Screened as part of Autumn Events 2016

The King and I 1956

Directed by Walter Lang

Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner are the definitive Anna and the King of Siam in the dazzling movie of the evergreen Rogers and Hammerstein musical, spectacularly transferred to digital for its 60th anniversary.

USA In English
133 minutes DCP
G

Director

Producer

Charles Brackett

Screenplay

Ernest Lehman

From musical by

Oscar Hammerstein II. Based on the book by Margaret Landon.

Photography

Leon Shamroy

Editor

Robert Simpson

Songs by

Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II

Music

Alfred Newman

With

Deborah Kerr (Anna Leonowens)
,
Yul Brynner (King Mongkut of Siam)
,
Rita Moreno (Tuptim)
,
Martin Benson (Kralahome)
,
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)

Elsewhere

“Shall we dance? On a bright cloud of music shall we fly?” This perennial favourite of Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, even now a hot ticket on Broadway, found its definitive production (and cast) in 1956, lavishly scaled for the vast Twentieth Century Fox sound stages. In its gilded fantasy of palace life in 19th-century Siam, an English governess (Deborah Kerr), imported to tutor the King’s many children, famously stands up to the autocratic monarch (Yul Brynner). Any resemblance to the plot of the subsequent The Sound of Music is soon forgotten as the mercurial Brynner commands the screen, his animal grace rendered all the more enticing by his quizzical take on Western novelties. The polygamous monarch and the proto-feminist school teacher clash, and sparks of forbidden attraction fly. Their chaste consummation on the dance floor is super-charged, an iconic late highpoint in old-school Hollywood romance.

The score abounds with songs that have become standards: ‘Hello, Young Lovers’, ‘Something Wonderful’, ‘We Kiss in a Shadow’. Yul Brynner's performance won him an Oscar but did nothing to endear the film’s breezy disregard for historical accuracy to the Thai monarchy. The film remains banned in Thailand.  

“All the ingredients that made Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I a memorable stage experience have been faithfully transferred to the screen. The result is a pictorially exquisite, musically exciting, and dramatically satisfying motion picture.”  Variety