Flower Drum Song (1961)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB

USA, 1961.  , .   Screenplay by , based on the stage play by Joseph Fields, , from the novel by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .   Music by .  Production Design by , .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

The least known of the Rodgers and Hammerstein movie musicals is this charmer that features an all-Asian cast. It centres around a young girl (Miyoshi Umeki) who immigrates illegally with her father from China to San Francisco to marry her arranged fiance (). Soo has a mistress already (), a sexy nightclub singer who has no intention of giving him up to any tradition, so she pushes Umeki in the direction of , a plot which works quite well when the two end up falling in love. The great musical team behind the film tried to battle important social issues with their stories, and racism was a particular favourite, here done a particularly good service with their concentrating on a minority group that was completely under-represented in cinema at the time (and still remains marginally seen on movie theatre screens). The outcome is too frothy to be notable, however, and the songs aren’t among their best, so the audience can’t be fully blamed for having completely ignored it (especially considering it came out the same year as West Side Story). The visuals are extremely lovely, and Umeki delivers her songs about discovering the joys of life in America with delightful relish.

Academy Award Nominations:  Best Cinematography-Colour; Best Art Direction-Colour; Best Costume Design-Colour; Best Sound; Best Scoring of a Musical Picture

Golden Globe Award Nominations:  Best Picture-Musical; Best Actress-Musical/Comedy (Miyoshi Umeki)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s