attends the annual Iowa State Fair; each member of the clan has their own reason for doing so.

Director: Walter Lang
Stars: Jeanne Crain, Dana Andrews, Dick Haymes
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The Acunas, a rich Argentine family, have the tradition that the daughters have to get married in order, oldest first. When sister #1 gets married, sisters #3 and #4 put pressure on Maria, ... See full summary »

Director: William A. Seiter
Stars: Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, Adolphe Menjou
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Millie comes to town in the roaring twenties to encounter flappers, sexuality and white slavers.

Director: George Roy Hill
Stars: Julie Andrews, James Fox, Mary Tyler Moore
Summer Stock (1950)
Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A small-town farmer, down on her luck, finds her homestead invaded by a theatrical troupe invited to stay by her ne'er-do-well sister.

Director: Charles Walters
Stars: Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Eddie Bracken
Edit

Cast

Credited cast:
...
Linda Low
...
Wang Ta
...
Wang Chi-Yang
...
'Sammy' Fong
...
'Auntie' Liang
...
Helen Chao
...
Wang San
Kam Tong ...
Doctor Li
...
Frankie Wing
Soo Yong ...
Madame Ten Fong
Ching Wah Lee ...
Professor
...
Headwaiter
...
Mei Li
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jane Chung ...
Woman
Edit

Storyline

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 alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Most joyous hit lights up the screen! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

9 November 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rodgers & Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$10,900,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Lyric of song "Chop Suey" was changed from stage play's "Harry Truman, Truman Capote and Dewey" to "Bobby Darin, Sandra Dee and Dewey." Change was possibly made because by time film was made Truman administration was a decade in the past, but, just as likely, because producer Ross Hunter had Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin under contract and they were "hotter", more recognizable names. (Dated reference to 1944 presidential candidate Thomas Dewey presumably stuck because there simply weren't many other unused words that rhymed with "Suey".) See more »

Goofs

When Wang Ta (James Shigeta) drinks from the cup during the wedding ceremony his lips do not touch the glass but still swallows as if he drank from the glass. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Tradesman: [in Chinese] What was that?
Tradesman: [in Chinese] I don't know. Must be my stomach.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: Kitten with a Whip (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Gliding Through My Memoree (Reprise)
Performed by James Shigeta
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
What my Chinese (PRC) wife thought of FDS
7 April 2006 | by (usa) – See all my reviews

Speaking for myself, I have been a huge fan of FDS since the '70s when I bought the soundtrack album (on Decca) at a used record store for $7. I saw it on TV one new years day i think 1980 and it's been one of my favorites ever since. Not only is it one of R and H's best scores, Alfred Newman's arrangements are simply lush and beautiful. The cast and the director are all top notch. The screen play is delightful, perhaps a bit long, but rather too long than eliminate one of the great songs, some of which were already edited down from the original Broadway version which was directed by the great Gene Kelly. I have often wondered what would have happened if he had directed the movie. On stage, I do like the full two versions of The Other Generation, for example.

My wife is from the Peoples Rep. of China. Shes 28 and has been in the USA for 15 months as of this writing. I was going through my stuff recently in storage and came across of my heavily yellowed copy of CY Lee's novel FDS and thought my wife would enjoy it. She did. So i thought well now it's time to break out my old VHS copy which i hadn't seen since 1990. it was playable but storage hasn't been very kind to it. C'Mon DVD!!!

Her final comment was "cute". Benson Fong's Mr. Wang reminded her of her own father. Even though my wonderful father in law is a hard line communist, I see the obvious paternal, controlling similarities between them. He made her very nostalgic for her home land and her family. If we ever have any sons, he will probably be like Wang San in many ways and she could see the old man's reaction to his youngest son's could be very similar between her father and our son yet to be conceived.

What she thought was laughably bad was "A Hundred Million Miracles" trying to be passed off as a real flower drum song. She said, "if they sung that in China as a flower drum song they would have been stoned to death." She almost lost interest in the movie at that point especially since the movie and original play deviate from the novel at that point. So she didn't buy that at all. Sammy Fong's lecherous behavior was also realistic for a Chinese businessman. My wife related to that too.

She didn't buy some of the costuming especially young women wearing hats. Married women wore hats in the '50s but Mei Li apparently wouldn't.

Speaking of Mei Li, she totally bought her character both in the book and the movie. Very realistic portrayal and Miyoshi looked like a typical peasant girl albeit Miyoshi is Japanese not Chinese and that was evident immediately.

Linda Low, though not a big part of the novel, if at all, (I have forgotten if that character appears in it), was another realistic character, even today in 2006!! She reminded both us of, well... shall we say... materialistic girls you could meet everyday in Shanghai, the ones that unsuspecting foreigners need to be careful of. In any event, Nancy Kwan has another fan in my wife. We have a copy of Suzie Wong - book and movie - in China.

For myself, it was interesting seeing the movie after having lived three years in the PRC and what an admirable job the creators of the movie did in keeping with the culture. They missed a few things obviously, but for two Jewish boys from NYC, R and H as well as Joseph Fields libretto did an awesome job of keeping it real, much more so here than with the King and I which both play and movie are banned forever in Thailand because the Thai people find it so offensive.

As far as David Hwang's remake of FDS goes, I really can't comment on it because I haven't read it or seen it. I don't know if I really want to although I am curious just because I have been a supporter of FDS for so many years. If the idea for the remake is to resemble the novel more, than I am all for it. I love the novel and I think the original play and movie missed opportunities for beefing up the Helen Chao character better. She just kinds of disappears with no mention of her suicide after the hauntingly beautiful "Love Look Away" a show stopper if there ever was one. That is a flaw.

I just love Sammy Fong. How can you have FDS without Sammy Fong? He is just so sleazy and brilliant and wonderful invention by the creative team. How can you do FDS without 'the other generation" in any version. That's the whole point of the both the novel and the original play as well as the movie - the generation gap and the cultural gap. In portraying that, FDS, the original play and movie, succeed on pretty much every level If the idea to create a new version of FDS was because the movie and play portrayed negative stereotypes, my wife who is Chinese has to disagree. She loves the characters in this movie; in many ways, they brought China to life for her and what it is like living in a totally new culture, not understanding anything at all, or in her case thinking you know a foreign culture because you have worked with foreigners and finding it's completely different over here.

Kudos and thank you to RandH, Ross Hunter and his team in creating a movie that has aged so gracefully, (as has Ms. Kwan) for the most part, and making serious cultural and generational issues that will probably never go away fun. This movie will be current in 100 years.


37 of 42 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?