Flower Drum Song


Comedy / Musical / Romance

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 50%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 72%
IMDb Rating 7 10 3006

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
February 22, 2022 at 10:22 AM



Benson Fong as Wang Chi-Yang
Nancy Kwan as Linda Low
Victor Sen Yung as Frankie Wing
Jack Soo as Sammy Fong
1.18 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 11 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by MartinHafer 3 / 10

Severely dated.

Nearly all the Asian actors in this film playing Chinese-Americans are in fact Japanese. This says a lot about the towns in which it was made. Now I am not a super-politically correct sort of guy...like the one reviewer who insanely wants the movie banned. But the film suffers badly from a very paternalistic and sad view of the Chinese...the sort of stuff that was considered just fine until recent years. Plus, it would have been considered insulting to have Japanese playing Chinese people to Chinese folks...and they are NOT one in the same culturally and WWII created a lot of ill feelings! My complaint though is less about political correctness and more about how silly all this looks today. The characters talk much like Charlie Chan and some use very stilted and unrealistic language, such as saying "My Father" or "My Wife's Sister" again and again....and I cannot imagine anyone talking like that.

The story itself is about a Chinese girl (Miyoshi Umeki) and her father who snuck into the country illegally and are trying to get her married to a rich Chinese-American man's son (James Shigeta). But he has eyes on another girl...the very modern and non-traditional Linda (Nancy Kwan). Who will he end up with...and how will the traditional father take it? And, will modern audiences actually see this thing to the finish or turn it off and choose another picture?

While the songs were written by Rogers and Hammerstein, they are pretty forgettable and occasionally patronizing (such as "Chop Suey"). Other Rogers and Hammerstein films (such as "South Pacific", "State Fair" and "The Sound of Music") produced a lot of memorable and singable tunes...but not in this one. Overall, a terribly dated film that I disliked less because it is offensive (which it is) but because it's just bad. A clear misfire from start to finish.

Reviewed by bkoganbing 9 / 10

My Very First Musical

Flower Drum Song holds a special place for me because it was the first Broadway show I ever saw. And I don't think it's been given the proper place in the pantheon of Rodgers&Hammerstein shows.

Back then minority players had a hard time getting parts and Flower Drum Song certainly filled a need there in the same way Porgy and Bess has done for black people. This was the first time a Broadway show was completely cast with oriental players. A milestone not to be overlooked.

Several of the Broadway cast made it to the film version. Juanita Hall, Patrick Adiarte, Keye Luke and most of all Miyoshi Umeki repeated their roles. Miyoshi was very big news then. When I saw the play she had just won her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Sayonara. Also a significant milestone, very significant in the repair of Japanese- American relations from World War II.

Jack Soo also made it from Broadway. But on Broadway the future Detective Nick Yemana of the bad coffee, was the "Commodore" from the Chinese nightclub. Here he is one of the male leads in a part originated by Larry Blyden on Broadway. Soo's deadpan delivery that made him so popular on Barney Miller is working undertime here. If you liked him on Barney Miller, he's great here.

James Shigeta took the place of one Ed Kenney from Broadway. Shigeta was at the start of a long career as probably THE Oriental leading man in American films for many years.

The big hit song from Flower Drum Song is I Enjoy Being a Girl which was and is the anti-battle cry against feminism. Doris Day had a big hit record of it (she would), but today feminists would be picketing the show with the message that conveys. I mean, really, the goal of the American woman is to be barefoot and pregnant at the "home of a brave and free male." Gloria Steinem would have cardiac arrest.

Nancy Kwan does wonderfully in the role of Linda Low who lip syncs those sentiments previously mentioned. Right around this time, Kwan, France Nuyen, and Nobu McCarthy all came along at the same time and seemed to battle for the same parts.

Two songs that are overlooked gems are You Are Beautiful which Johnny Mathis sang beautifully on record and Love Look Away. The latter is sung offscreen by Metropolitan Opera diva Marilyn Horne. That's not to be missed.

And neither is Flower Drum Song.

Reviewed by mark.waltz 8 / 10

When you go to San Francisco, play "Flower Drum Song" in your head...

And make sure you head down to Grant Avenue, 'cause the girl who brings your food is another tasty dish! Some critics called this (one of the few musicals to focus on Asians) "A World of Woozy Song", but if there is anything woozy about it, I certainly didn't feel it. In fact, I think this (after "Carousel") is perhaps one of Rodgers and Hammerstein's loveliest scores, and certainly as profound as "South Pacific" and "The King and I". But with a song like "Love Look Away", you have one of the most heart-wrenching ballads in a Broadway show, sung tenderly by a rather minor character you truly feel empathy for. "A Hundred Million Miracles" is certainly filled with indefinite promise, and "Chop Suey" gives us a taste of what Americans have taken from the Chinese culture and transformed into their own flavor. Long before "Kids" from "Bye Bye Birdie", there was "The Other Generation", sung first by the adults who certainly don't understand the teens then later by the teens who have become Americanized and don't understand the adults, new Americans from another country. "I Enjoy Being a Girl" would also be re-formatted for "Birdie" as "How Lovely to Be a Woman". Unlike the rock and roll world of "Birdie", this is a definite salute to the changing traditions of Asian Americans (or any offspring of immigrants from any culture), it combines modern dance trends and the cultural influence on the young from their more traditional seniors. Like the Puerto Ricans of "West Side Story", all these youngsters want is a chance, and that is a theme that any culture can identify with.

A decade ago, someone came along and turned "Flower Drum Song" into a shell of itself with a "revisal" story for Broadway that was part "Cinderella" and more woozy than Goldilocks after eating the porridge. Claiming that some of the original portrayals of Asian Americans were "offensive", they took out the family element of the original source, which defeated the whole purpose of the generational conflict. Even by giving its heroine a "Miss Saigon" type drama with her escape from Communist China, the remainder of that revival cheated itself in spite of an interesting prologue that ended up being more "stereotypical" by totally changing the structure of the established characters.

Miyoshi Umeki plays the young "wetback" (as she refers herself to be in an amusing manner) is an innocent young girl amazed by the differences she finds, and loves her new home. Then, there's sassy Linda (a fun Nancy Kwan-the Chinese Rita Moreno) who knows she's adorable and enjoys it tremendously. The difference between shyness and sassiness makes their acquaintance really sweet as well as those of the men they love.

Then, there's the older generation, lead by Benson Fong and Juanita Hall, repeating her Broadway role, and unlike the movie version of "South Pacific", getting to sing as she had on stage. The light-skinned African American Hall is the heart and soul here, as she was in "South Pacific". I've heard some critics called this generation a dated view of the Asian culture but anybody of a certain age can certainly identify with how the different generations relate. Patrick Adiarte as the baseball playing teen, adds a nice charm to his teen-aged character, having already gone down Rodgers and Hammerstein territory with his performance as the prince in "The King and I" on screen. (Years later, he would enter TV immortality as the Hawaiian acquaintance of Greg on "The Brady Bunch".) Reiko Sato, who sings the haunting "Love Look Away", is only on screen for a few minutes, but will steal your heart. Jack Soo ("Hawaii Five-O", "Thoroughly Modern Millie") adds some humor to his performance of the rascal who begs the sweet Umeki "Don't Marry Me". The lavish production really helps make this a fun movie experience, which unfortunately the Rodgers and Hammerstein organization have sold short thanks to pressures from outside groups.

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