southpacificblurayThe last time I screened the film adaptation of Broadway’s “South Pacific,” I was enlisted in the U.S. Air Force serving in the Pacific. With no Japanese war looming, the movie acted more as a nostalgic look backwards, painted with warm pastels that starkly contrasted anything seen around my military base at the time. It was escapism at its best. Now its time, once again, to turn out the lights, crank up the stereo and get lost in “South Pacific” as a newly released Blu-Ray version hit stores this week. With a black screen, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s musical surges to life as their beautiful overture cues up. While not the same experience audiences visiting Lincoln Center’s current Broadway revival experience each night, with the right speakers, the beauty of the Hollywood musical is captured with little effort. “South Pacific’s” greatest asset will always be the nearly flawless music from Rodgers and Hammerstein. So many standards emerged from this musical, including the greatest love song Broadway has experienced, “Some Enchanted Evening.” And one can’t forget “There’s Noting Like a Dame,” “Bali Ha’i,” “Happy Talk” and nearly a dozen other classics. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “Tales of the South Pacific” by James Michener, “South Pacific” tells the tale of a simple American girl, Nellie Forbush, serving as a nurse in the Navy. She falls in love with an exiled Frenchman, Emile De Becque who is living on an island occupied by the U.S. military. With World War II blaring in the background, themes ranging from patriotism to racism and isolation run throughout the musical. With the re-release of this 1958 classic, a rarely seen “road show” edition, which played in movie houses during its initial run, only to be cut down to a more digestible length for mass consumption, is once again ready to be fallen in love with all over again. Fourteen additional minutes have been added back in, although the quality of these extra scenes varies. Much of the unearthed treasures were lost or destroyed, leaving archivists to assemble the best bits they could find. The first unearthed scene opens the film as Lt. Joseph Cable gets a lesson on the war from some disaffected pilot flying the young officer to his final duty station. John Kerr’s performance as Lt. Cable is reminiscent of James Dean, a slightly troubled young adult searching for life’s meaning through scowls and dirt kicking. southpacificstillsSurprisingly, the rousing number “Bloody Mary” had suffered from editorial cuts, as can be seen from the newly spliced in bits that now round out Mary’s character, re-created by Juanita Hall, who originated the role on Broadway. Ray Walston, as the entrepreneurial Luther Billis, plays his role with a spot-on crusty sensibility. Billis is a sailor deprived of creature comforts, left to invent his own escapes from reality. Audrey Hepburn and Doris Day were a few of the many leading ladies under consideration for the role of Ensign Nellie Forbush, but it was the spry Mitzi Gaynor that won out in the end. As the wonderfully cockeyed optimist, Gaynor is earnest enough to convince any weathered seaman that she could be right at home on a French plantation in the middle of the South Pacific. Like Nellie’s suitor, Emile De Becque (Rossano Brazzi), she sees this lonely island as a paradise, just as it once was before the tragedies of war invaded its shores. Director Josh Logan reprises his own role as the leader of this production, having also helmed and staged the initial Broadway run in 1949. He remains quite faithful to the play, a fact that becomes clearer upon viewing the extended edition. Shooting on various tropical locations, including Tioman Island in Malaysia and Kaua’i in Hawaii, the lush scenery provides for a magical backdrop. Yet, Logan’s use of color soaked effects and partially blurred shots, to accentuate emotional cues, become tiresome halfway through the film. As do the constant day as night shots. Yet, the convention of shooting evening scenes with a dark filter so as to keep proper lighting was common practice at the time. Where the film surpasses the Broadway production is when Cable and Billis travel to the mystical island of Bali Ha’i so they might attend a native ceremony and mingle with exotic beauties. The few dozen extras, sporting tribal masks and loincloths, come off as characters straight out of Disney’s Jungle Cruise attraction, but they accentuate the tropical nature of an island film. This scene is left to the imagination on stage. The warm honey glow throughout much of the film inhibits it from dwelling on darker themes at work in “South Pacific,” something director Bartlett Sher rightly decided to highlight in the current Broadway revival. Racism runs deep amongst the white-bred Navy folk inhabiting this Polynesian land. De Becque’s mixed race children and Cable’s refusal to marry a dark skinned islander, France Nuyen’s Liat, get mentions in the film, but don’t resonate as they do at Lincoln Center. But, with that being the greatest criticism to direct at this film, there is little if anything to keep this from remaining a true Hollywood classic. Had there been a mystical Bali Ha’i near my base in the Pacific, perhaps the events of September 11th would have driven me to seek escape in its promise of sweet dreams. Instead, I turned to the likes of Hollywood for relief. More specifically Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical. This week’s Blu-Ray release of “South Pacific” is a gleaming pearl that should find a place into every home video collection. Published on BroadwayWorld.com April 1, 2009.

19 thoughts on “South Pacific Shines on Blu-Ray

  1. I am highly surprised that our legal system needed this long to get Mr Shahzad to admit to his crime. I still cannot materializing, It’s scary that I merely lived about three miles from him. It’s a little troubling to recognise that this sort of terrorist act can be proceeding in my home town of Bridgeport. I’m just happy that no one was hurt in the unsuccessful terrorism, if any of these New Yorkers were not so vigilant, New York City could have had an entirely somber feel.

  2. I am highly amazed that our judicial system needed this long force Faisai Shahzad to confess to the times square bombing. I still cannot materializing, In reality, I only lived about four from him. It’s a little worrying to acknowledge that this sort of terrorism can be proceeding in my home backyard in Bridgeport. I’m glad that no one was hurt in the undertaken bombing, if one of these New Yorkers were not so watchful, this all might have had an completely different feeling.

  3. The best way groups are able to connect and work worldwide are conference softwares. i think that market will grow in teh next years extremely.

  4. Health-related coding (at times known as health-related classification) may be the method wherever by descriptions of health care procedures and diagnoses are labeled by typical health-related codes. The codes are derived from a variety of sources together with notes created by medical practitioners, radiology and lab benefits and are utilized by government wellbeing organizations too as insurance coverage corporations. These codes modify often as new understanding is produced. Medical coding courses at healthcare coding universities practice college students to become suitable for medical coding careers.There are health-related billing and coding programs which educate college students in equally locations, as they overlap to some extent so it helps make sense to prepare workers in both equally, especially for work opportunities in smaller health care practices, where both work opportunities could possibly be completed by one particular individual.The “baby-boomer” era is now beginning to retire, causing increased need for health care. This helps make health care careers an exceptionally great selection presently and health-related billing and coding schools are obtainable to provide pertinent vocational training for those seeking careers on this location.

  5. There’s noticeably a bunch to identify about this. I’d love to many thanks for that efforts you have made in writing this good post. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well.Several information about wind power energyThank’s for you advise.

  6. If you’re still on the fence: grab your favorite earphones, head down to a Best Buy and ask to plug them into a Zune then an iPod and see which one sounds better to you, and which interface makes you smile more. Then you’ll know which is right for you.

  7. I know this isn’t precisely on subject, however i’ve a web site using the same program as well and i get troubles with my comments displaying. is there a setting i am lacking? it’s doable you could assist me out? thanx.

  8. I had trouble viewing your website on my mobile visitor. Have you any idea if your website may support mobile browsing? I’ll save this page later to determine on my laptop computer in my house. I really hope you will update this blog more frequently.

  9. Hands down, Apple’s app store wins by a mile. It’s a huge selection of all sorts of apps vs a rather sad selection of a handful for Zune. Microsoft has plans, especially in the realm of games, but I’m not sure I’d want to bet on the future if this aspect is important to you. The iPod is a much better choice in that case.

  10. Nice blog. I was checking continuously this blog and I am impressed! Very helpful info particularly the first part. I care for such info much. I was looking for this particular info for a long time. Thank you and good luck.

  11. This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like ‘Mixview’ that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you’re listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of “neighbors” will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune “Social” is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.