South Pacific

( 17 )

Overview

Producer/director Joshua Logan's long-awaited filmization of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Pulitzer Prize-winning musical South Pacific was not the classic that everyone hoped it would be, principally because of some curious creative choices made by the production personnel. Adapted from James A. Michener's best-selling novel Tales of the South Pacific, the film stars Mitzi Gaynor as WAVE officer Nellie Forbush, who while stationed overseas during World War II falls in love with wealthy French planter Emile De ...
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Overview

Producer/director Joshua Logan's long-awaited filmization of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Pulitzer Prize-winning musical South Pacific was not the classic that everyone hoped it would be, principally because of some curious creative choices made by the production personnel. Adapted from James A. Michener's best-selling novel Tales of the South Pacific, the film stars Mitzi Gaynor as WAVE officer Nellie Forbush, who while stationed overseas during World War II falls in love with wealthy French planter Emile De Becque Rossano Brazzi. The Navy would like DeBecque to help them in a reconnaissance mission against the Japanese, but he refuses; having run away from the outside world after killing a man in his home town, De Becque sees no reason to become involved in a war which he did not start and in which he has no interest. But when Nellie, her inbred bigotry aroused when she discovers that Emile has two mixed-race children, refuses his proposal of marriage, DeBecque, having nothing to lose, agrees to go on the mission. His partner in this venture is Lt. Joseph Cable John Kerr, who like Nellie is a victim of prejudicial feelings; Cable has previously thrown away a chance at lasting happiness by refusing to marry Liat France Nuyen, the dark-skinned daughter of Tokinese trader Bloody Mary Juanita Hall. When Cable is killed and DeBecque is seemingly lost in battle, Nellie, realizing the stupidity of her racism, prays for Emile's safe return. The dramatic elements of South Pacific are offset by the low-comedy antics of "Big Dealer" seabee Luther Billis Ray Walston. Outside of Walston and Hall, both repeating their stage characterizations, South Pacific suffers from a largely noncharismatic cast. Mitzi Gaynor never rises above cuteness in the difficult role of Nellie Forbush, while Rossanno Brazi whose singing is dubbed by Giorgio Tozzi seems to be striking poses rather than acting as Emile DeBecque. These casting deficiencies might have been ignored had not South Pacific been laboring under an additional handicap: director Joshua Logan's decision to use colored filters in several key scenes, representing the emotions experienced by the actors. The constant color shift is more unsettling than attractive, drawing attention to Logan's technique and thereby taking the audience "out" of the picture. With all this going against it, however, South Pacific has much to be treasured. For one thing, all of Rodgers & Hammerstein's immortal songs--"Some Enchanted Evening," "Bali H'ai," "There is Nothing Like a Dame," "I'm in Love With a Wonderful Guy," "Younger Than Springtime" etc.--are retained, and, as a bonus, a song cut from the original stage production, "My Girl Back Home," is revived herein. In addition, the film is a bonanza for movie buffs who enjoy playing "spot the bit player:" among the supporting-cast ranks are Tom McLaughlin, Ron Ely, Doug McClure, John Gabriel and James Stacy rumors persist that Joan Fontaine shows up unbilled as a nurse, but we've yet to spot her. Though artistically disappointing, South Pacific ended up one of the biggest box-office gold mines of the 1950s.
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Special Features

Disc One:; Audio Commentary by Ted Chapin and Gerard Alessandrini (Theatrical Version); ; Singalong Karaoke Subtitles (English); Songs-Only Option; ; Disc Two:; ; Extended "Road-Show" Version of the Film; Audio Commentary by Richard Barrios ("Road Show" Version); ; Passion, Prejudice and South Pacific: Creating an American Masterpiece Documentary; ; The Making of South Pacific Featurette; ; Diane Sawyer Interview with James Michener, Author of Tales of the South Pacific; ; Vintage Stage Excerpts Featuring Performances by Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza; ; Fox Movietonews; Still Gallery; Mitzi Gaynor Screen Test
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
On the heels of such hit films as Oklahoma!, Carousel, and The King and I, the Broadway songwriting duo of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein produced this Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway musical based on James Michener's novel, Tales of the South Pacific. The film version is the epic story of a young American Navy nurse (Mitzi Gaynor) who falls in love with a French planter (Rossano Brazzi) during World War II. Long-awaited, the lavish, big-budget film was shot almost entirely on location in Hawaii and became a box-office hit even though it disappointed many critics. Director Joshua Logan changed color filters to emphasize the moods of different characters, an experiment that looks dated and amateurish in retrospect. But the lush photography and well-staged musical numbers carry the ambitious, three-hour film, in which Gaynor holds her own despite her controversial casting over Broadway veteran Mary Martin, who originated the role (and who also saw Julie Andrews take the the role that she originated in The Sound of Music). Memorable songs include "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair" and "Some Enchanted Evening.""
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/31/2009
  • UPC: 024543541653
  • Original Release: 1958
  • Rating:

  • Source: 20th Century Fox
  • Presentation: Anniversary Edition / Wide Screen / Subtitled / Dubbed
  • Sound: DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound
  • Time: 5:29:00
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Sales rank: 21,662

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Rossano Brazzi Emile de Becque
Mitzi Gaynor Nellie Forbush
John Kerr Lt. Joseph Cable
Ray Walston Luther Billis
Juanita Hall Bloody Mary
France Nuyen Liat
Russ Brown Capt. George Brackett
Jack Mullaney Professor
Floyd Simmons Bill Harbison
Candace Lee Ngana, Emile's Daughter
Warren Hsieh Jerome
Tom Laughlin Buzz Adams
Galvan de Leon Sub Chief
Ron Ely Navigator
Robert Jacobs Communications Man
Archie Savage Ceremonial Dance Chief
Darleen Engle Nurse in Thanksgiving Show
Richard H. Cutting Adm. Kester
Beverly Aadland Nurse in Thanksgiving Show
Joe Bailey US Commander
Ken Clark Stewpot
Buck Class Fighter Pilot
Stephen Ferry Pilot
Joan Fontaine Polynesian Woman
John Gabriel 2nd Communcations Man
Richard Harrison Co-Pilot
Doug McClure Pilot
James Stacy
Georgio Tozzi Voice Only
Technical Credits
Joshua Logan Director
L.B. Abbott Special Effects
Buddy Adler Producer
Ken Darby Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
James A. Michener Source Author
John F. de Cuir Jr. Art Director
Paul S. Fox Art Director, Set Decoration/Design
Dorothy Jeakins Costumes/Costume Designer
Ben Kadish Asst. Director
Alfred Newman Score Composer, Musical Direction/Supervision
Ben Nye Sr. Makeup
Paul Osborn Screenwriter
LeRoy J. Prinz Choreography
Richard Rodgers Score Composer
Rodgers & Hammerstein Score Composer
Walter Scott Art Director, Set Decoration/Design
Leon Shamroy Cinematographer
Robert L. Simpson Editor
Lyle Wheeler Art Director
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Great film set in WWII with music to lighten the mood of the times.

    This is a great film with lots of music. I had seen this film in the theaters when it first came out many years ago. I loved the songs and the actors and actresses, like John Kerr, Mitzi Gaynor and Ray Walston singing and dancing. The plot is a good one focusing on love in the time of war in WWII in the Pacific. Also, the culture, prejudices and the diversity of people not in their own home areas. The songs are really great, ones you can sing after the movie is over, like "Some Enchanted Evening," "Bali High" and "I'm Gonna Wash that Man right Out o' my Hair". They don't make many movies like this one anymore. I would recommend this film to anyone who likes musicals.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Older than Springtime

    SOUTH PACIFIC won a Pulitzer and a Tony for its stage version and was shockingly cutting edge in its time....Sadly, this musical has not aged as well as some. The score is still fantastic and well sung, but it the story drags...and those ill advised color filters...what were they thinking?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Horrible Use of Colored Filters

    If it weren't for the cinematographer severely overdoing the use of colored filters (the director should've used a test shot or two on a test audience, but they didn't use test audiences back then), this would've been a 2.5-star movie. Nothing higher unless John (Lt Cable) Kerr's ghost singer had a voice much closer to his, or they'd use a REAL French opera star with a REAL French accent for Emile de Becque's character (though why they didn't use Marni Nixon again is anyone's guess), or the film editor picked up the pace a bit (the film drags often), or... or... or... Great to learn how to destroy an otherwise fine musical.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Should have been great....

    This 1958 film adaptation of the landmark 1949 Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway smash is one of Hollywood's biggest disappointments. Overblown and overlong, the film suffers in two departments: the annoying smoky cinematography in the musical numbers and the casting of Mitzi Gaynor in the pivotal role of Nellie Bush. Gaynor is a talented singer/dancer, but she is just not charismatic enough to carry this elephantine film production. Rosanno Brazzi, John Kerr, and Juanita Hall (repeating her Tony awarding role as Bloody Mary) are all fine and the singing of all three is beautifully dubbed). The R&H musical score is the most exquisite of all their collaborations, so buy the CD soundtrack instead, kick back, and be mesmerized.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A Winner

    A first-class production of the great stage musical. The orchestrations have never sounded so gorgeous and lush, and the cinematography is breathtaking. Mitzi Gaynor is terrific as Nelly Forbush, and Rozanno Brazzi does a very good job of mouthing Giorgio Tozzi's heartfelt singing, and is an appealing Emille DeBeque. I will never understand why some folks are so nasty about Ms. Gaynor's performance, as I thought she was sensational in a very difficult role. Juanita Hall is an unforgettable Bloody Mary. As every South Pacific critic points out, the colored filters were a mistake. But I don't let them spoil what is a very beautiful and moving story, splendidly filmed, about our ability to overcome bigotry against other races. When the film was released in 1958, its theme was very ahead of its time, as the American civil rights movement had yet to take place. To me at least, a treasure of a film, one that is in many ways almost as mysterious in the magic it works over you as Bali Hai itself.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    We love this movie!

    This is classic Roger's & Hammerstein. Great songs, loads of fun, good for the family. This is one of our favorite movies.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    South Pacific

    This is a terrific movie and a wonderful musical. The music will have you humming all day. My favorite song is "I'm going to wash that Man right out of my hair and send him on his way." "Some Enchanted Evening is a highlight. It is interesting to see Ray Walson as Luther Billis and not as "My Favorite Martian." Rossan Brazzi as Emile De Becque, and Mitzi Gaynor as Ensign Nellie Forbush are winners too. This is set during World War II, and Oscar and Hammerstein have found a way to make it enchanting for all who enjoy old classic musicals.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    South Pacific - beautifully filmed, fabulous soundtrack!

    Fabulous as I remembered it as a child. South Pacific has so many of Broadways favorite songs. The soundtrack is fantastic, the color wonderful. Uplifting, delightful way to spend an evening watching this classic.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Love this movie!!

    This was the first musical I fell in love with (except for children's movies, ie Mary Poppins) I discovered it in Junior High. I learned all the words and performed with my best friend in her living room! It was great to discover this marvelous movie once again!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    One of the BEST movies ever!

    South Pacific is a really great movie for people to watch and it also has great songs in it too! My most favorite song out of the whole musical is called "Younger Then Springtime" and it's sung by a really great actor who's very talented and he was DEFINETLY really hot in the film too! This movie is the #1 movie of all time. Great Music and everything in it too!

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    Posted December 23, 2011

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    Posted March 23, 2010

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    Posted July 19, 2010

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    Posted December 19, 2009

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    Posted March 16, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2009

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    Posted June 6, 2010

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Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews