U.S., 1961, 133 min, Digital, Dir. Henry Koster, Not Rated, Samuel Goldwyn Films

Flower Drum Song

Tuesday, May 16

“If you're looking for something light and bright and colorful, this film version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical should fill the bill.” —Mae Tinee, Chicago Tribune

“A movie which is better than it's stage original.” —William C. Glackin, Sacramento Bee

"Starring prominent Asian-American actors Nancy Kwan and James Shigeta, this milestone film presented an enduring three-dimensional portrait of Asian America as well as a welcomed, non-cliched portrait of Chinatown beyond the usual exotic tourist façades." —2008 Film Registry, Library of Congress


Mei Li falls in love with Wang Ta, a handsome nightclub owner who is engaged to the beautiful and ambitious showgirl Linda Low. Meanwhile, Wang Ta's father, Master Wang, is worried about the declining popularity of traditional Chinese culture among the younger generations of Chinese-Americans and seeks to promote it by organizing a cultural pageant, the "Miss Chinatown" contest.

As the contest approaches, Mei Li must navigate her feelings for Wang Ta and her desire to honor her traditional Chinese upbringing, while Linda Low struggles to balance her ambition with her love for Wang Ta. The film features several memorable musical numbers, including "I Enjoy Being a Girl," "Grant Avenue," and "Love, Look Away."

Based on the Broadway hit show of the same name (which was adapted from the 1957 novel by Chinese American author Chin Yang Lee), Flower Drum Song explores themes of cultural identity, generational conflict, and the immigrant experience. This beloved American musical classic was notable for its predominantly Asian-American cast. The film stars Nancy Kwan, James Shigeta, Juanita Hall, Jack Soo, Benson Fong, and Miyoshi Umeki. It was nominated for five Academy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards and selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

Note: reservations made in advance are subject to a $1.00 service charge.

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Tickets to this series are FREE for members of the Gables Cinema. Click here to join! The Perrin/Slesnick Musicals for Members series is made possible by a generous donation from the Harry & Mary Perrin Fund and the Slesnick Family Fund of the Coral Gables Community Foundation. It is hosted by Don & Jeannett Slesnick.

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