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The real King of Siam 
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Post The real King of Siam
Historically, was the King like Bryner or like the guy in "Anna and the King"?

In "Anna," he seems very smart and educated. Yet, he's cold and calculated. (I'm talking about the one that starred... Julia Roberts, was it?)

In "King" Bryner plays him as a stubborn, stupid man... though he plays it VERY well.

So, what was the real King like? I've heard conflicting reports.

Andy.

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Wed Apr 26, 2006 7:19 pm
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Post 
I think you mean "jodie foster". From what i've read the real king probably was not like either.


Thu May 04, 2006 5:17 am
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THAT'S who it was! Jodi Foster. Her name must have fallen out of my right ear. Thank you.

Andy.

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Thu May 04, 2006 4:35 pm
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if you see pictures of him he is much more along the lines of Sir Rex Harrison's King in "Anna and The King of Siam" think..log face..sleek.

he was of course shorter than rex harrison and oriental lol


he was a very intellegent man very unlike the was brynner or chow yun fat played him.

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Fri May 05, 2006 8:52 pm
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There have been multiple movies made about the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens. The first was made in 1946 starring Rex Harrignton and Irene Dunne. Then the musical came out in 1956, and Anna and the King came out in 1999.
The king however has been portrayed differently every time a new movie is made.
King Mongkut of Siam and Anna Leonowens
Prince Maha Mongkut was born on October 18, 1804 in the kingdom of Siam (now called Thailand). His father, Buddha Loetla Nabhalai, became the king of Siam (King Rama II) when Mongkut was five. Mongkut's mother was Queen Sri Suriyendra.

As was traditional, Mongkut's father kept a large harem. Mongkut had 72 brothers and sisters, born by 38 different mothers, but Mongkut was the crown prince, expected to inherit the throne after his father's death. He was called Chao Fah Mongkut, meaning "The High Prince of the Crown." Until he was nine Mongkut lived in a palace near the Chao Phraya River, where he studied Buddhism, history and literature. He also learned to ride horses and elephants, and was trained in the use of various weapons. When he was just 12 years old, his father put him in charge of the Siamese army.

But Mongkut had a rival for the throne -- his half-brother Jetta or Chesdabodin, the son of one of Rama II's many consorts. Prince Jetta was seventeen years older than Mongkut, more experienced in government, and much more powerful.

When Mongkut was 20, his father died and a council of princes and court officials chose Jetta to be Siam's new king. Fearing for his safety, Mongkut left his wife and two young children and became a Buddhist monk. For 27 years the former crown prince lived a monastic life, but it was hardly a dull life. He travelled barefoot throughout Siam, living on handouts and learning about the way ordinary people lived. He also devoted himself to intellectual studies, learning everything from printing to astronomy. He founded the strict Thammayut monastic sect, which still exists today.

In 1851, Jetta (now called King Nangklao or Rama III) died. At last Mongkut was elected to ascend the throne. At the age of 47 he left the monkhood and became King Phrachomklao or Rama IV. One of his first acts as monarch was to name a deputy king. This was his brother Chutamani, another son of Queen Sri Suriyendra. Chutamani, now known as King Pinklao, took charge of Siam's national defense.

Mongkut was a true monarch, with total power over his five and a half million subjects. But he was different from previous Siamese kings. For one thing, he was friendly toward the West, inviting European diplomats to his coronation and introducing Western innovations into his kingdom. He spoke English, French, and Latin as well as Siamese, Pali, and Sanskrit, although he joked once that some Englishmen "have not understanding of their own language when I speak."

Despite his open-mindedness about other cultures, Mongkut made sure that Siam did not become a mere appendage of some Western nation.

In his personal life Mongkut adhered to Siamese tradition, having 82 children by 39 wives. Nine thousand women lived in his harem, kept apart from the world in a separate city that they were seldom allowed to leave. But Mongkut wanted the women of his court to be educated about the world beyond Siam. He arranged for them to receive English lessons from Christian missionaries, but the Siamese women were bored by their preaching. So Mongkut's consul in Singapore hired another woman, Anna Leonowens, to teach the king's wives and children. She arrived in Bangkok in 1862.
According to her own writings, Mrs. Leonowens had been born in Wales in 1834. Her father, a military man, was sent to India when Anna was six. He took his wife went with him, but young Anna was left behind at a girls' school run by a relative. Her father died in India, and Anna was not reunited with her mother until she was 15.

In 1851 Anna married a British officer, Major Thomas Leonowens. Her husband died young. Left with two children to support, Anna turned to teaching.

Although historians question the accuracy of Anna's version of her life story as well as her account of life in the Siamese court, her two books (The English Governess at the Siamese Court and The Romance of the Harem) created great interest in King Mongkut and Siam that continues to this day. Eventually author Margaret Landon converted Leonowens' books into the very popular novel Anna and the King of Siam, published in 1944. It was made first into a movie starring Rex Harrison, then into a Broadway musical, The King and I, starring Yul Brynner, which became a movie. It was followed by a 1972 television series, also starring Brynner.

The most recent film adaptation is Anna and the King, released in late 1999 and starring Jodie Foster as Anna. Like its predecessors, "Anna and the King" has been banned in Thailand due to its historical inaccuracy and what Thai censors perceive as its disrespect for the monarchy.
In 1868, King Mongkut impressed astronomers by predicting a solar eclipse. Unfortunately, Mongkut and his 15-year-old son Chulalongkorn observed the eclipse from a marshy area infested with mosquitoes, and both contracted malaria. Knowing that he was dying, Mongkut called his advisors to his bedside and urged them to continue working for the best interests of his people. King Mongkut died on his 64th birthday.

Chulalongkorn recovered. Because he was his father's eldest royal son (his mother was Queen Thepserin), he succeeded to the throne as King Rama V.

Mrs. Leonowens was away from Siam when Mongkut died. She wrote the new king a letter of condolence. He replied politely, but did not invite her back to Siam. So Leonowens made a new life as a writer. She became well-known and successful.

Mongkut's prime minister ruled as regent until Chulalongkorn turned 20 and took charge of the country. He immediately turned tradition on its ear by announcing that the people of Siam were no longer required to prostrate themselves in the king's presence. He also abolished slavery and gave up his official ownership of all the land in Siam. His grandson, Bhumibol, is Thailand's current king.

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Mon Jun 05, 2006 7:37 pm
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Who else knows anything?

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Sat May 03, 2008 8:35 am
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When I was in Thailand, our tour guide told us "The King and I" was banned there because it was considered insulting to the king.

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Sat May 03, 2008 7:42 pm
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Anyone know where I can find pictures of the King?

Andy.

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Sat May 03, 2008 11:56 pm
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A little side note...

At a Thai restaurant that I love, there's this ornamental plate on the wall of a Thai man in military full dress. I asked the waitress if it was King Mongkut.

She replied, "No, it's his son."

"Oh...you mean Chulalongkorn?"

She did a double-take. "How do you know these names?"

"The King And I, of course!"

She laughed and we spent a minute or two talking about the other versions of the story, like the Jodie Foster one.

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Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:44 pm
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Salome wrote:
if you see pictures of him he is much more along the lines of Sir Rex Harrison's King in "Anna and The King of Siam" think..log face..sleek.

he was of course shorter than rex harrison and oriental lol


he was a very intellegent man very unlike the was brynner or chow yun fat played him.


I actually kinda liked Chow Yun Fat as the King...I dunno, it's been a while, but I remeber throrughly liking Chow Yun Fat in the movie...Jodie Foster too...not to mention a VERY young Tom Felton as her son.

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Thu Nov 20, 2008 2:50 pm
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