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The King and I [1956] (2 discs)

Director:Walter Lang
Writer:Ernest Lehman
Composer:Alfred Newman
Songs:Oscar Hammerstein II
Richard Rodgers
Length:133 minutes
(2 hours 13 minutes)
MPAA Rating:G
Sorting Category:Family
Sorting Tub:Echo
IMDB Rating:7.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating:96%
Amazon Rating:4.5/5 stars
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Synopsis: A widow accepts a job as a live-in governess to the King of Siam's children.

Reaction: Classic, memorable, and great for the family. Fun songs and a great performance from Yul Brynner.

Personal Rating: 8/10

Walter Lang => Director
Ernest Lehman => Writer
Alfred Newman => Composer
Oscar Hammerstein II => Songs / Musical Play
Richard Rodgers => Songs
Margaret Landon => Book
Alan Mowbray => Sir John Hay
Carlos Rivas => Lun Tha
Charles Irwin => Capt. Orton (uncredited)
Deborah Kerr => Anna Leonowens
Dusty Worrall => Uncle Thomas - in Play (uncredited)
Geoffrey Toone => Sir Edward Ramsay
Jean Wong => Amazon (uncredited)
Joycelyne Lew => Princess Ying Yaawolak (uncredited)
Marni Nixon => Playback vocalist for Deborah Kerr (uncredited)
Martin Benson => Kralahome
Michiko Iseri => Angel - in Play (uncredited)
Patrick Adiarte => Prince Chulalongkorn
Rex Thompson => Louis Leonowens
Rita Moreno => Tuptim
Robert Banas => Keeper of the Dogs - in Play (uncredited)
Terry Saunders => Lady Thiang
William Yip => High Priest (uncredited)
Yul Brynner => King Mongkut of Siam
Yuriko => Eliza - in Play (uncredited)

Random Trivia For This Title:

  • In real life, the King died of malaria, not a broken spirit.
  • At least four women were considered for the role of Anna, which ultimately went to actor Deborah Kerr. Potential candidates for the combination singing/acting role, were ruled out for various reasons and included [?] Gertrude Lawrence, Maureen O'Hara, and Dinah Shore. All except Kerr were excellent singers.
  • The real-life [?] Anna Leonowens was the maternal aunt of Boris Karloff.
  • In Thailand (previously called Siam) the royal family is held in very high esteem. This film is banned in Thailand due to its real historical inaccuracies and the perceived disrespect to the monarchy. The real Prince [?] Chulalongkorn grew up to be an especially good King [?] Chulalongkorn and led the way for modernization, improved relations with the West, and instituted many important cultural and social reforms in Thailand. A well-researched book that corrects the many myths of Anna's stated story is Masked: The Life of [?] Anna Leonowens, Schoolmistress at the Court of Siam, by [?] Alfred Habegger.
  • It was Yul Brynner who pushed for Deborah Kerr to be cast as Anna. He had seen some of her stage work, was highly impressed with her and was convinced that she was the one for the role.
  • The reality of the {Shall We Dance} sequence was that Deborah Kerr suffered continual bruising from the hoops in her skirt.
  • At one point, Fox executives suggested that the story be changed so that the King would be gored by a white elephant, rather than become ill because of a personal humiliation. Understandably, this made Yul Brynner furious, and he insisted that the story stick to the stage version.
  • Marni Nixon was hired on a six-week contract, and she was to be at the studio every day that Deborah Kerr rehearsed a scene with a song in it. Nixon would actually stand next to Kerr and walk through the whole scene - both of them singing - and Nixon would be looking closely at Kerr's facial expressions to try to imitate her speech pattern in the songs.
  • Yul Brynner is the only actor to have played a lead role in a Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II production both on the stage and on the screen, winning a Tony and an Oscar, respectively.
  • Deborah Kerr's uncredited voice double Marni Nixon said that she realized the keys of Anna's songs were very low for her - "very contralto keys" - and that she was really too young (just 21) to be able to sound "adult" and "womanly". Hence, a modifier was placed in Nixon's microphone, to make her voice sound deeper and more mature. "I have a very light, bright ring to my voice, and I tried to take that out" she said. "But they were able to use this modifier to emphasize the lower partials of my voice. I also remember having a terrible cold at the time, not being able to breathe in those recording sessions. But that probably helped in matching Deborah's voice, deepening it."
  • Rita Moreno said that the heavy Siamese headdresses she and the ballet dancers wore in The Small House of Uncle Thomas ballet sequence gave all of them headaches, which lasted for days.
  • Baking under the hot lights on-set, Deborah Kerr lost over 12 pounds, and would often refer to herself as "The melting Miss Kerr".
  • Although Walter Lang is given sole directorial credit on the film, Yul Brynner repeatedly clashed with him and made many of the directorial suggestions which found their way into the finished film.
  • Originally Yul Brynner only wanted to direct, with Marlon Brando playing the King.
  • Yul Brynner won the 1952 Tony Award (New York City) for Supporting or Featured Actor in a Musical for The King and I as the King of Siam and recreated his role in the movie version.
  • During the bible scene, the King mentions Moses. Yul Brynner had finished The Ten Commandments (1956) prior to this film.
  • [?] 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!"
  • The "Small House of Uncle Thomas" segment in this film is the only American theatrical version of Uncle Tom's Cabin to be made in the sound era. It was filmed in 1965 as a German theatrical movie, Uncle Tom's Cabin (1965), and in America, for TV in 1987 (Uncle Tom's Cabin (1987)), but not as a film per se. (The very obscure Uncle Tom's Cabin (1976) does not count, as it's an exploitation movie centered on torture and with little more than the title to do with [?] Harriet Beecher Stowe's story.)
  • Yul Brynner's Oscar winning performance in this film is his only Academy Award nomination.