Anna and the King of Siam (1946)

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Anna and the King of Siam

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Anna and the King of Siam is a 1946 drama film directed by John Cromwell. An adaptation of the 1944 novel of the same name by Margaret Landon, it was based on the fictionalized diaries of Anna Leonowens, an Anglo-Indian woman who claimed to be British and became governess in the Royal Court of Siam (now modern Thailand) during the 1860s. Darryl F. Zanuck read Landon's book in galleys and immediately bought the film rights. Wikipedia


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Kralahome: (the Kralahome has just arrived to tell King Mongkut of the loss of Cambodia. Anna, meanwhile, continues to press the King about the issue of a private residence, to the point where even the King's staff members are singing "Home, Sweet Home") Your Majesty! It has begun, Toongramon. We've lost Cambodia. Our governor of Cambodia has made a treaty with the French government. They have recognized Cambodia as independent of Siam, placed it under their "protection," and this governor of ours still protests his loyalty to Your Majesty. King Mongkut: So, a camel's nose is in the tent. The partition of Siam, it has begun. Kralahome: For a long time, we've said this hour must come. Now it is no longer talk. It is upon us. What do we do? King Mongkut: Nothing. We shall do nothing whatever in this matter... because there is nothing we can do. Kralahome: Your father took such a man once and burned out both his eyes, hung him in the sun in a cage over cool running water, until he went mad. King Mongkut: (Heartbroken, yes resigned) We have not the right to waste ourselves on something which cannnot be changed. We shall save what strength and cunning we may have to hold together what is left of Siam. And if we cannot save all that is left, we shall save what we can. Kralahome: (after a long pause) Tell me something Toongramon. A long time ago, I came to you and asked you to leave a life of peace, and to be King. If I could ask you now to make that choice, what would your answer be? Think well before you answer that. Think what this can mean to you. King Mongkut: You feel great responsibility for me, don't you, Chow Koon? Kralahome: You might still be living peacefully at the monastery if I had not persuaded you. Perhaps it is not too late to return. Think well on that. The monastery instead of this place, where you have only enemies and danger. Well, you know this is not the end. The ships of Europe will crowd thicker on our seas, greedy for conquest. They have the power... and the cunning. They know how to set your nobles against you, how to buy and threaten them. How can you hope to hold Siam together against enemies without and within? All that it can mean to you is that, in the end, you will die in a lost cause. (pause) Kralahome: I have done you a sorry service to have brought you to this moment. King Mongkut: (after a moment) I think you take too much credit on yourself, Chow Koon. There is a man born for every task, and I was born for this one. Remember, I was prince before I was monk. Let me ask you, if you were in my place, what would your answer be? (Long pause. He cannot answer) King Mongkut: Then give me as much credit as you allow yourself, my friend. Kralahome: If only we had more time. King Mongkut: (Court musician can be heard playing "Home, Sweet Home" outside the King's window) She's got someone else at it. Kralahome: She? King Mongkut: That woman and her house! (Calls to court musician) King Mongkut: Stop it! (Music stops) King Mongkut: Take a lesson from her, my friend, and you'll never give up on anything. Give her a house. Kralahome: But... King Mongkut: Give her a house! If she was meant to be a sign to us, she deserves a reward. (Really angry now) King Mongkut: And if she wasn't, well, give her a house anyway, before she drives me out of my mind!


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