THE KING AND I (1956) 

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Deborah Kerr
Yul Brynner
Rita Moreno
Martin Benson
Terry Saunders
Rex Thompson
Carlos Rivas
Patrick Adiarte

Walter Lang




Time: 133 mins.
Rating: G
Genre: Musical/Romance/History

Won Academy Awards for Best Actor, Art Direction, Costume Design and Sound. Nominated for Best Actress, Director, Cinematography and Best Picture.

SYNOPSIS: After the death of her husband, Anna Owens moves from England to Siam with her son Louis to become a teacher for the children of the king of Siam. She finds Siamese customs to be quite different from English ones, which brings her often in conflict with the king.

BOTTOM LINE: Though not initially one of my favorite musicals, I have to say that it's growing on me. With every viewing I like it more and more. I find myself unable to resist watching it whenever I know it's on TV. There's just something about the story, the music, the costumes, set design and performances that draws me in and refuses to let go. I'm sure some of the pull is Yul Brynner, who is a sexy force to be reckoned with. It's not easy to make arrogance charming, yet he pulls it off beautifully as the impatient and intelligent King of Siam.

Kerr is also amazing as the intelligent, strong-willed English widow employed by the king to teach his many wives and children the ways of the West. It's a clash not only of cultures, but of wills as Anna and the King attempt to become friends despite their opposing views of the world. There are serious topics explored; however, for the most part, this is pretty light-hearted fare. It is after all, a musical.

Kerr and Brynner have just the right touch with each other. Their relationship is a complicated one filled with respect, amusement and attraction, though one that can never be indulged. She's a foreigner and he already has plenty of wives and their ideas of love have no common ground. Yet they form a deep friendship that gives the film weight and heart. The music plays a key role, uplifting the narrative and adding joy to the proceedings. You'll be humming the tunes for days afterwards. A true cinema classic that can be enjoyed again and again.

"This girl hurt your vanity...she didn't hurt your heart! You have no heart! You've never loved anyone and you never will."

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