What's the Difference between Flower Drum Song the Book and Flower Drum Song the Movie?

Romantic Comedy

Flower Drum Song

Released: 1955
Author: C. Y. Lee

Flower Drum Song

Released: 1961
Director: Henry Koster
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In the Book In the Movie
Mei Li
May Li
Portrayed by: Miyoshi Umeki
Wang Chi-yang
Wang Chi-yang
Portrayed by: Benson Fong
This Character does not appear.
Sammy Fong
Portrayed by: Jack Soo
Madam Tang (Master Wang's sister in-law)
Madame Liang
Portrayed by: Juanita Hall
Helen Chao
Helen Chao
Portrayed by: Reiko Sato
Wang San
Wang San
Portrayed by: Patrick Adiarte
Mr. Li
Dr. Han Li
Portrayed by: Kam Tong
Linda Tung
Linda Low
Portrayed by: Nancy Kwan
Flower Drum Song Book vs Movie
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This Spoils the Ending
In the Book In the Movie
   The book is set in the mid 1950's. It is historical fiction and romance. The book is centered around the relationship between Master Wang and his eldest son, Wang Ta. May Li and Linda Tung (Linda low) are minor characters. Sammy Fong is not in the book. The film is set in 1961; it is a romantic comedy musical. Master Wang, his eldest son Wang Ta, Linda Low, Sammy Fong and Mei Li are the main characters.
   May Li and Mr. Li arrive in San Francisco legally and get directions to an address they have for their landlord. But the house belongs to Master Wang now. Wang Ta lets them stay the night, then drives them around the city to look for a home. Master Wang's staff does not like May Li and her father. Wang Ta likes May Li. After talking to his father and aunt, May Li and her father are taken on as servants. The Li's do not appear in the book until towards the end. Mei Li and her father, Dr. Li entered the USA illegally from Hong Kong and are looking for Sammy Fong's address in San Francisco. A police officer escorts Mei Li and her father to his night club where Sammy Fong feeds them. The film starts with the Li's arrival in San Francisco.
   This does not happen in the book. Sammy Fong is not in the book. Linda Tung is a nightclub dancer. Linda Low overhears Sammy's promise to honor the marriage contract to Mei Li; she runs away upset. Sammy tells Linda he will unload Mei Li on another man and buy Linda a convertible. Linda is a dancer at Sammy's nightclub.
   Wang Chi-yang only speaks a Hunan dialect. His only English words are yes and no. He escaped from mainland China five years ago with his sons. He is 63, his eldestson Wang Ta is 28 and his younger son Wang San, is 13. Master Wang speaks English well. Little about his past in China. No ages given.
   This does not happen in the book. Sammy goes to Madame Liang to suggest that Mei Li would be a suitable wife for Wang Ta. She in turn tells Master Wang, but she suggests they should be allowed to fall in love first. Master Wang says he will give him one week.
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