Saturday, May 19, 2012

Movies fit for a King

Wise Kwai's Bangkok Cinema Scene is promoting a film series being organized by the Thai Film Archive, which features a selection of nine vintage movies that the King of Thailand watched in a public movie theater over the years.

For movie lovers in the Bangkok area, this is not to be missed.


Maybe I'm making things up in my head, but the theme of the event seems to have a protectionist undertone to it; sort of a soft-sell method of promoting the Scala and Lido theaters for preservation. Hopefully each screening will list the name and location of the theater that H.M.K patronized.


  1. I saw Lord Jim on Saturday. It's a ripping yarn that more closely resembles a western, despite its setting on the high seas and in Cambodia (standing in for a fictional country). Aside from Peter O'Toole, there's great performances from Eli Wallach, Curd Jurgens and a menacingly bearded James Mason.

    Before the main feature, they show clips of His Majesty attending the movies as well as a tastefully done Royal Anthem, specially created from the Archives materials.

    Here's the link to the clip:

    Sanchai Chotirosseranee, the film archive's programmer, lists the theaters shown:

    1. The Queens Theater, on 28 October 1963, Lawrence of Arabia.
    2. Sala Chalermkrung, on 7th September 1967, Thai film called, Phu Chana Sip Tip.
    3. Sala Chalermkrung, on 19th October, 1967, Thai film called Ply Pi Kad
    4. The Coliseum Theater, on 31st July, 1971, Thai film called Khon Jai Bod.
    5. Sala Chalermkrung, on 28th August, 1971, Thai film called Mae Sri Plai.
    6. Paramount Theater, on 7th October, 1971, Love Story
    7. Paris Theater, on 7th September, 1972, Carry On Up the Jungle

    Thai film critic Manotham says that during the shooting of Lord Jim in Cambodia, Joseph Conrad paid a visit to see his book being filmed. In Bangkok, he stayed at the Oriental Hotel, which today has the Joseph Conrad suite while the restaurant is called Lord Jim.

    1. After the completion of filming for Lord Jim, O'Toole was quoted in a Time magazine article saying some unfavorable things about Cambodia. Prince Sihanouk felt slighted by the negative comments, and in return charged that it was all part of a CIA plot to destabilize the country. In a fit of rage he recalled the Cambodian mission in Washington and asked the US embassy to pack their things and leave Phnom Penh, temporarily severing diplomatic ties between the two countries.

      All the theaters listed were once first class palaces. The Chalermkrung still is.