Trivia / Flower Drum Song

  • Actor Allusion: Minor example. During "Chop Suey", the film changes the lyrics to reference Bobby Darrin. BJ Baker, who dubs Linda's singing, had worked with Bobby Darrin.
  • Adaptational Context Change:
    • "The Other Generation" is given different context in the film than the stage version. In the stage version, it's sung after Ta presents Linda as a possible bride. The film has it happening before Linda has even met his parents.
    • The discovery of Ta at Helen Chao's place is Lighter and Softer compared to the book. Helen intentionally gets Ta drunk and sleeps with him, making it more Can't Get Away with Nuthin'. In the musical, Ta just passes out on Helen's bed and it's more Not What It Looks Like.
    • "You Are Beautiful" happens at the beginning of the stage version, sung by Ta to Madame Liang. In the film it happens much later, and Ta sings it to Mei Li.
  • Billing Displacement: Nancy Kwan, who had just come off her Star-Making Role The World of Suzie Wong, is given top billing. She plays Linda Low, who is probably the third most important character.
  • Breakaway Pop Hit: For all the covers "I Enjoy Being a Girl" receives, it seems a little unlikely that many people can name the musical it originated from, or even recognize it as a Rodgers and Hammerstein piece.
  • The Cast Show Off: Nancy Kwan, a trained ballerina, shows off plenty of her dance skills in Linda's routines.
  • Creator In-Joke: In the brief scene where Sammy Fong and Mei Lei sit in a beatnik coffee shop, on stage someone reads the poem "Like A God". This was a planned song between the two that got cut from the original stage version.
  • Cut Song:
    • "My Best Love."
    • Also, "This Isn't Heaven," later used in the 1962 remake of State Fair.
  • Executive Meddling:
    • The lyrics of "Chop Suey" - "Harry Truman, Truman Capote and Dewey" - were changed to "Bobby Darrin, Sandra Dee and Dewey" because producer Ross Hunter had Bobby Darrin and Sandra Dee under contract, and they were more recognisable names. And of course Harry Truman hadn't been in power for a decade. Thomas Dewey remained in the song simply because no other words rhymed with 'suey'.
    • In the original novel Helen commits suicide. Rogers and Hammerstein thought that was too depressing an ending for such a strong character. As such her story is left unresolved.
  • Fake Nationality: A good number of the cast members in the film and Broadway performances are of Japanese descent. In the film, Madame Liang is played by Juanita Long Hall, who is Afro-American. Nancy Kwan is the only cast member of the film to have Chinese blood.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: The movie did not come to DVD until 2006, seven years after Rodgers and Hammerstein movies started coming to DVD. Even the long-lost TV special Cinderella and the widely panned State Fair remake beat it to the punch.
  • Non-Singing Voice:
    • Nancy Kwan was dubbed by BJ Baker for Linda Low's singing.
    • Marilyn Horne dubbed Reiko Sato for Helen Chao's too.
  • What Could Have Been: Anna May Wong was set to star as Madame Liang in the film version. But she died suddenly before production began, and Juanita Long Hall replaced her.

General:

  • For whatever reason, the 1961 movie stands as the only big-screen, live-action Rodgers and Hammerstein musical adaptation that 20th Century Fox doesn't own the rights to-Universal International released the movie instead.
  • Film debut of Jack Soo.

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