The King and I (1956)
Full Cast and Crew for The King and I (1956)
Cast (in credits order)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Awards for The King and I (1956)
Academy Awards, USA
1957 Won Oscar Best Actor in a Leading Role
1957 Won Oscar Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color
1957 Won Oscar Best Costume Design, Color
1957 Won Oscar Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture
1957 Won Oscar Best Sound, Recording
1957 Nominated Oscar Best Actress in a Leading Role
1957 Nominated Oscar Best Cinematography, Color
1957 Nominated Oscar Best Director
1957 Nominated Oscar Best Picture
Directors Guild of America, USA
1957 Nominated DGA Award Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures
Golden Globes, USA
1957 Won Golden Globe Best Motion Picture - Musical/Comedy
1957 Won Golden Globe Best Motion Picture Actress - Comedy/Musical
1957 Nominated Golden Globe Best Film Promoting International Understanding
1957 Nominated Golden Globe Best Motion Picture Actor - Comedy/Musical
National Board of Review, USA
1956 Won NBR Award Best Actor
Writers Guild of America, USA
1957 Won WGA Award (Screen) Best Written American Musical
AMG Info for The King and I (1956)
USA (1956)- 133 min. - Feature, Color
Amazon.com Review for The King and I (1956)
The third Rodgers & Hammerstein Broadway hit to go before the cameras, The King and I boasts a career-making performance from Yul Brynner, repeating his stage triumph as the titular monarch and proving to moviegoers that bald can be beautiful. It's Brynner's proud king that provides the fulcrum to the plot, and it's Brynner himself, with his piercing gaze and graceful physicality, that demands our attention. The story line, adapted from an earlier, nonmusical stage hit, follows widowed English teacher Anna Leonowens (Deborah Kerr) to her new posting as tutor to the Siamese king's formidable mob of children. The collision of East and West affords its winning mixture of drama and humor, and the warm friendship that grows between the king and the patrician teacher provides a poignant, unfulfilled romance between the two wary protagonists. Into this framework, the composers insert a superb score, echoing Asian motifs, as well as a bouquet of lovely songs including "Hello, Young Lovers," "Shall We Dance," and two ensemble pieces for Anna and the royal children ("Getting to Know You" and "I Whistle a Happy Tune") that suggest prototypes for Rodgers & Hammerstein's later hit, The Sound of Music. For this 1956 production, 20th Century Fox lavished stereophonic sound, widescreen cinematography, intricate production design, and stunning sets. Technically, this newly mastered version is the best-looking and sounding King yet to hit DVD. But, regardless of format, the glorious music is reason enough to hit "play."
Leonard Maltin Review for The King and I (1956)
US (1956): Musical/Dance
Excellent film adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway musical, based on book that was previously filmed as ANNA AND THE KING OF SIAM. Kerr plays widowed English schoolteacher who travels to Siam to teach the King's many children, and finds dealing with His Highness her greatest challenge. Brynner gives the performance of a lifetime, and won an Oscar recreating his Broadway role. Kerr is charming; her singing voice was dubbed by Marni Nixon. Songs include "Hello, Young Lovers," "Getting to Know You," "Shall We Dance." Also won Oscars for art direction-set decoration, Irene Sharaff's costumes, Alfred Newman and Ken Darby's scoring. Screenplay by Ernest Lehman. CinemaScope 55.
Memorable Quotes from The King and I (1956)
King: Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera!
King: When I sit, you sit. When I kneel, you kneel. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera!
King: You will order the finest gold chopsticks.
King: ...Pairs of male elephants to be released into the forests of America. There it is hoped that they will grow in number and the people can tame them and use them as beasts of burden.
King: [chanting to Buddha before banquet preparations] Help also Mrs. Anna to keep awake for scientific sewing of dresses, even though she be only a woman and a Christian and therefore unworthy of your interest!
Louis: Mother, look! The Prime Minister is naked.
Tuptim: Good day, Madam. My name is Tuptim. I already speak English.
Lady Thiang: They think you wear dress like that, because you shaped like that.
Anna: This girl hurt your vanity... she didn't hurt your heart! You have no heart! You've never loved anyone and you never will.
King: You will say no more!
King: You are very difficult woman!
Lun Tha: Death is not worse pain than an empty life.
Kralahome: [to Anna] Why are you so blind; have you no eyes to see? King tries impossible task - wishing to be scientific man who know all modern things... He will only tear himself in two, trying to be something he can never be!
One of the King's wives: [Sees the bearded Ambassador.] Oh! He has the head of a goat!
Anna: Then how do you explain, your majesty, that many men remain faithful to only one wife?
Prince Chulalongkorn: [to his father, the King] You believe! Does that mean that you do not know?
Trivia for The King and I (1956)
Deborah Kerr's singing was dubbed by Marni Nixon.
Although this movie was filmed and promoted in the then-new 55mm CinemaScope 55, it was actually shown in the standard 35mm CinemaScope, with 4-channel stereo rather than the 6-channel stereo originally promised. CinemaScope 55 was never used or promoted again after this production.
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.
Dorothy Dandridge was the original choice for the role of Tuptim, but turned it down. The role later went to Rita Moreno.
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 and led the way for modernization, improved relations with the West and instituted many important cultural and social reforms in Thailand.
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."
Leona Gordon was hired to augment the singing of Rita Moreno.
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.
The cost of the film was ten times more than that of the original lavish Broadway production.
The short scene in which Anna is taken through the streets of Bangkok to the King's palace by the royal entourage required 25 sets on a three-acre area on the Fox backlot, not counting the stables for the elephants used in the sequence.
Marlon Brando was briefly considered for the role of the King of Siam.
Deborah Kerr's gowns, designed by Irene Sharaff, each weighed between 30 and 40 pounds, due to all the pleats, hoops and petticoats.
Baking under the hot lights on-set, Deborah Kerr lost over 12 pounds, and would often refer to herself as "The melting Miss Kerr."
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.
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!"
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.
It was announced, early on, that Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II would write a set of new songs for this film adaptation of their 1951 hit Broadway musical, but of course, this wasn't to be so.
Three musical numbers were recorded, and allegedly shot, but subsequently deleted. They were:
It was felt that "My Lord and Master" and "I Have Dreamed" didn't do much to advance the plot, and that "Shall I Tell You What I Think of You?" would make Anna sound too whiny and nagging. All three numbers can still be heard on the soundtrack album, however.
The opening verse of "Song of the King" was recorded, but later deleted. It can be heard on the soundtrack album.
A choral reprisal of "I Whistle a Happy Tune" was recorded, but subsequently deleted. It can still be heard on the soundtrack album.
Dinah Shore, who was a singer as well as an actress, was initially considered for the role of Anna Leonowens.
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.
The play was written for Gertrude Lawrence and her appearance in the film version was contractually guaranteed. However, shortly after the show opened she was diagnosed with cancer, and she died while still playing the role on Broadway.
The subplot involving Tuptim, although heavily altered by Hammerstein in the play to make it more of a definite romance between Tuptim and Lun Tha, was once thought to have a basis in reality, but it has turned out to be completely fictional, part of the embellishments that the real Anna Leonowens added to her autobiography during her years as governess and schoolteacher to the King's children.
Goofs for The King and I (1956)
Continuity: The King's earring during "Is a Puzzlement."
Continuity: The presence of the children when the King is praying for the success of his banquet.
Factual errors: There could have been no scarlet macaws (from South America) in a Siamese marketplace.
Anachronisms: The map of the world prominently visible in the classroom shows parts of the Arctic and Antarctic regions that hadn't yet been explored or mapped in 1862.
Anachronisms: The map displayed in the class room showed a contiguous 48 United States, although many of those states, especially in the West, had not achieved statehood in 1865.
The King and I (1956)
Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Letterboxed, THX, Widescreen, NTSC
Available Subtitles: English, Spanish
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