All the ingredients that made Rodgers & Hammerstein’s  The King and I a memorable stage experience have been faithfully transferred to the screen. The result is a pictorially exquisite, musically exciting, and dramatically satisfying motion picture.
With Deborah Kerr in the role originally created by Gertrude Lawrence, and Yul Brynner and Terry Saunders repeating their stage performances, the production has the talent to support the opulence of this truly blockbuster presentation. CinemaScope 55, originally introduced with R&H’s Carousel, attains its full glory with The King and I.
As the Victorian Englishwoman who comes to Siam to teach Western manners and English to the royal household, Kerr gives one of her finest performances. She handles the role of Mrs Anna, with charm and understanding and, when necessary, the right sense of comedy.
As the brusque, petulant, awkwardly-kind despot confused by the conflicts of Far Eastern and Western cultures, Yul Brynner gives an effective, many-shaded reading.
Although unbilled, the singing voice of Kerr is Marni Nixon. It is ghosted so well that it is hard to believe that it is not Kerr.
The film suggests a stronger romantic feeling between Mrs Anna and the king than was presented in the legituner, but it is done with the utmost delicacy.
[For pic’s 1961 reissue in a 70mm blowup, an interval was added after the temple scene, plus music for an overture, entr’acte and playout.]
1956: Best Actor (Yul Brynner), Color Art Direction, Sound Recording, Scoring of a Musical Picture, Color Costume Design.
Nominations: Best Picture, Director, Actress (Deborah Kerr), Color Cinematography, Color Art Direction