Synopsis by Hal Erickson
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.
Americana, generation, love, marriage-arranged, nightclub, romance, songwriter, wedding
High Artistic Quality