Monday, April 5, 2010

Based on the Book

Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon was made into the popular musical The King and I in 1956, and both titles are available in our collection for checkout. We have the movie in both VHS and DVD. Other adaptations have been made of this novel throughout the years as well.

Anna Leonowens, a proper Englishwoman, was an unlikley candidate to change the course of Siamese (Thai) history. A young widow and mother, her services were engaged in the 1860's by King Mongkut of Siam to help him communicate with foreign governments and be the tutor to his children and favored concubines. Stepping off the steamer from London, Anna found herself in an exotic land she could have only dreamed of lush landscape of mystic faiths and curious people, and king's palace bustling with royal pageantry, ancient custom, and harems. One of her pupils, the young prince Chulalongkorn, was particularly influenced by Leonowens and her Western ideals. He learned about Abraham Lincoln and the tenets of democracy from her, and years later he would become Siam's most progressive king. He guided the country's transformation from a feudal state to a modern society, abolshing slavery and making many other radical reforms.

Here is the entire animated feature The King and I, released in 1999 by Warner Brothers:

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