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Matt Hough

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The last of the Rodgers and Hammerstein film musicals finally comes to Blu-ray with Kino Lorber’s release of Henry Koster’s ambitious and entertaining Flower Drum Song.



Flower Drum Song (1961)



Released: 28 Mar 1962
Rated: Approved
Runtime: 133 min




Director: Henry Koster
Genre: Comedy, Musical, Romance



Cast: Nancy Kwan, James Shigeta, Benson Fong
Writer(s): Joseph Fields, C.Y. Lee, Oscar Hammerstein II



Plot: A young woman arrives in San Francisco's Chinatown from Hong Kong with the intention of marrying a rakish nightclub owner, unaware he is involved with one of his singers.



IMDB rating: 6.9
MetaScore: N/A





Disc Information



Studio: Universal
Distributed By: Kino Lorber
Video Resolution:...

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Virgoan

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Chief among the craftsmen who made this musical the joy it is was master composer/conductor/arranger Alfred Newman who had done such beautiful adaptations for “Carousel”, “The King and I” and “South Pacific”. He and choral associate Ken Darby were Oscar-nominated for music adaptation for this film.
 

roxy1927

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And this has not 1 but two fantasy dance numbers. Not being a roadshow I'm surprised more wasn't cut but I'm glad most of it was retained. Even non roadshow musicals meant for continuous run like Gypsy and The Music Man suffered little cutting as well. None of the unfortunate get it in under two hour nonsense which hurt especially Brigadoon.

I'm glad I Enjoy Being a Girl looks good. Sometimes because of the opticals it can look disappointing.

Also decades ago like in the 80s an Asian woman wrote a very interesting essay about the film and it was published in the Village Voice. I so regret not keeping it.
 
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haineshisway

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Chief among the craftsmen who made this musical the joy it is was master composer/conductor/arranger Alfred Newman who had done such beautiful adaptations for “Carousel”, “The King and I” and “South Pacific”. He and choral associate Ken Darby were Oscar-nominated for music adaptation for this film.
Yes, his orchestrations are brilliant for Flower Drum Song and, I hate to say it, much preferable to Robert Russell Bennett's B'way orchestrations, which I just don't care for, especially Love, Look Away, my favorite Rodgers and Hammerstein song - Newman's arrangement is glorious.
 

Matt Hough

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I have an MP3 player that I use in my car to provide music since I prefer Broadway cast albums to whatever I can find to play on the radio. There are only two movie soundtracks I have on the player rather than their Broadway counterparts: Flower Drum Song and Carousel. I don't think it's any coincidence that Alfred Newman was the genius behind both of those masterful recordings.
 

Matt Hough

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I love the ballets and I am glad they were retained, but I admit that the story would hold together without them. But then, Oklahoma! would hold up story-wise without its very famous ballet, but no one would dare cut it.
Well, in most cases you're probably right, but when I saw Oklahoma! in a dinner theater setting in the 1980s, the ballet was naturally excised. There was nowhere to stage it!
 

noel aguirre

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I love the ballets and I am glad they were retained, but I admit that the story would hold together without them. But then, Oklahoma! would hold up story-wise without its very famous ballet, but no one would dare cut it.
I love the ballets and feel they add to the story and give a much needed break to much of the corniness. The same reason I felt the original Somewhere stage ballet should have been added back to the recent remake of West Side Story that was supposedly trying to be more faithful to its source. It would have given a breather to the depressing arc of that storyline especially with all its newly added heavy handed character expositions.
 

roxy1927

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Just as well concerning the Oklahoma ballet. I always skip it on the bluray. I far prefer the Carousel ballet. Problem with that one is the film eliminates the beautiful moment where the women have their arms around the men's necks and the men drag them oblivious to them. I thought only a woman choreographer could get away with that. DeMille was fired from the film but the sequence is hers and I believe she had to sue to get her full compensation.
 
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noel aguirre

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Just as well concerning the Oklahoma ballet. I always skip it on the bluray. I far prefer the Carousel ballet. Problem with that one is the film eliminates the beautiful moment where the women have their arms around the men's necks and the men drag them oblivious to them. I thought only a woman choreographer could get away with that. DeMille was fired from the film but the sequence is hers and I believe she had to sue to get her full compensation.
I love the Carousel ballet but find it jarring when it obviously switches to a naturalistic set that should be more abstract like Oklahoma’s or FDS’s rather than trying to look real . I wish it would have been filmed either on location like the rest of the movie or on a more dream-like set.
 

Mark Mayes

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Years ago I advised and loaned pictures to an A&E bio on Vivien Leigh. One of the things they gave me was a copy of Ed Murrow's "Small World" with a "Zoom" call between Leigh, Sam Goldwyn and adder-tongued critic, Ken Tynan.


As a matter of interest, maybe, Ken had given the stage production of The Flower Drum Song a bad review and discusses it and why here (I love Miyoshi Umeki in -at least- the film version, for the record):

 

DarkVader

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Correct me if I'm wrong, I may very well be, but wasn't Reiko Sato dubbed by none other than the great Marilyn Horne for FDS on "Love, Look Away"?

I believe B.J. (Betty Jane) Baker dubbed Nancy Kwan for her numbers.
 

noel aguirre

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Correct me if I'm wrong, I may very well be, but wasn't Reiko Sato dubbed by none other than the great Marilyn Horne for FDS on "Love, Look Away"?

I believe B.J. (Betty Jane) Baker dubbed Nancy Kwan for her numbers.
Marilyn Horne The greatest mezzo-soprano in my lifetime IMO Yes.
She also did Carmen Jones. Did she dub for Porgy and Bess ?
 

Matt Hough

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Correct me if I'm wrong, I may very well be, but wasn't Reiko Sato dubbed by none other than the great Marilyn Horne for FDS on "Love, Look Away"?

I believe B.J. (Betty Jane) Baker dubbed Nancy Kwan for her numbers.
Both mentioned in my review.
 

Michael1

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I love the ballets and feel they add to the story and give a much needed break to much of the corniness. The same reason I felt the original Somewhere stage ballet should have been added back to the recent remake of West Side Story that was supposedly trying to be more faithful to its source. It would have given a breather to the depressing arc of that storyline especially with all its newly added heavy handed character expositions.
In my opinion, any attempt to incorporate the "Somewhere" dream ballet in the new WSS would not have worked at all, given the more gritty reality of the new version and also the sensibilities of modern audiences. I'm guessing that Spielberg et al. never even considered it, or if they did, I expect they decided against it very early on.
 

Michael1

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Sorry I meant of Asian decent. Per Wiki JS is American of Japanese decent .
Do the special features mention Juanita Hall is a black American wearing yellow face appropriating Chinese?.
Are you saying that Juanita Hall literally wore "yellow face" in terms of her makeup in the film? I'm not sure if that's true. I think she was an African-American whose features and coloring just happened to have a somewhat Asian appearance, which is why her most famous role was Bloody Mary in SOUTH PACIFIC.
 

noel aguirre

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Are you saying that Juanita Hall literally wore "yellow face" in terms of her makeup in the film? I'm not sure if that's true. I think she was an African-American whose features and coloring just happened to have a somewhat Asian appearance, which is why her most famous role was Bloody Mary in SOUTH PACIFIC.
She’s not Asian.
 

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