集団安全保障の企て--冷戦のスペクタクルとしての『王様と私』 (シンポジウム 「第2次大戦後のアメリカ映画とイデオロギ-」) [in Japanese] Staging Collective Security : The King and I as Cold War Spectacle [in Japanese]
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シンポジウム, Symposium「第2次大戦後のアメリカ映画とイデオロギー」, "Film and Ideology in Postwar America"訳:佐伯千鶴
This paper explores how popular culture of the 1950s helped cultivate widespread American support for extending the Cold War into Asia. It focuses on Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical show and film The King and I and argues that the show translated the ideological issues of the Cold War into terms that could be understood and embraced by ordinary Americans. It shows how The King and I transformed the geopolitical policy of collective security, which was one of the guiding principles of the Cold War, into a narrative of a growing US-Asian relationship based on mutual affection and shared culture. The King and I, which is set in Thailand (Siam)in the nineteenth century, helped introduce that country to American audiences at a moment when it was becoming strategically important to American interests. The show tells a story of Asian nation-building under benign Western tutelage. Its heroine, Anna Leonowens, is a governess for the King's many children who transforms Siam from a backwards and authoritarian counry into a modern and Westernized one. She introduces Western notions of contract and respect for individual rights and trains the king's eldest son to rule Siam according to democratic principles. At the end of the movie, the autocratic king dies and is succeeded by the Western-educated prince. The King and I's musical numbers communicate Cold War political meanings through song, dance, costume, and decor. "The Small House of Uncle Thomas" number-a twenty-minute Siamese version of Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom ~ Cabin -demonstrates that Americans have solved their racial problems and are committed to the principle of racial equality. Such refutations of racism were vital to the success of US-Asian collective security arrangements, since well-publicized incidents of American racism throughout the 1950s threatened to delegitimize US claims to world leadership in the eyes of many Asians. The "Shall We Dance"number stages Anna's political transformation of Siam as a romantic dance lesson. As Anna teaches the King the forms of Western courtship, she inculcates in him a respect for democratic values that makes it impossible for him to continue his authoritarian rule. Both numbers reinforce the logic of collective security by showing the Thai people em-bracing American cultural forms and political values. By looking at this one show in detail, this paper suggests a larger argument : that we consider the genre of the musical as a bearer of American ideology on par with the more familiarly ideological genre of the Western. Musicals are structured around the utopian moments of musical numbers, in which people come together across all kinds of boundaries. One can read the ideology of the musical in the kind of community that its numbers construct. The King and I offers utopian numbers that unite Asians and Americans, that transcend the barrier of race, and that show the universal applicability of American cultural forms. They express the Cold War ideal of collective security by showing Americans and Asians working together to forge and to protect common values.
- Doshisha American studies
Doshisha American studies (34), 91-98, 1998
Alternative:Center for American Studies, Doshisha University