The King and I
Synopsis of Movie
"Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera..."
The King and I was another lavish Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, this time based on Anna Leonowens' autobiographical novel Anna and The King of Siam.
Originally a Broadway show, the musical tells the story of Anna, a young, recently-widowed mother of one son who comes to 19th-century Siam (now known as Thailand) to tutor the king’s many children. Anna and the King immediately clash. The King expects everyone to kowtow to his beliefs and demands, and he is greatly annoyed when Anna does not. Her headstrong personality and British upbringing make her bristle at Siam’s notions of subservience and sexism.
The King and Anna eventually warm to each other, even if they still do not necessarily approve of each other’s thinking. Yet the two are charmed by each other’s distinct, but opposing personalities. Anna also loves tutoring the King’s large brood of children and wives, but she soon learns that their perspective of the world is marred by the King’s outrageous opinions and huge ego. When she tries to instruct them about world geography, she is amused to learn that the children think that Siam is the largest country in the world, and the British Empire is tiny by comparison.
Anna seems to enjoy living in Siam until she witnesses the King’s harsh treatment of one of his concubines, a young woman unwilling to be the King’s consort because she is in love with another man. Anna must decide whether she can live in a country whose way of life she does not entirely approve of, as well as reconcile her feelings for the King himself.
The King and I included several memorable Rodgers and Hammerstein songs, including “Getting to Know You” and “Shall We Dance?,” as well as the famous “House of Uncle Thomas” performance that featured Thai dancing and pantomime. Yul Brenner originated the role of the King of Siam on Broadway and also played him in the film, winning both a Tony and an Oscar for his performance of the same role. The King and I was also nominated for eight other awards, including Best Picture, winning five of them.
After more than four decades in release, The King and I has become a classic musical, still being watched by song and dance fans around the world. The story's continuing popularity has led to two remakes, both released in 1999. Warner Bros.' The King and I was an animated retelling of the Rodgers and Hammerstein play, while 20th Century Fox's Anna and the King dispensed with the singing and dancing to focus on Anna Leonowens' story, with Jodie Foster and Chow Yun-Fat in the title roles.
Movie Release History1956 - The King and I
Movie Sub Categorieslive-action
Movie Studio20th Century Fox
CastAnna Leonowens Deborah Kerr
King Mongkut of Siam Yul Brynner
Tuptim Rita Moreno
Kralahome Martin Benson
Lady Thiang Terry Saunders
Louis Leonowens Rex Thompson
Lun Tha Carlos Rivas
Prince Chulalongkorn Patrick Adiarte
British Ambassador Sir John Hay Alan Mowbray
Sir Edward Ramsay Geoffrey Toone
Keeper of the Dogs Robert Banas
Twin Dennis Bonilla
Twin Thomas Bonilla
Specialty Dancer Gemze De Lappe
Lun Tha (singing voice) Reuben Fuentes
Captain Orton Charles Irwin
Angel (in ballet) Michiko Iseri
Siamese Girl Irene James
Simon Legree Marion Jim
Whipping Guard Fuji Levi
Whipping Guard Weaver Levy
Whipping Guard Jocelyn Lew
Messenger Eddie Luke
Anna (singing voice) Marni Nixon
Guest at Palace Josephine Smith
Interpreter Leonard Strong
Uncle Thomas Dusty Worrall
High Priest William Yip