Flower Drum Song

( 7 )

Overview

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. ...
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Overview

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 seems that Mei Li has arrived to honor an arranged marriage between herself and Runyonesque nightclub owner Sammy Fong the incomparable Jack Soo. This might prove delicate, since Sammy is in love with flashy cabaret entertainer Linda Low Nancy Kwan. Meanwhile, Linda is romancing Wang Ta James Shigeta, the son of a wealthy Chinatown merchant Benson Fong. Soon, however, Mei Li and Wang Ta have fallen in love.......It's a complex plot, to be sure, but comedy and music manage to predominate. The songs include "I Enjoy Being a Girl" a tour de force for the special effects department, and for Nancy Kwan, "A Hundred Million Miracles," "The Other Generation," "Love Look Away," "I Am Going to Like It Here," "Don't Marry Me," "You Are Beautiful," "Grant Avenue" and "Chop Suey." Flower Drum Song is attractively produced and consummately acted; while no classic along the lines of King and I or Sound of Music, it deserves a second look.
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Special Features

A classic evolves: From print to stage to screen - Broadway legends Rodgers and Hammerstein adapt the best-selling novel into a theatrical hit and a Hollywood classic; Faces of the east: Casting Flower Drum Song - learn how the film was one of Hollywood's first to cast Asian actors as strong Chinese characters who achieve success and happiness; The songs of Flower Drum Song - from the unforgettable "I Enjoy Being a Girl" to the east-meets-west classic "Chop Suey," experience the wonder of these dazzling musical numbers.; An all-access pass to the sets and costumes of Flower Drum Song; The legacy of Rodgers and Hammerstein; Feature commentary with actress Nancy Kwan and film historian Nick Redman
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
The weakest of the Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein musicals to be adapted for the screen, Flower Drum Song is noteworthy for its use of Asian characters and actors of Asian descent. Unfortunately, those characters are not given a great deal of depth -- or, more precisely, the attempts at giving them depth are entirely too shallow. Neither the characters nor the theme -- old ways vs. new ways -- are really delved into, with the result that the entire enterprise comes across as rather plastic and artificial. In such circumstances, an exceptionally strong score is required to make up for the deficiencies in the script. Song has a number of first rate songs, such as the haunting "Love Look Away" and the charming "I Am Going to Like It Here," which contains one of Hammerstein's most interestingly constructed lyrics, as well as the "guilty pleasure" of "I Enjoy Being a Girl." However, these are offset by the likes of the embarrassing "Chop Suey" and the hokey "The Other Generation." On the plus side, the cast is strong, with Myoshi Umeki absolutely endearing and enchanting, Linda Kwan sexy and saucy, Jack Soo nonchalantly amusing, and Patrick Adiarte provides some dazzling dance moves. "I Enjoy Being a Girl" is given the most effective production, and "Sunday" the most entertainingly bizarre. The "Love Look Away" ballet is impressive, but it ultimately is a tremendous amount of time wasted on a secondary character. Far from a classic, Song is still entertaining, especially for aficionados of the musical film.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/7/2006
  • UPC: 025192419027
  • Original Release: 1961
  • Rating:

  • Source: Universal Studios
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Special Edition / Wide Screen / Slip Sleeve
  • Language: English
  • Time: 2:12:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 2,100

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Nancy Kwan Linda Low
James Shigeta Wang Ta
Juanita Hall Auntie/Madame Liang
Jack Soo Sammy Fong
Miyoshi Umeki Mei Li
Benson Fong Wang Chi-Yang
Reiko Sato Helen Chao
Patrick Adiarte Wang San
Kam Tong Dr. Li
Victor Sen Yung Frankie Wing
Soo Yong Madame Fong
James Hong Headwaiter
Spencer Chan Dr. Chou
Arthur Song Dr. Fong
Weaver Levy Policeman
Herman Rudin Holdup Man
Cherylene Lee Sons Girl Friend
Virginia Lee San's Girlfiiend
Jon Fong Square Dance Caller
Virginia Grey TV Heroine
Robert Kino Bank Manager
Frank Kumagai Tradesmen
Ching Wah Lee Professor
Laurette Luez Mexican Girl
Beulah Quo
Ward Ramsey Great White Hunter
Paul Sorenson TV Sheriff
Beal Wong Tailor
Technical Credits
Henry Koster Director
Jack Soo Director
Alexander Golitzen Production Designer
Miton Carruth Editor
Ken Darby Score Composer
Joseph Fields Screenwriter
Oscar Hammerstein II Score Composer
Ross Hunter Producer
Russell Metty Cinematographer
Alfred Newman Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Hermes Pan Choreography
Richard Rodgers Score Composer
Rodgers & Hammerstein Score Composer
Irene Sharaff Costumes/Costume Designer
Joseph C. Wright Art Director
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Flower Drum Song
1. Main Titles [3:59]
2. "A Hundred Million Miracles" [9:22]
3. "Fan Tan Fannie" [5:58]
4. "The Other Generation" [7:53]
5. "A Hundred Million Miracles (Reprise)" [6:11]
6. "I Enjoy Being a Girl" [7:50]
7. "I Am Going to Like It Here" [8:40]
8. Outspoken [5:10]
9. "Chop Suey" [6:52]
10. "You Be the Rock" [7:40]
11. "Grant Avenue" [6:08]
12. "Gliding Through My Memoree" [8:20]
13. "Love Look Away" [9:52]
14. "You Are Beautiful" [7:50]
15. "Sunday" [9:20]
16. "Don't Marry Me" [9:02]
17. Sealed With a Kiss [6:39]
18. "A Hundred Million Miracles (Reprise)/Finale" [4:05]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Flower Drum Song
   Scenes
   Languages
      Spoken Language
         English Dolby Digital 5.1
         English Dolby Digital 2.0
         Feature Commentary With Actress Nancy Kwan and Film Historian Nick Redman
      Subtitles
         English SDH
         Español
         Français
         Off
   Bonus Materials
      A Classic Evolves: From Print to Stage to Screen
      Faces of the East: Casting Flower Drum Song
      The Songs of Flower Drum Song
      An All-Access Pass to the Sets and Costumes of Flower Drum Song
      The Legacy of Rodgers and Hammerstein
      Feature Commentary With Actress Nancy Kwan and Film Historian Nick Redman: On
      Feature Commentary With Actress Nancy Kwan and Film Historian Nick Redman: Off
   Play
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Good,but it could have been much better

    It's no "King And I",but "Flower Drum Song" is still good Rodgers and
    Hammerstein.It gets a good but not great film version here.The movie has two big problems.As on Broadway,Joseph Fields's script now seems dated and over-sentimental,with characters that are stereotypes.And in the hands of producer Ross Hunter and director Henry Koster,the film is slow-paced and at times more like a photographed stage show.Still,there are enough good things to recommend it.The Alexander Golitzen-Joseph Wright-
    Howard Bristol sets and Irene Sharaff costumes look great in Russell Metty's lovely Technicolor photography.There are some good performances from the cast(Nancy Kwan and Miyoshi Umeki are especially outstanding,
    and the latter steals the show).Best of all,there is that lovely R&H score,well-performed under the expert direction of master Alfred Newman.
    All in all,this is a typical big-budget 1960s musical that provides an
    evening of good entertainment.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    What a find

    I have been looking for this movie for a long time. It is my oldest daughter's favorite musical of all time. So, when I saw it I had to get it for her and thr price was right. She really loved it and said that she can't wait to get home to watch it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    good actors, bad script

    The best way to describe this film is a saying I once heard, "Some people will hate it, some people will love it, but there is something here for everyone." I personally hated everything about this film, except the actors. This film was well casted. They got the different personalities to fit the right type of musical style required to work. My problem with the film is that it seems that it was adapted by an outsider's perspective and the script was being forced to work a certain way. I'm sure that I am the one that is wrong, because this book was a best seller and it has been done twice on Broadway not to mention this film. So, I guess you need to find which version you like.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I HAVE BEEN HEARD WITH THE RESULT: PERFECT!

    I'm not sure when I started to hound Universal Home Video about releasing this gem on DVD, but thank goodness I was heard, as well as many others from all the reviews of this new issue. This is my second favorite R&H film version musical behind SOUND OF MUSIC. Absolutely love the score, and always remember how charming this film is, so revisit often when I am in a foul mood or need a R&H fix. It was the only R&H musical film that still didn't have a DVD home, when all others have had at least one or two runs via Fox Home Video. I was lucky to tape the last broadcast of this film in widescreen, but it cut off the end titles a bit, so it was never complete, plus I have Universal's Pan and Scan VHS edition that is long out of print. Well, Universal has made up for it with this release. The remastering of picture and restoring the original technicolor is phenominal, especially focusing on Dong Kingman's lovely paintings that are part of the titles. I didn't imagine 5.1 Surround was possible, as it was advertised in 2.0 Stereo, but was happily surprised to see 5.1 listed on the packaging when I purchased it. The great overture sounds superb with Surround going. As mentioned by other reviewers, there is a great amount of extras that explain how the story got to Broadway in 1958, then the 1961 film, then forgotten, and then revived by the new story and presented on Broadway in 2002. I still would like to see a revival of the original Broadway version to compare it to the movie, as all I have is the Cast Recording. Still, nothing can take away the charm of this film, and the great performances of Nancy Kwan, Jack Soo, Miyoshi Umeki, Juanita Hall, Benson Fong, Reiko Sato and all the rest. During Nancy Kwan's commentary, it was sad to learn of some of the cast who are no longer with us, especially when they left us so young (Reiko Sato in particular, and Jack Soo who left us during his Barney Miller tenure). Nancy also mentioned she has been chosen to narrate a forthcoming documentary on Dong Kingman's artictic work. Only thing missing from the extras are trailers for the film, but in this case, "So what?" Though not specified as such, this 45th Anniversary celebration is great! Maybe at 50 in 2011, another edition will be shared with a few more treats. If not, I'm glad for what we have right here. Enjoy it, and thank you Universal for finally dusting off this diamond and representing it with such lustre.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2002

    Flower Drum Song Steals My Heart

    I loved the Flower Drum Song for its musical flavour as well as drops of comedy & tear jerking scenes. To me it had enough ingredients for a perfect blend of Chinese/American food & I thoroughly enjoyed it. In fact I've been trying to obtain a video for my own personal library.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews