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The King and I (1956), Deborah Kerr, Yul Brynner

One of the greatest musicals ever made, “The King and I” brings to life the true story of the English schoolmaster Anna Leonowens, who comes to Siam in 1861 to teach King Mongkut’s children. It is a screen adaptation of the novel “Anna and the King of Siam” by Margaret Landon. From the very beginning, this masterpiece introduces us, the viewers, into a magic and exotic world, quite different from any other places from the Western society. Anna has the extremely difficult task to help the King in his sophisticated political affairs. In my opinion, the most extravagant and impressive scene in the film is the grand banquet scene, followed by the inimitable polka danced by Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr. Among the famous tunes you will be able to enjoy while watching this gem are “I Whistle a Happy Tune”, “Hello, Young Lovers”, “Getting to Know You” and “Shall We Dance”. “The King and I” was one of the great winners of the Academy Awards for 1956, earning 5 awards, for Best Actor (Yul Brynner, who also won a Tony award for the same role he performed on Broadway and who would later bring it to television, too), Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design (Irene Sharaff’s wonderful costumes are one of the film’s great assets), Best Music and Best Recording, and was nominated for other four categories: Best Actress (Deborah Kerr, who unfortunately lost the award after it was discovered that her singing voice had been dubbed by Marni Nixon), Best Cinematography, Color, Best Director (Walter Lang) and Best Picture. “The King and I” is pure joy and entertainment not just for children, but also for the entire family. It’s a great piece of artistry created by the brilliant Rodgers and Hammerstein team, who would give us many other great musicals, such as “The Sound of Music”, “Oklahoma!” and “South Pacific”.

The King and I (1956), Yul Brynner

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