7.4/10
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The King and I (1956)

Trailer
1:34 | Trailer
A widow accepts a job as a live-in governess to the King of Siam's children.

Director:

Walter Lang

Writers:

Ernest Lehman (screenplay), Oscar Hammerstein II (book) | 1 more credit »
Won 5 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Deborah Kerr ... Anna Leonowens
Yul Brynner ... King Mongkut of Siam
Rita Moreno ... Tuptim
Martin Benson ... Kralahome
Terry Saunders Terry Saunders ... Lady Thiang
Rex Thompson ... Louis Leonowens
Carlos Rivas ... Lun Tha
Patrick Adiarte ... Prince Chulalongkorn
Alan Mowbray ... Sir John Hay
Geoffrey Toone ... Sir Edward Ramsay
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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:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Thai

Release Date:

29 June 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,550,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (with Overture, Entr'acte and Exit Music) (roadshow)

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.55 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first of three films released in successive years in which Deborah Kerr was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar. This film was followed by Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison (1957) and Separate Tables (1958). See more »

Goofs

When Anna is summoned by the king in the middle of the night (at around 1 min), the king's left hand switches between resting on a pillow and pointing in a book between shots. See more »

Quotes

King Mongkut of Siam: You think you teach King lesson, but this is one lesson you do not be paid for teaching. In the future, you will stop instructing wives and children in silly English song "Home Sweet House". To remind me of breaking promises I never make, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Anna Leonowens: Your majesty, I do not intend to have my boy brought up in a harem, and you did promise me a house; "a brick residence adjoining the palace," those were your very words in the letter.
King Mongkut of Siam: [obviously does remember] I do not remember ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

In the 1991 VHS release, after the "Feature Presentation" card fades to black, at first a film called A Boy Named Charlie Brown (1969) starts playing, and it goes up until the start of its opening credits, then you hear someone saying that they put in the wrong film. The film stops, a quick reel change slide is put up, and then the real movie starts. See more »

Alternate Versions

An overture was added to the film (and intermission and exit music as well) for the roadshow version, but were never used on the pre-1998 VHS versions or the 2014 DVD and Blu-ray. See more »


Soundtracks

Rule Britannia
(1740) (uncredited)
Music by Thomas Augustine Arne
Briefly in the score when the British visit Siam
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Worthy If Not Ideal Screen Adaptation
14 August 2006 | by evanston_dadSee all my reviews

Director Walter Lang does his best to ruin what may be Rodgers & Hammerstein's strongest stage musical, but he's no match for the stellar material.

He directs with a stodgy, anonymous style -- why actually move your camera around a set when you can root it to the floor as if it's a potted plant? With the exception of Yul Bryner and Deborah Kerr, he elicits performances from his cast that would be at home in a cheesy sword-and-sandal Biblical epic. And the film has that overblown, garish visual design too common to big films from this time period, that manages to look both cheap and expensive at the same time, as if all the sets are made out of brightly colored plexiglass.

But, and this is a big "but," this musical tells a beautiful story about cultural tolerance that remains intact in the film, and the movie offers the strong performances of Bryner and Kerr, both perfectly cast in their roles. "Carousel" may have given audiences the most sophisticated R&H score, but for me, the music in "The King and I" remains the most glorious. Too bad the adapted film score severely truncates its stage counterpart: many songs are missing entirely, and almost all of those left are shortened versions.

Happily, the "Small House of Uncle Thomas" ballet sequence remains in the film and retains the original Jerome Robbins choreography as it appeared on stage. It may just be the most memorable musical number ever conceived for stage or screen.

This film isn't the best possible screen adaptation of a nearly perfect stage show, but thanks to Bryner and Kerr, and of course R&H, it'll do.

Grade: B+


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