Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Flower Drum Song|
Actors: Nancy Kwan, James Shigeta, Benson Fong, Jack Soo, Juanita Hall
Director: Henry Koster
Genres: Comedy, Musicals & Performing Arts
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Member Movie Reviews
Kate S. from ROSEVILLE, CA
Reviewed on 5/10/2013...
Love the film! A family favorite!
"A Hundred Million Miracles are happening every day..."
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 07/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Actually, there must be 101 million miracles happening every day, because FLOWER DRUM SONG is finally being released on DVD.
One of Rodgers and Hammerstein's most joyful musical offerings, the story (based on C.Y. Lee's novel "The Flower Drum Song") concerns a winsome young Chinese girl called Mei Li (Miyoshi Umeki) who enters the United States illegally, in order to submit into an arranged marriage with San Francisco nightclub owner Sammy Fong (Jack Soo). Complications arise when Madame Liang (Juanita Hall) decides that Mei Li would instead be better-suited to her nephew Ta (James Shigeta), but he is infatuated with nightclub star Linda Low (Nancy Kwan), who is also Sammy's on-again, off-again girlfriend.
This being one of the greatest Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals, you can count on a satisfying conclusion with lovers matched and happy endings for all. The score for FLOWER DRUM SONG was one of the most accomplished written by the duo, with numbers running the gamut of emotion (Mei Li's pragmatic "A Hundred Million Miracles" and the simple, inward melody of "I Am Going to Like It Here"). The songs of Mei Li contrast very effectively with the knowing and brassy numbers of Linda Low ("I Enjoy Being a Girl" and "Fan Tan Fanny"). The plight of the Chinese-American is perfectly analysed in "The Other Generation", and in "Chop Suey", the number Madame Liang performs at the party celebrating her American citizenship.
FLOWER DRUM SONG opened on Broadway in 1958, and ran for a very successful 600 performances. Miyoshi Umeki (who won an Academy Award for her touching performance as Katsumi Kelly in SAYONARA) thankfully got to reprise her Broadway role of Mei Li in the film, with Jack Soo, Juanita Hall and Patrick Adiarte the other main hold-overs from the stage cast. The singing voices of Nancy Kwan (Linda) and Reiko Sato (seamstress Helen Chao) were both dubbed; Kwan by B.J. Baker; and Sato, most notably, by the up-and-coming opera star Marilyn Horne.
The film version of FLOWER DRUM SONG greatly benefits from some fabulous musical numbers choreographed by Hermes Pan ("Fan Tan Fanny", "Grant Avenue" and the striking imagery of the "Love Look Away" Dream Ballet). Musical direction by Alfred Newman is also very fine (the Main Title music alone is worth the price of admission). The film also made history at the time, for featuring the most expensive in-studio set, and starring an all-Asian cast. This was the only Rodgers and Hammerstein movie musical made by Universal Studios, under the auspices of producer Ross Hunter.
Although FLOWER DRUM SONG has been cruelly dismissed throughout the ensuing years for it's ideas and non-PC attitudes, the musical itself is an endlessly enjoyable ride for the entire family. The DVD has been a long time coming, and now fans can complete their Rodgers and Hammerstein DVD collections with this rarest of jewels...FLOWER DRUM SONG."
Flower Drum Song is R&H's most underrated musical...
mdl88 | New York, New York | 11/24/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Flower Drum Song is R&H's most underrated musical... not their best musical (that honor must go to "The King and I"), but a very enjoyable film for the whole family. Flower Drum Song is a lighthearted musical comedy set in San Francisco's Chinatown about old-fashioned Chinese and modern Chinese-Americans clashing over tradition and trying to find romance. It features Rodger's brassiest and jazziest score and the best choreography of any of their musicals. Some of the more memorable songs include: "I Enjoy Being a Girl" (with that famous three-way mirror scene), "Love Look Away", and "Don't Marry Me". In its "modern" language, hairstyles, costumes, and attitudes, the film also captures the look and feel, the optimism and exuberance of that early sixties/Kennedy era perfectly.Flower Drum Song was unusual not only because it featured an (almost) all-Asian cast, but also because it depicted Chinese-Americans as _Americans_: a Chinese-American businessman, college student, banker, policeman, standup comic, yes, even a Chinese-American showgirl. Although the characterizations are not very deep or serious, the film is a fine showcase for some early Hollywood Asian acting talent: Nancy Kwan is gorgeous and is great in all those dance numbers; Jack Soo has a hilarious deadpan humor; James Shigeta is a real heart-throb, and Miyoshi Umeki is as sweet as can be.Look for a brief cameo by Richard Rodgers during the "You be the Rock" number!"
Deserves More Recognition
Peter Kenney | Birmingham, Alabama, USA | 03/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Based on a novel by C.Y. Lee, FLOWER DRUM SONG was a hit show by Rogers and Hammerstein on Broadway in 1958. It was adapted for the screen by Joseph Fields and Oscar Hammerstein with Ross Hunter as producer and Henry Koster as director. The movie featured a mostly Asian cast with the notable exception of the very talented Juanita Hall who was famous for her role as Bloody Mary in SOUTH PACIFIC.The young Asian performers are Nancy Kwan, Myoshi Umeki, James Shigeta and Jack Soo. Because of the venerable Chinese custom of arranged marriages, it appears that Nancy Kwan, a nightclub dancer, may marry the youthful James Shigeta while the innocent Myoshi Umeki will end up in the arms of Jack Soo, a worldly nightclub owner. Can this tragedy possibly be avoided and everybody discover their own true loves? We finally learn the answer to this question about 133 minutes later.Don't miss Benson Fong who will be remembered as Tommy Chan in a few of the Charlie Chan films of the 1940's such as THE SHANGHAI COBRA. He appears here as James Shigeta's father.FLOWER DRUM SONG was overshadowed by WEST SIDE STORY in 1961 but it did still manage to receive Oscar nominations for Best Color Cinematography, Color Costume Design, Color Art Direction, Scoring of a Musical Picture and Sound."