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The King and I (1956)

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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 & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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The story of the romance between the King of Siam and widowed British schoolteacher, Anna Leonowens, during the 1860s.

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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:

In the complete grandeur of CinemaScope 55! Richer - Deeper - Clearer! 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)

Gross USA:

$21,300,000
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

Darryl F. Zanuck first cast Maureen O'Hara as Anna because she was not only gorgeous but had a fine soprano voice and would not have to be dubbed. When Zanuck told her the news, she immediately sent sample recordings of her voice. Richard Rodgers agreed that O'Hara had a great voice but reportedly said, "No pirate queen is going to play my Anna!" See more »

Goofs

Tuptim's play "Small House of Uncle Thomas" is an inaccurate hodgepodge of characters and scenes from the original book, but this can easily be understood as her best interpretation of the story as a new speaker of English who wants to use the story for her own purposes to change the King's heart. However, few of the references to Buddha or Buddhism within the song are depicted accurately and shows a clear Western interpretation of the religion. Some specific examples are that Buddhists do not view Buddha as God but rather as the founder of their teachings and the first to attain Enlightenment, they do not therefore pray to Buddha for help and guidance, they do not believe in angels, and they do not believe that Buddha calls them to his presence when they die; all of these are strictly Christian beliefs, most likely used in the story for the purpose of relating to a Western audience. See more »

Quotes

King Mongkut of Siam: Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera!
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 »

Alternate Versions

The 1991 VHS release from Fox Video features the A Boy Named Charlie Brown false start scene that comes before the "actual" film. It was removed on later VHS releases, starting with the 1994 VHS release. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in It's Tough to Be a Bug (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

We Kiss in a Shadow
(1951) (uncredited)
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Sung by Carlos Rivas (dubbed by Reuben Fuentes) and Rita Moreno (dubbed by Leona Gordon)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

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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