The famous story of Anna Leonowens, the resolute, sophisticated governess who taught English to the children of the King of Siam (modern Thailand), has gotten told over and over again. It was a best-selling novel (Anna and the King of Siam), then became a long-running Rodgers & Hammerstein Broadway musical (The King and I). But the most famous recounting of her based-on-true-events story is the 1956 film, possibly the most beloved family film to ever feature characters in full yellowface.
20th Century Fox
It's OK to be racist as long as you're fabulous.
What They Left Out:
Contrary to how movies always depict her, the real Anna was half-Indian (her father was a private in the army who married an Indian woman) and, due to her heritage, she was considered very low class. That's why, after her husband died, she decided to con her way into a better life.
First, she moved to Singapore, where nobody knew her, and passed herself off as the posh daughter of a major, and the widow of a high-ranking officer. She also said she'd been born in Wales instead of India to explain her dark complexion, which frankly puts into question everything we thought we knew about Wales and its people.
Just kidding, we never knew anything about Wales.
Most importantly, Anna completely changed her voice, only speaking with a made-up, sophisticated British accent, something that came easily to her seeing as she was a genius with languages. Reportedly, she could speak Hindi, Marathi, Persian, and Sanskrit, which had to contribute to her being chosen as the teacher in the service of King Mongkut.
Oh, and her story didn't end there. After Thailand, Anna traveled all over the world promoting women's rights and various social issues. Towards the end of her life, she settled in Halifax, Canada, where she set up societies to educate women, and campaigned for suffrage. Not bad for someone who began her career on a mountain of lies.
Andrew Burton/Getty Images News/Getty Images
But who wants to hear about bringing learnin' to women?
For more ridiculous things movies left out, check out 6 'Based on a True Story' Movies with Unpleasant Epilogues and 7 Movies Based on a True Story (That Are Complete Bullshit).
Are you on reddit? Check it: We are too! Click on over to our best of Cracked subreddit.
Remind everyone that the truth can be much cooler than fiction. Click the Facebook 'share' button below.