The story line, adapted from an earlier, nonmusical stage hit, follows widowed English teacher Anna Leonowens (Deborah Kerr) to her new posting as tutor to the Siamese king's formidable mob of children. The collision of East and West affords its winning mixture of drama and humor, and the warm friendship that grows between the king and the patrician teacher provides a poignant, unfulfilled romance between the two wary protagonists. Into this framework, the composers insert a superb score, echoing Asian motifs, as well as a bouquet of lovely songs including "Hello, Young Lovers," "Shall We Dance," and two ensemble pieces for Anna and the royal children ("Getting to Know You" and "I Whistle a Happy Tune") that suggest prototypes for Rodgers & Hammerstein's later hit, The Sound of Music.
For this 1956 production, 20th Century Fox lavished stereophonic sound, widescreen cinematography, intricate production design, and stunning sets. Technically, this newly mastered THX version is the best-looking and -sounding King yet to hit video. But, regardless of format, the glorious music is reason enough to hit "play." --Sam Sutherland
Come on, Fox. In 2004 more people own wide screen tvs than ever before. I *hate* popping in a disk that would look gorgeous on my wide screen, only to discover that I must watch it in "square" format with a letterbox.
The gorgeous KING AND I deserves a good, anamorphic transfer to DVD. And while you're at it, please send a memo to Universal to release VERTIGO in anamorphic format as well.
Yes, there is a large segment of the DVD population who don't care about anamorphic format. But there are also a lot of us who *do*. And I'll stop renting and buying your films until you release them that way.