"Anna And The King Of Siam" Is Released

Anna and the King of Siam is a 1946 drama film directed by John Cromwell.

An adaptation of the 1944 book by Margaret Landon, it was based on the diaries of Anna Leonowens, a British governess in the Royal Court of Siam (now modern Thailand) during the 1860s, the story mainly concerns the culture clash of the Imperialist Victorian values of the British Empire with the autocratic rule of Siam's King Mongkut. The successful film starred Rex Harrison as the king and Irene Dunne as Anna. At the 19th Academy Awards ceremony, the film received two Oscars; for Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction (Lyle R. Wheeler, William S. Darling, Thomas Little, Frank E. Hughes)

The story was adapted by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II for a 1951 stage musical and subsequent 1956 film. American film director Andy Tennant remade the film in 1999 as Anna and the King with Jodie Foster and Chow Yun-Fat.

The portrayal of Tuptim in Anna and the King of Siam is considerably less sympathetic than in the musical version The King and I and the 1999 Anna and the King. There is a definite animosity between Tuptim and Anna in the 1946 film.

More serious and less colorful than The King And I, Anna And The King Of Siam is still a well-crafted and elaborate spectacle. Leonowens (Irene Dunne) and her son travel to the tiny kingdom of Siam, where she has been hired to teach Western ways and culture to the multitudes of children sired by the King (Rex Harrison). All too soon, however, the King and Anna clash over the differences in their ways and cultures; Anna is also drawn into a palace romance between the concubine, Tuptim (Linda Darnell), and another man, which ends in tragedy. Whereas The King And I focused on the budding relationship between Anna and the King, the non-musical version is a more straightforward reading of Margaret Landon's book about the real Anna Leonowens. Harrison made his screen debut in the role, which became synonymous with Yul Brynner in the 1956 musical version. ~ Don Kaye, All Movie Guide