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This is the story of Anna Leonowens, the English schoolteacher who came to Siam in the 1860s to teach the children of King Mongkut. She becomes involved in his affairs, from the tragic plight of a young concubine to trying to forge an alliance with Britain to a war with Burma that is orchestrated by Britain. In the meantime, a subtle romance develops between them. Written by
The King's favorite daughter, Princess Fa-Ying (Melissa Campbell), dies of cholera. Yet she appears after her death with the rest of the royal family briefly aboard the royal steamboat as the King attempts to take the royal family to safety from the insurgents marching toward the palace. Then, after the ship lands, the King and family pray at a shrine to Buddha, and Princess Fa-Ying is again seen with the rest of the children as the insurgents approach from the other side of the river. See more »
She was the first English woman I had ever met. And it seemed to me she knew more about the world than anyone. But it was a world Siam was afraid would consume them. The monsoon winds had whispered her arrival like a coming storm. Some welcomed the rain, but others feared a raging flood. Still she came, unaware of the suspicion that preceded her. But it wasn't until years later, that I began to appreciate how brave she was, and how alone she must have felt. An English woman. The ...
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I saw a trailer for this film a few months before the Australian opening. Originally it was the lush cinematography that caught my eye. I assumed it would be a re-make either of the original 1946 movie or the better known Rodgers and Hammerstein musical of 1956.
In actual fact, the movie is neither a re-make of these previous FOX efforts, but rather an adaption of Anna Leonowens' own memoirs of the time she spent in Siam.
Jodie Foster gave a fascinating, beautiful performance as Anna. I found her portrayal of the character interesting, as it was far different from Deborah Kerr's interpretation. Yul Brynner left his mark on the King in both stage and film versions of "The King and I". However, Chow Yun Fat in a different role is excellent. I feel they are both up with a chance for an oscar nomination.
The film is a fine example of movie making. In addition to the supporting cast, the costumes and art decoration were of an excellent standard. Although the film was shot in Malaysia and not Thailand, I only suspected the film was not shot there because of all versions of the story being banned there. Despite the fact I have been to some of the Malaysian locations, I hardly noticed it.
Skeptical in my viewing of this movie because of my fondness for "The King and I", "Anna and the King" has forever shattered my illusions of the story. No longer can I picture the children swaying to the strains of "Getting to Know You". However, I was greatly surprised by this movie. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Rating: 10/10
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