|Anna and The King|
|Directed by||Andy Tennant|
|Produced by||Lawrence Bender |
|Written by||Steve Meerson |
|Starring||Jodie Foster |
Randall Duk Kim
Kay Siu Lim
|Music by||George Fenton |
|Editing by||Roger Bondelli|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Release date(s)||December 17, 1999|
|Running time||148 minutes|
The film was directed by Andy Tennant and stars Jodie Foster and Chow Yun-fat. It was mostly shot in Malaysia, particularly in the Penang and Ipoh region. It was an Academy Award nominee in 2000 for Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.
 PlotThe film begins by following the story of Anna Leonowens and Rama IV as it is usually told; Anna is a widow who has come to Siam with her son Louis to teach English to the 69 royal children. She is a strong-willed, intelligent woman and this pleases the King, who wants to modernize his country to keep it safe from the threat of colonialism, while protecting many of the ancient traditions that give Siam its unique identity.
In order to win the favors of Britain, the King orders a sumptuous reception, and delegates Anna to organize it. During the reception, the King verbally spars graciously and wittily with Sir Kincaid (Bill Stewart), of East India Company, who accuses Siam of being a superstitious nation. At the end of the reception, the King dances with Anna.
Anna is enchanted by the royal children, particularly Princess Fa-Ying (Melissa Campbell). The little girl identifies with the spirit of the playful monkeys who live in the trees of the royal garden. When she suddenly takes ill of cholera, Anna is summoned to her chambers to say goodbye. She gets there just as Fa-ying dies in Mongkut's hands, and the two mourn together. Sometime later, when the King finds that one of the monkeys has "borrowed" his glasses, as his daughter used to do, he is comforted by his belief in reincarnation and the idea that Fa-ying may be reborn as one of her beloved animals.
Lady Tuptim (Bai Ling), the King's new favorite concubine, was already engaged when brought to the court. The King is kind to her, but she's too unhappy and at last runs away, disguising herself as a young man and joining the monastery where her former fiancé, Khun Phra Balat (Sean Ghazi), lives. She is tracked down and brought back to the palace, imprisoned, and initially caned along with her Balat. However, because of Anna's outburst during this incident, Tuptim and Balat are beheaded in front of the entire court, despite the well held belief that the sentence is monstrously unfair, in order to save face.
The political aspects of the story are completely fictional: Siam is under siege from what appears to be a British-funded coup d'état against King Mongkut, using Burmese soldiers. Mongkut sends out his brother Prince Chaofa and his military advisor General Alak to investigate.
However, it turns out that Alak is the man behind the coup and he turns on and kills Chaofa. He then flees Siam into Burma where he summons and readies his troops to invade Siam and kill the King and his children.
With Anna's help, the king manages to hide his children and his wives in a safe place. Then he goes with the few soldiers he has to face Alak. Siamese soldiers place high explosives on a wooden bridge high above a canyon floor, as Alak and his army approaches. The King orders his "army" to stay back and rides to the bridge with only two soldiers. Alak, in front of his army, confronts the King on the bridge.
Anna and Louis then orchestrate a brilliant deception from their hiding spot in the forest: Louis uses his horn to replicate the sound of a bugle charge, as Anna "attacks" the area with harmless fireworks. The ploy works as the Burmese, believing the King has brought British soldiers, retreat in a panic. Alak attempts to recall them, but his efforts prove to be futile. Alak stands alone, but the King refuses to kill him, saying that Alak shall have to live with his shame. As the King turns to ride back to Siam, Alak picks up a gun and aims at the King, but the explosives are detonated, blowing the bridge to pieces, and Alak along with it.
At the end of the movie, the King has one last dance with Anna, and realizes that it is conceivable for one man to be pleased by only one woman. Anna returns to England with Louis. The King's son takes over, and abolishes slavery.