Flower Drum Song ()

directed by Henry Koster
featuring Nancy Kwan, James Shigeta, Juanita Hall, Jack Soo, Miyoshi Umeki, Benson Fong

Show Synopsis

The only Rodgers and Hammerstein cinemadaptation to be produced by Universal Pictures, Flower Drum Song was, alas, also the only Rogers and Hammerstein film to lose money at the box office. It looks far better now than it did back in 1961, if only because of the paucity of musical films in the 1990s. Essentially a comedy about the culture clash between old-world Chinese and assimilated Chinese-Americans, the film begins when Mei Li (Miyoshi Umeki) and her grandfather (Kam Tong) smuggle themselves into San Francisco. It ...

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May 13, 2010

100 Million Miracles + 1

TITLE: Flower Drum Song
GENRE: An Adaptation of the Rogers and Hammerstein Braodway musical comedy
CAST: Miyoshi Umecki, Nancy Kwan, James Shigeta, Jack Soo, Benson Fong, Juanita Hall and Patrick Adiarte
PLOT: In the face of culture clashes and generation gaps and star crossed love triangles, true love will find a way (In this case a late night movie about illegal immigration helps)
RETURN ON INVESTMENT: 9 of 10 (perfect would have been if there weren't a few dubbed voices); Just for the opportunity to see the series of watercolors done by Dong Kingman for the opening credits which chronicle the travel from China to San Franciscois worth the exposure. The sets, costumes, choreography, song styles and character development help sell the points of divisions between cultures, generations and sexes true to the C.Y. Lee novel which inspired it all.
DVD BONUS: The making of... from both the R & H musical and from the historical significance of the all East Asian cast (almost) ; Analysis of the songs impact to the story. An overdubbed commentary by Nancy Kwan and a film historian.
ADDED NOTES: A thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours with some songs which have such importance in our history that they keep showing up five decades after the fact in various new iterations. Especially pleasant are Soo (of Barney Miller fame) and Umeck (still the only Asian to win a performance Oscar as support in Sayonara) singing 'Don't Marry Me' to each other about how terrible a spouse they would make.

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