(out of 5)
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.
Directed by Walter Lang
Cinematography by Leon Shamroy
Produced by Charles Brackett
Music by Alfred Newman
Costume Design by Irene Sharaff
Film Editing by Robert L. Simpson