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King and I, The

Director:  Walter Lang
Year Released:  1956
Rating:  3.0

English teacher/widow Anna Leonowens (Deborah Kerr) journeys to Siam (present day Thailand) to work for King Mongkut (Yul Brynner) and teach his 100+ offspring about science and the world (a "Western" education), but is put off by the King's brusque and stubborn demeanor (and his failure to build her a house, breaking his promise); in the third act, he requires her assistance to win over British politicians who think he's a barbarian (bottomless female dancers always do the trick). Based on the musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein, it never comes across as anything but a filmed stage production (those gaudy sets!) ... however, it is charming, mostly because of Brynner's show-stealing performance (he rightfully won an Oscar for it) and the (predictable) banter between him and Kerr, where they argue over subjects such as bowing, slavery and whether or not men and women are equal. Rita Moreno's concubine character does not get a happy ending, nor does her lover (Carlos Rivas), nor does the King ... but hey, them's the breaks (et-cetera x 3)!

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