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Anna and the King (Widescreen)

Jodie Foster , Yun-Fat Chow , Andy Tennant    PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)   DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 24.95
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Anna and the King (Widescreen) + The King and I
Price For Both: CDN$ 62.93

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  • The King and I CDN$ 37.98

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Product Description

Academy Award winner Jodie Foster and international action star Chow Yun-Fat bring to life the epic true story of a woman who challenged the heart of a king and inspired the destiny of a nation. English school teacher Anna Leonowens has traveled to Siam to educate the fifty-eight children of King Mongkut. If she has preconceived notions about the East, the King has similar notions about the West. But amid the danger of growing political unrest, their respect for each other slowly turns into something more.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
I am originally from Montreal, Canada, where Anna Leonowens ended her days and is buried in Mount Royal cemetery, where most of my relatives now rest in peace. I have been familiar with her story since childhood (I am now in my 50's) and I love both this film and Margaret Langdon's book.

However, I have read very few reviews that point out just how much, unlike the previous other three versions - two of them "musicals" - available on DVD, this film version is at first unsympathetic, if not downright critical, of Anna's Imperialist and Colonial attitudes and opinions.

These were taken for granted and apparently supported, never questioned, by Rodgers and Hammerstein in their musical version - which, because of this, now appears somewhat "outdated". Since, in the musical, the composer and lyricist were not sensitive enough to the social and political implications of their approach, Anna's story is, to this day, still banned in Thailand...

In this version, King Mongkut fares a lot better and is treated with greater respect. A highly cultured and civilized monarch, he is understandably at a loss when "Hurricane Anna" first arrives at court! His is a far cry from Yul Brynner's broad interpretation, where he was portrayed as a "barbarian"; where Anna could do no wrong! This is a fresh, different, multicultural approach to a well-know, well-loved tale.

In this age of the Global Village and multiculturalism, all cultures deserve greater respect than they once received in the 19th century. Could this be one of the main points of this "remake": to set the record straight and hopefully correct the situation?

In spite of its flaws (well represented in other reviews), this film is well worth watching many times. Who knows? It might help us uncover and correct our own negative views as we relate to other peoples and cultures...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply a delightful story Jan. 31 2004
After losing her husband in the jungle of India, Anna Leonowens embarks in a journey that will take her to Siam, where she will tutor the oldest son of King Mongkut. Her son, Louis, and two Hindu servants accompany her in this new endeavor. As soon as Anna sets foot in Bangkok, the difference between cultures surges as a predominant element that will remain present throughout the story. Even though the start is rocky, with Anna being called "Sir" for misogynist reasons and not being given the house she was promised but accommodation in the palace instead, the king discovers quickly the value of this woman that acts very different from what he is used to. That is why he decides that instead of tutoring his oldest son, she will be in charge of teaching all of his children...all 58 of them!
The movie evolves around three clear themes. First, the clash of cultures, which is enlightening and entertaining and as the movie evolves so does the acceptance and admiration each of the characters show for the positive points of the other's culture. Second, the relationship between Anna and the king, which starts as annoyance, moves to respect and continues developing from there. Third, the political atmosphere, which is characterized by attacks to Siamese people by Burmese armies, suspected to be supported by no other than the British Empire (the events unfold in 1862).
Although the movie is rather long, the events unfold at a pace that keeps the viewer interested at all times. The music fits the mood of the action perfectly well, and in the proper scenes it is so uplifting that it steals the attention of the viewer. Jodie Foster delivers a well-rounded role, but in my opinion the performance of Chow Yun-Fat is at a higher level.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I Keep Coming Back Dec 5 2003
It didn't surprise me when this first came out that it didn't get very good reviews. I almost didn't see it myself, but once I did see it, I just kept coming back. It's a glorious film.
The film itself is done with tremendous diligence -- the costumes, the scenery are fabulous. More importantly, the script is good -- the story itself is a good story. Some films have a really deepening story so that the characters and events are well understood and interconnected, and this is one of those. But the language is also beautiful. It's full of good lines. I think above all, it is Chow Yun-Fat's acting which makes the film -- his humanity, his depth and his nobility. I'm also astounded by the acting of the woman who plays Tuptim... And Jodie Foster fully holds up her end as well.
However, I can see many reasons why people would avoid it. The most important of these is that it's banned in Thailand. The Thai people regard it as an very Westernized take on the sotry. King Mongkut was in fact an old man at the time this happened, and not the charming young Chow Yun-Fat. There's apparently no evidence from King Mongkut's private diaries that he had anything like the feelings expressed in this film. I can easily believe this is true. The film is fiction. At the very least, I doubt very much that Mongkut's heroic stand on the bridge happened like it's portrayed in the film.
But I also can't buy that the film comes across as putting down Eastern culture. Unlike in "The King and I" (of which it is by no means a simple remake) where Anna clearly has the upper hand, this is an even match. She has as much to learn from him as he from her. England has as much to learn from Thailand as the other way around.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A Bold Attempt at a Classic
This film was obviously intended to be a timeless masterpiece. Although it fails in this respect, it remains a worthwhile historical film. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Greg
5.0 out of 5 stars Great value for a classic movie on DVD.
It is greatly appreciated to view this movie on DVD as we had it on VHS only...one that we enjoy watching from time to time.
Published 10 months ago by Kanden
5.0 out of 5 stars Anna and The King
I had seen the movie before, but it was one I knew I would want to watch many times. The movie arrived quickly and in excellent condition.
Published 14 months ago by D. E. Kaye
5.0 out of 5 stars anna and the king
wonderful movies and history telling in such a way that you are glue to television to see how the people had to live and fight for the freedom..... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Prague Castle
5.0 out of 5 stars Bon film
Le film Anna and the King a été reçu en bon état et conforme à l'annonce du vendeur. Le DVD fonctionne très bien.
Published 17 months ago by Daniel Mérineau
5.0 out of 5 stars Anna and the King review
I bought this because Jodie Foster was the lead role in this film and also on the fact that she has done other interesting roles (eg: Nell). Read more
Published on June 6 2012 by Duchess
5.0 out of 5 stars Mrs. T
An excellent movie! I can now dispose of my VHS of this movie. I have the original with Yul Brenner but this updated version is much better.
Published on May 15 2011 by Mrs. T
4.0 out of 5 stars Had to watch for a school project...
I thought that this film was very beautiful in content...this film had some real substance to it, and the actors did an excellent job in the portrayal of the characters... Read more
Published on Dec 31 2003 by Christopher Berry
5.0 out of 5 stars It keeps on getting better
Everytime I watch this movie, I'm awestruck at the beauty and wonder of it. From the scenery, to the drama, to the love story, and finally and most of all, to the music, I'm drawn... Read more
Published on Oct. 1 2003 by Suzanne D. Larsen
5.0 out of 5 stars Jodie Foster just gets better and better...
Having read the book and seen several versions of the musical on film and on stage, and being a true lover of the story of Anna Leonowens' experiences as teacher to the children of... Read more
Published on Aug. 21 2003 by Terry Downey
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