Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBBB
USA, 1956. Twentieth Century Fox. Screenplay by Ernest Lehman, from the musical play by Oscar Hammerstein II, based on the novel Anna and the King Of Siam by Margaret Landon. Cinematography by Leon Shamroy. Produced by Charles Brackett. Music by Alfred Newman. Production Design by John DeCuir, Lyle R. Wheeler. Costume Design by Irene Sharaff. Film Editing by Robert L. Simpson.
Deborah Kerr glows as Anna Leonowens, a true-life schoolteacher who was invited by the King of Siam (Yul Brynner) to come and teach his many children. She arrives full of confidence and spirit, and thankfully for us never loses a single bit of it in her dealings with this rather old-world man who thinks that women should exhibit no intelligence or enjoy any independence; she, in turn, learns to value the place that tradition has in the life of this man she becomes increasingly fond of. Watching these two characters find the middle of the road is one of the most enjoyable cinematic journeys you could possibly go on, and there’s a fabulous musical score to boot. Rita Moreno co-stars as young Tuptim, a Burmese girl sent to the court to be one of the King’s many wives, but secretly is in love with the servant-boy who brought her across the border. The gorgeous, mammoth sets required more lighting than had ever been used on a motion picture ever before (and was one of the reasons for Kerr’s losing a gargantuan amount of weight during shooting), which is why very few other films are better looking.
Academy Awards: Best Actor (Yul Brynner); Best Art Direction-Colour; Best Costume Design-Colour; Best Sound Recording; Best Scoring of a Musical Picture
Nominations: Best Picture; Best Actress (Deborah Kerr); Best Director (Walter Lang); Best Cinematography-Colour
Golden Globe Awards: Best Picture-Musical/Comedy; Best Actress-Musical/Comedy (Deborah Kerr)
Nominations: Best Actor-Musical/Comedy (Yul Brynner); Best Film Promoting International Understanding