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This is a combination of a non-musical, "serious" version of The King and I and a remake of the 1946 epic film Anna and the King starring Rex Harrison as King Mongkut and Irene Dunne as Anna, with Linda Darnell as Tuptim.
Anna Leonowens is played by Jodie Foster and the King is played by Chow Yun Fat. Also features a pre-Harry Potter Tom Felton as Louis Leonowens. Incidentally, this movie came out the same year as the animated version of The King And I.
This show features examples of:
- Award Bait Song: "How Can I Not Love You", performed by Joy Enriquez at the end over the credits.
- Adult Fear: The King trying to protect his children from being slaughtered.
- Arranged Marriage: the one between Tuptim and the King (and, presumably, between the King and his other wives).
- Banned In Thailand: because of the film's apparently blasphemous portrayal of royalty.
- Bodyguard Betrayal.
- The British Empire: described with a touch of White Man's Burden.
- Costume Porn.
- Culture Clash: with many comedic sides. Anna is being addressed as 'Sir' at the court because women are not spoken to by the high officials.
- Dance of Romance: romantic as always, but with subtle political undertones as a bonus.
- Dead Little Sister: at the beginning of the film Anna is unable to cope with her husband's death. Later, the King neglects his royal duties because of his bitter feelings after the death of his favourite little daughter.
- Evil Chancellor: a classic example, except he is not a chancellor but a high general.
- Fisher King: the people of Siam believe that the King can summon rain by his prayers.
- Going Native: strongly averted. Even though Anna stands by Siam's side in her discussion with a crooked English noble, it is VERY important for her to pass on to her son the feeling of belonging to British culture.
- Gory Discretion Shot: The execution of Tuptim and her lover.
- Harem Seeker: the King asks Anna how is it possible for the men in England to be happy with only one wife at the time. (Averted by the fact that he is clearly trying to be a good husband for all his wives and does not deceive them in the slightest, so this is more like Tenchi Solution with Happy Ending.)
- Letting Her Hair Down: Anna. She came from Victorian Britain, so she could not let her hair down in public, but the scene when she meets the King in her night apparel has all the symbolism of this trope.
- Me Love You Long Time: the King's English (no pun intended) is much better, but still.
- Nostalgic Narrator: Prince Chulalongkorn.
- Protocol Peril: Anna nearly gets killed after she approaches the King without being officially announced.
- Rage Against the Heavens.
- Scenery Porn: Starting with the city and palace, and carrying on to the beautiful countryside and mountains
- She Cleans Up Nicely: Anna's appearance in a Pimped-Out Dress at the supper for English guests. Dance of Romance ensues.
- Spoiled Sweet: the little princess.
- Succession Crisis: attempted but happily prevented by the King.
- Traumatic Haircut: Tiptum shaves her head to disguise as a Buddhist monk and be closer to her beloved.
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The story is based on Anna's (real life) diaries. These in themselves are highly suspect, and many elements of them have been left out anyway.
- You No Take Candle: This version still has educated Siamese talking this way.
- Your Normal Is Our Taboo: Anna expresses her indignation after she is asked by an official, whom she met for the first time, about the way in which her husband died. It turns out that asking about most private matters at the beginning of the conversation is considered as a way of expressing kindness in Siam.