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Anna And The King (1999) DVD

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Anna And The King (1999)

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  1. "THE EQUAL OF A KING" 4 Star Review

    Posted by on Mar 3rd 2024

    20th Century Fox certainly got a lot of milage out of "Anna & The King"; first in 1946 with Irene Dunne and Rex Harrison. Every version of this "true" 19th Century story plays as "fascinating fiction," but the idea of pompous, British Harrison as a Siamese monarch is Hollywood preposterous; and there's no connection between him and Dunne. This version inspired Rodgers & Hammerstein to write the musical "The King And I", which Yul Bryneer and Deborah Kerr played powerfully and beautifully on screen in 1956.
    This critically overlooked and under appreciated version starring Chow Yun Fat and Jodie Foster is less "The King And I" and more like David Lean's epic "A Passage To India." Chow Yun Fat is every bit as commanding as Yul Bryneer and, as he is actually Asian, more authentic.
    "The King And I" is about how Anna changes Siam. This version is about how Siam changes Anna. Jodie Foster's Anna is terribly "high and mighty", secure in her smug belief that "the ways of England are the ways of the world." She gets her nose rubbed in her beliefs, and it doesn't take King Mongkut long to realize she is hiding insecurities behind her veneer of British resolve, superiority, and strength. This version has Anna help the King thwart a political coup and assassination attempt from General Alack.
    The Prime Minister does not take kindly to Anna over-stepping cultural and political boundaries on numerous occasions, saying, "There has been great insult caused by this Englishwoman who believes herself to be the equal of a man." A fascinated King Mongkut replies, "No... the equal of a King."
    Directed by Andy Tennett.

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