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The King and I Details

FULL SYNOPSIS

The King and I, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein's 1951 Broadway musical hit, was based on Margaret Landon's book Anna and the King of Siam. Since 20th-Century-Fox had made a film version of the Landon book in 1946, that studio had first dibs on the movie adaptation of The King and I. Deborah Kerr plays English widow Anna Leonowens, who comes to Siam in the 1860s to tutor the many wives and children of the country's progressive King (Yul Brynner, recreating his Broadway role-and winning an Oscar in the process). The culture clash between Anna and the King is but one aspect of their multilayered relationship. Through Anna, the King learns the refineries and responsibilities of "modern" western civilization; Anna meanwhile comes to realize how important it is for an Oriental ruler to maintain his pride and to uphold the customs of his people. After a successful evening entertaining foreign dignitaries, Anna and the King celebrate with an energetic dance, but this is cut short by a bitter quarrel over the cruel punishment of the King's new Burmese wife Tuptim (Rita Moreno), who has dared to fall in love with someone else. Despite the many rifts between them, Anna and the monarch come to respect and (to a degree) love one another. When the King dies, Anna agrees to stay on to offer help and advice to the new ruler of Siam, young Prince Chulalongkhorn (Patrick Adiarte). In general, The King and I tends to be somewhat stagey, with the notable exception of the matchless "Small House of Uncle Thomas" ballet, which utilizes the Cinemascope 55 format to best advantage (the process also does a nice job of "handling" Deborah Kerr's voluminous hoopskirts). Most of the Broadway version's best songs ("Getting to Know You", "Whistle a Happy Tune", "A Puzzlement", "Shall We Dance" etc.) are retained. None of the omissions are particularly regrettable, save for Anna's solo "Shall I Tell You What I Think of You?" This feisty attack on the King's chauvinism was specially written to suit the talents of Gertrude Lawrence, who played Anna in the original production; the song was cut from the film because it made Deborah Kerr seem "too bitchy" (Kerr's singing, incidentally, is dubbed for the most part by the ubiquitous Marni Nixon). When all is said and done, the principal attraction of The King and I is Yul Brynner, in the role that made him a star and with which he will forever be identified. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:June 28, 1956

Awards

Awarded by
Nominee
Category
Year
Status
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Charles Brackett Best Picture 1956 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Deborah Kerr Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy 1956 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Deborah Kerr Best Actress 1956 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Ken Darby Best Musical Score 1956 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Lyle Wheeler Best Color Art Direction 1956 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Leon Shamroy Best Color Cinematography 1956 Nominee
Directors Guild of America Walter Lang Best Director 1956 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Walter Lang Best Director 1956 Nominee
National Board of Review Yul Brynner Best Actor 1956 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Yul Brynner Best Actor 1956 Winner
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Yul Brynner Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy 1956 Nominee
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Walter Scott Best Color Art Direction 1956 Winner
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Alfred Newman Best Musical Score 1956 Winner

Cast

Deborah Kerr
as Anna Leonowens
Yul Brynner
as The King of Siam
Rita Moreno
as Tuptim
Martin Benson
as Kralahome
Terry Saunders
as Lady Thiang
Carlos Rivas
as Lun Tha
Patrick Adiarte
as Prince Chulalongkorn
Alan Mowbray
as British Ambassador
Geoffrey Toone
as Ramsay
Marion Jim
as Simon Legree, in ballet
Robert Banas
as Keeper of the Dogs
Dusty Worrall
as Uncle Thomas, in ballet
Charles Irwin
as Ship's Captain
Leonard Strong
as Interpreter
Jadin Wong
as Amazon
Jean Wong
as Amazon
Weaver Levy
as Whipping Guard
William Yip
as High Priest
Eddie Luke
as Messenger
Josephine Smith
as Guest at Palace
Marni Nixon
as Anna (singing)

Crew

Walter Lang
Director
Charles Brackett
Producer
Ernest Lehman
Screenwriter
Margaret Landon
Book Author
Leon Shamroy
Cinematographer
Oscar Hammerstein II
From Musical by
Alfred Newman
Composer (Music Score)
Alfred Newman
Musical Direction/Supervision
Richard Rodgers
Composer (Music Score)
Richard Rodgers
From Musical by
Ken Darby
Composer (Music Score)
Lyle Wheeler
Art Director
Walter Scott
Set Designer
Irene Sharaff
Costume Designer
Jerome Robbins
Choreography
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