By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –
The Sound of Music is one of the greatest movies ever made. Starring Julie Andrews in one of her most beloved roles, the film won five Academy Awards, including “Best Picture.” Years before, though, another Rodgers and Hammerstein musical premiered on the silver screen, and has enchanted audiences ever since. That film is none other than The King and I.
This truly is one of the best movie musicals ever made. The production design is gorgeous, the costumes are sumptuous, and the acting is incredible. In fact, Yul Brynner won his only Academy Award (not to mention his only nomination) for playing the eponymous king, while Deborah Kerr won a Golden Globe for playing “Anna Leonowens” even though the Oscar eluded her grasp. Like many classic musicals, this film features some of the greatest songs ever composed, including “Getting to Know You” and “Hello, Young Lovers.”
Even though this is one of the most iconic musicals ever adapted for film, Ernest Lehman’s screenplay for this film was not exactly his best. In fact, the screenplay failed to earn recognition during awards season after its initial release (even though it did tie with Fred Guiol and Ivan Moffat’s screenplay for Giant at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards). In a very weird way, the plot of this film is a bit too similar to The Sound of Music, especially since Anna Leonowens and Maria von Trapp are both live-in governesses in each respective musical. At least Ernest Lehman would eventually earn nominations for adapting West Side Story (1961) and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) for the screen.
One of the most famous scenes from The King and I is the musical number “Shall We Dance?” Hopefully audiences will continue singing and dancing along to the tunes of this beloved musical for generations to come!
The King and I (1956) Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for every musical number
Drink a Shot: every time the king says, “Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera!”
And Cheers: to the excellent on-screen chemistry between Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner in this classy musical