Ben Meyers’ rating: 4.1|5.0 Stars ìììì

The King and I is, actually, ‘kind of good’ and worth watching. While it’s not the best of Rodger and Hammerstein musicals, it holds its own with Yul Brenner as King Mongkut of Siam (modern-day Thailand) and Deborah Kerr as Anna Leonowens, the school teacher King Mongkut has hired to educate the royal children. The casting is perfect; the two leads meet each other head on, equal footing. The script is very well written. The movie kindly looks at the difficulty of moving from old traditions into new modes of thinking and solving problems. The film skillfully weaves in several back stories that increase the depth of the primary story. There is a charming rendition of Uncle Tom’s Cabin as interpreted by Siamese dancers that is absolutely worth seeing. The movie has an unexpected resolution that highlights the fact that sometimes it takes generations of time to make necessary changes, but that education and good teachers are the key to making that happen.

Additional Thanks

Great work for Director Walter Lang. Thank you to Executive Producer Darryl F. Zanuck for making the film possible. Wonderful music by Richard Rodgers. Terrific writing by screenplay writer Ernest Lehman based on the book by Oscar Hammerstein II/musical play by Margaret Landon. Additional characters/cast include: Tuptim (Rita Moreno), Kralahome (Martin Benson), Lady Thiang (Terry Saunders) Louis Leonowens (Rex Thompson), Lun Tha (Carlos Rivas), and Prince Chylalongkorn (Patrick Adiarte).

Buy a ticket? Yes? No? Maybe?


Ben Meyers

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