One of Rodgers and Hammersteins most beautiful love stories was subtly done in their production of The King and I. It is wonderfully acted and has a musical score that is largely unforgettable. Please note before you continue reading that this review does have major spoilers about what happens in the story.
Yul Brynner stars as King Mongkut of Siam, which is now Thailand. He played the role on stage, before and after the movie, and this role would be his most identifiable one of his career. Even today, when people think about The King and I, Brynner pops into their minds.
Deborah Kerr is very strong as Anna, brought to Siam to teach the many children of the King. She is a real presence to be reckened with. She does not, however, do her own singing. Marni Nixon was brought in to do that, as she did in so many other motion pictures.
One of my favorite scenes is one with Brynner and Kerr have a sort of head battle. No one was supposed to have their heads above the King’s, and he kept playing with her, to see how low she’d go to honor her promise to try to not have her head above his. It was such a neat scene, very playful. This was after the King finally gives her the house he had originally promised her.
The death scene at the end is just so emotional and touching. The power of the music here really helps to manipulate our emotions, but it is just wonderful and ever so poignant to watch. Even if I have not been paying attention, when I focus on this final moment of the movie, I suddenly discover tears rolling down my cheeks. It gets me every time.
I do want to mention Patrick Adiarte, who was perfect as Prince Chulalongkorn. He was definitely fun to watch and added some excitement and youth to the production.
The soundtrack and musical numbers were awesome. Just a few of the songs that have stayed with me over the years are “I Whistle A Happy Tune,” “Hello,Young Lovers,” “Getting To Know You,” and “Shall We Dance.”