The King and I by Richard RodgersThe King and I, based on the book by Margaret Landon, screenplay by Ernest Lehman
Seven out of 10
The story of the British governess who travels to work at the court of the king of Siam, approximately the country of Thailand today, has seen a couple of other adaptations for the big screen, apart from the play.
Anna and the king of Siam is reviewed here: http://realini.blogspot.com/2017/08/n...
The film with Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr has been so acclaimed that it received five Academy Awards, 2 Golden Globes and other prizes.
Interestingly, if the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading role went to Yul Brynner for his interesting, rather outré performance as the King of Siam, the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Leading Role went to Deborah Kerr, the two most popular festivities appreciating different combatants in the Siam War.
Deborah Kerr is Anna Leonowens, a brave, educated, determined, proud, emotionally intelligent, astute, resilient, kind, generous, role model widow that lands in Bangkok, after the middle of the nineteenth century, where the prime minister meets her.
This is a half-naked man though, for customs are very different here, often the opposite of what westerners would apply, as the woman would soon learn, very often to her dismay, although she would come to love most of the people she would meet.
When they reach the palace, Anna and her son, Louis, have to wait for a long time to be received by the young, rambunctious monarch, who is portrayed by Yul Brynner, winner of the Oscar for an original, creative, outlandish role of a sovereign who keeps saying “Ha”! Moreover, he wants to be scientific and his household to be educated in the Western manner…up to a point Lord Copper
For this reason, he had hired the heroine, he complains that the sum paid is exorbitant, although this is in jest at times – this monarch is rather playful, although also quick to become irate, acting like a child – the governess would tell Louis at one moment that the sovereign is somehow as young as the son is.
When the King of Siam talks with the British woman, he is offensive to begin with, due in part to the difference of culture, but mostly he is used with treating everyone as inferior, seeing as his position is one of absolute ruler, whatever he wants he gets without opposition or complaint and that would be a strain in the communication with the eminent woman.
He asks her how old is she and the answer is one hundred and fifty – this is from the beginning of their exchanges a forewarning and a measure of an intense, often conflictual, but gradually friendlier, warm, estimable, finally loving relationship between intelligent, gifted, superior, resilient, vivacious and outstanding human beings.
The King wants progress for his country, has to fight formidable adversaries that are intent on subjecting his land, loyal to Siam, but at the same time capricious, used with cruelty, his new friend has to stop him when he wants to flog a slave that loves someone else, albeit she is a member of his harem.
This monarch has more than one hundred children, but as he points out to foreign ambassadors and envoys who are startled to hear it, this is just because he is new in his position…otherwise we would probably talk about upwards of one thousand…
When he learns about the American Civil War, he is intrigued by it, his appointed heir is wondering why would want to free slaves, and when the sovereign learns more about Abraham Lincoln and the similitudes they share – both leaders are interested in educating and bettering themselves – he wants to help.
With the help of his British consigliere – this is just a joke, he does not want and does not heed advice, not officially anyway – the Siamese monarch writes to the American leader and thinks that some elephants would greatly improve his standing in the war – indeed, when he first learns about the absence of the majestic beasts he is surprised they are not used in the Civil War.
At one stage, Siam is in a very dangerous, difficult position, with the Western powers interested in conquering it, advancing the proposal that his majesty is a barbarian anyway and he needs advice, even if his excessive pride, the position of absolute power and the presumption associated with it that he knows everything and has the best solution always.
Awkwardly, this is the law in Thailand today, where anyone questioning the monarch, even remotely suggesting that they are not the best humans can face stiff prison sentences for lese majeste, in what looks like a retrograde, absurd, medieval instrument of punishment for those who wish to think freely and enjoy democracy…but then a junta rules Siam in the present, making the case for liberty, human rights ever more hopeless.
Cunningly, his majesty is looking for advice from the woman is now a friend, even if they keep that somewhat secret, indirectly, by asking her to guess what he is ready to do to convince the Europeans that he is not a barbaric sovereign and when she explains that, he continues and prompts her to guess what he would do next, finally, convincing the Western diplomats that he is both modern and rather outlandish.
The King loves to read and study, albeit he is intrigued by the statement of the bible, especially the figure of Moses interests him, and the contradiction with what science purports, that it took ages to create the world, whereas God is supposed to have finished it in six, let us say seven days.
However, Anna Leonowens has a wise, philosophical and spiritual answer to this – it does not matter how long it took, it is a miracle nevertheless – and the king writes cards with subjects to approach at the special dinner, where foreign dignitaries are invited and takes the answer and uses it to impress his honored guests.
The New York Times has included this musical drama on its list of Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made:
Getting to Know You from The King and I
The King and I: timeless classic or dated relic?
That novel in turn was based on memoirs written by Anna Leonowens , who became school teacher to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the early s. Leonowens' stories were autobiographical, although various elements of them have been called into question. The film was a critical and commercial success, and was nominated for 9 Oscars , winning 5, including Best Actor for Brynner. Another film adaptation of the same musical, the animated film The King and I , was released in A widowed Welsh schoolteacher, Anna , arrives in Bangkok with her young son Louis after being summoned to tutor the many children of King Mongkut. The two are introduced to the intimidating Kralahome, Siam's prime minister, who escorts them to the Royal Palace where they will live, although Anna had been promised her own house.
A musical play in two acts. Set against a dazzling and exotic backdrop The King and I is the moving story of Anna, an American governess, who tries to help an Eastern king to come to terms with the modern world, but he is unable to resist the forces of ancient customs. The conflict between Eastern and Western cultures inspired this well-loved musical, which has been revived professionally many times and is always a firm favourite with the public.
When she arrives, though she enjoys an instant connection to the students, she struggles with cultural differences and with the headstrong King. Through her kindness and persistence, Anna eventually connects with the King, helping to fuel mutual feelings of social understanding and cultural acceptance and openness. Joohee Choi Lou Diamond Phillips. Broadway tickets, merchandise, music, videos, and all the news, reviews, and information you want about Broadway musicals, people, theatres, awards, and production rights at your home for all things Broadway. Toggle navigation Broadway Musical Home. Who starred in the original cast?