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FLOWER DRUM SONG Film

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Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
FLOWER DRUM SONG Film
Posted: 10/9/13 at 07:11pm
Is it any good? I've never seen it and since I'll be meeting Nancy Kwan in a few weeks, a friend gave me his DVD to get signed. I remember hearing not so great things about it but is it at all worth giving 2 1/2 hours to, while I have the disc here?
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best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
FLOWER DRUM SONG Film
Posted: 10/9/13 at 07:13pm
I love it. Great score, great performances, fun and heartfelt story.

And I love '50s fake-San Francisco and the whole retro aspect.

Nancy is terrific (even dubbed). Her dancing is great, too.

It's my third favorite R&H film, after Sound of Music and The King and I.

EDIT: Watch it on a big TV with a good sound system. Not necessary, but makes it even better.
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3
Updated On: 10/9/13 at 07:13 PM
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Jay Lerner-Z
Broadway Legend
joined:4/4/11
FLOWER DRUM SONG Film
Posted: 10/9/13 at 07:18pm
"Interminable and grotesquely over-produced (by the king of "camp" glamour Ross Hunter) this screen version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical success is woefully patronizing and under-directed by Henry Koster. On Broadway, the tale had style and charm but this overblown and overlong movie just lies there and dies there. However, there's some bracing choreography and the endearing score has survived almost intact."
KathyNYC2
Broadway Legend
joined:12/2/10
FLOWER DRUM SONG Film
Posted: 10/9/13 at 08:37pm
It's very dated (and stereotypical in ways that wouldn't be done today) but yes Nancy Kwan and Miyoshi Umeki are just both worth the watch. There's a lot of charm there even if it is camouflaged in too much hype...and of course the music is fabulous.

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hushpuppy
Broadway Star
joined:11/13/04
FLOWER DRUM SONG Film
Posted: 10/9/13 at 10:36pm
Boy, I must have the world's dullest life, because, in between work, commuting, making nightly dinner, a long weekend in Provincetown, two weeks in Asia, and three Broadway shows, last month I still managed to carve out 2 1/2 hours to watch FLOWER DRUM SONG (we bought a new 46" TV and I decided to inaugurate it with FDS and CALL ME MADAM).

Watch it! James Shigeta is a rice queen's wet dream
'Our whole family shouts. It comes from us livin' so close to the railroad tracks'
PalJoey Profile Photo
PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
FLOWER DRUM SONG Film
Posted: 10/9/13 at 11:05pm
I have loved this movie since I was six years old and it was on the Million Dollar Movie. I watched it over and over again and loved every girly moment that Miyoshi Umeki and Nancy Kwan had. I knew the words to "A Hundred Million Miracles" and "I Enjoy Being a Girl" before I knew the words to any other show tune. Not to mention "Fan Tan Fannie."

I also loved Juanita Hall. I knew she wasn't Chinese, but I loved the way she said "My sister's husband," long before Alec Mapa started doing his brilliant (but exaggerated) imitation of her.

And I loved Jack Soo. (Long before Barney Miller.) I loved how he was Asian but if you closed your eyes, he was just like a Jewish Borscht Belt comedian. I memorized "Don't Marry Me," in addition to the girly numbers.

Did I mention "Fan Tan Fannie"?

And I thought that "Grant Avenue" and "Chop Suey" were brilliant musical numbers. I was obsessed with little Patrick Adiarte and a little bit in love with him, even before I understood such things. I wanted to be him, and to dance the way he danced in "What Are We Going to Do About the Other Generation," which even then I knew was exactly the same song as "Kids" in Bye, Bye Birdie. Except better.

I didn't care for the ballads: "You Are Beautiful" and "Love, Look Away," which I later learned was dubbed by none other than Marilyn Horne.

I also learned, years later, that it was considered by some to be demeaning and offensive to Asian people. I know in my heart of hearts that Rodgers and Hammerstein meant it to be the opposite. But times change, and it is what it is.

So, yes, by all means watch it.

And order in some Chop Suey.




Hula hoops and nuclear war, Doctor Salk and Zsa Zsa Gabor, Bobby Darin, Sandra Dee, and Dewey, Chop suey! Chop suey!
yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
Updated On: 10/10/13 at 11:05 PM
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best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
FLOWER DRUM SONG Film
Posted: 10/9/13 at 11:10pm
^ LIKE.
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3
Owen22
Broadway Legend
joined:2/24/11
FLOWER DRUM SONG Film
Posted: 10/10/13 at 12:22am
Miyoshi Umeki give one of the most real and truthful performances I have ever seen in a movie or stage musical. It's even more miraculous when you notice (most) everyone else is giving these thoroughly musical comedy cartoon characterizations. I love this movie for numerous reasons, but its Miyoshi Umeki, not Nancy Kwan (who I do adore in the film), that holds my heart.
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PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
FLOWER DRUM SONG Film
Posted: 10/10/13 at 12:24am
I just remembered her "I Am Going to Like It Here" and chills went down my spine.
yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
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dented146
Broadway Star
joined:11/26/05
FLOWER DRUM SONG Film
Posted: 10/10/13 at 01:28am
I always found it a wonderful film and I'm sure I listen to the score as much or more than any other R&H collaboration.
Pauly3
Understudy
joined:12/12/11
FLOWER DRUM SONG Film
Posted: 10/10/13 at 02:53am
"EDIT: Watch it on a big TV with a good sound system. Not necessary, but makes it even better."

Thanks for this note (as well as the other comments). I have found the experience can be noticeably better when watching/listening on a good system to be the case in other shows too. I have never had much interest in Flower Drum Song, but my interest is building.
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tazber
Broadway Legend
joined:5/10/05
FLOWER DRUM SONG Film
Posted: 10/10/13 at 06:10am
I love the movie. I love the score.

I think next to The King and I it's my favorite R&H score.

....but the world goes 'round
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best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
FLOWER DRUM SONG Film
Posted: 10/10/13 at 06:37am
It's funny, when people mention the broad characterizations, I can't help thinking if this were Guys & Dolls, Grease, Hairspray, or Dreamgirls, or Oklahoma!, or Fiddler On the Roof, nobody would cry racism.

Yes, they are broad characterizations, not caricatures, any more than Laurey and Curly are, or Sky and Sarah, or Danny and Sandy, or Tracy and Link.

It's a musical comedy (in the best sense of the genre), and the characters are painted broadly and acted broadly, for laughs, for energy, and for giant, sweeping paintbrush strokes of entertainment.

It's only because they are Asian and Asian-American, that audiences of all races decide to piggyback every single one of their political and social agendas on top of it. Because there are so very few commercial musicals that represent them, people tend to have unrealistic expectations of what this musical should be. It should be EVERYTHING and say EVERYTHING that should be said, in the proper way, told "realistically." Really? A "musical comedy" written in the '50s by R&H, should do all that?

And make no mistake. This show isn't a "yellow face" minstrel show. It's not Mickey Rooney in Breakfast At Tiffany's. But it's not realistic either, any more than the shows and characters I mentioned above (plus a million other musical comedies). Think for a minute how those characters act and speak in the other shows I mentioned.

But, like the best musical comedies, this one also has many relevant themes in it: traditional values vs. new ways of thinking, illegal immigration, preserving traditional cultural identity vs. adapting to a mainstream "Americanized" culture, the generation gap, the battle of the sexes, the misperceptions of the races ...

These themes are still presented in a musical comedy, though. This isn't a documentary or a journalistic piece or a "realistic" anything.

So I encourage everyone to see it for what it is ... a 1950s musical comedy that fits in well with so many other 1950s (and before and beyond) musical comedies ... with a subject that is rarely presented and rarely so accessible and entertaining and thought provoking as this one.

And it isn't any more dated than any of the other shows I mentioned from that era. It isn't any more dated than Rebel Without a Cause or Cat On a Hot Tin Roof, either. It's a product of its time ... and as far as frothy entertainment with a "message" goes, one of the best, IMO.
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3
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D2
Broadway Legend
joined:12/3/06
FLOWER DRUM SONG Film
Posted: 10/10/13 at 10:24am
What Besty said.

And, of course, what PJ said.

I watch it regularly, originally because I loved it from the first time I saw it (also on Million Dollar Movie) and recently to try and erase the scarring memories of the well-meaning but misbegotten, so politically correct it was offensive revival a decade ago.
Cheyenne Jackson tickled me. AFTER ordering SoMMS a drink but NOT tickling him, and hanging out with Girly in his dressing room (where he DIDN'T tickle her) but BEFORE we got married. To others. And then he tweeted Boobs. He also tweeted he's good friends with some chick on "The Voice" who just happens to be good friends with Tink's ex. And I'm still married. Oh, and this just in: "Pettiness, spite, malice ....Such ugly emotions... So sad." - After Eight, talking about MEEEEEEEE!!! I'm so honored! :-)
WOSQ
Broadway Legend
joined:7/18/03
FLOWER DRUM SONG Film
Posted: 10/10/13 at 02:19pm
I think it is in the extras that everyone in the cast was on their toes since this was the first Hollywood movie where all the faces on screen were Asian.

Is the movie any "good"? Well, no, not in terms of cinema, but is it fun, watchable and sincere? You bet.
"If my life weren't funny, it would just be true. And that would be unacceptable." --Carrie Fisher
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PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
FLOWER DRUM SONG Film
Posted: 10/10/13 at 05:20pm
Well, all the faces except Juanita Hall, who was African-American

yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
JoeKv99 Profile Photo
JoeKv99
Broadway Legend
joined:12/27/04
FLOWER DRUM SONG Film
Posted: 10/10/13 at 05:50pm
Birdie came after Flower Drum Song and not only ripped off "Younger Generation" but "I Enjoy Being a Girl." Good thing there wasn't online message boards then.
No good can possibly come from using this vast wasteland of error and deliberate deceit. You should get off of it and warn others away. You should make sure your children and grandchildren know what a corrupt and morally bankrupt institution it truly is.
Jordan Catalano Profile Photo
Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
FLOWER DRUM SONG Film
Posted: 10/10/13 at 05:51pm
I just watched the first hour of the film. I have to run off to work and I'll finish it when I get home. But so far I find it absolutely wonderful! :)
Wilmingtom
Broadway Legend
joined:7/18/11
FLOWER DRUM SONG Film
Posted: 10/10/13 at 05:52pm
@Jay Lerner-Z, whom or what are you quoting?
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best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
FLOWER DRUM SONG Film
Posted: 10/10/13 at 06:03pm
Yay, Jordy!

Isn't Nancy Kwan sexy as hell in it?
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3
mamaleh
Broadway Star
joined:5/11/04
FLOWER DRUM SONG Film
Posted: 10/10/13 at 06:30pm
I think we've all grown to love "You Are Beautiful." It's such a gorgeous ballad. As to casting, at least they used real Asians, even if some were Japanese and not Chinese. It's better than having whites portray Asians, as Larry Blyden did on stage in the Jack Soo role (and no knock against Blyden, of whom I was an admirer) or of course the infamous Mickey Rooney casting in the BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S film.

Updated On: 10/10/13 at 06:30 PM
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PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
FLOWER DRUM SONG Film
Posted: 10/10/13 at 07:09pm
Again except for Juanita Hall.
yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates
WOSQ
Broadway Legend
joined:7/18/03
FLOWER DRUM SONG Film
Posted: 10/11/13 at 10:44am
Here's real trivia: Patrick Adiarte was Loni Ackerman's first husband in the 70s.

Anybody know where he is?
"If my life weren't funny, it would just be true. And that would be unacceptable." --Carrie Fisher
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best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
FLOWER DRUM SONG Film
Posted: 10/11/13 at 10:53am
He appears in the documentary on the DVD, which is probably 6 or 7 years ago now.

And let me just say that I was SO impressed with his dancing in this movie. He's like a teenaged Fred Astaire. Really incredible to watch.
"Jaws is the Citizen Kane of movies."
blocked: logan2, Diamonds3
Updated On: 10/11/13 at 10:53 AM
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Jungle Red
Broadway Legend
joined:8/13/12
FLOWER DRUM SONG Film
Posted: 10/11/13 at 11:33am
I really enjoy this movie. It's not great, but it's delightful. I love seeing San Francisco on film, even if it's not real San Francisco.
"Bill Clinton is the ultimate whore! He stole Madonna's crown." -Jim Colyer, on 10/29/2012
PalJoey Profile Photo
PalJoey
Broadway Legend
joined:3/11/04
FLOWER DRUM SONG Film
Posted: 10/11/13 at 11:36am
He just turned 70 years old this summer, he lives in LA, and he still teaches dance occasionally at Barbara Bostock's LA Dance Fitness.

You can see him on the DVDs of the old Hullabaloo show, like this number:


Pat Adiarte Five Different Girls Hullabaloo '65
yr pal,
joey




Blocked so far: suestorm, Master Bates

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