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SOUTH PACIFIC: Revisiting the Film 

What do you think of the film version of SOUTH PACIFIC?
A masterpiece! 7%  7%  [ 1 ]
A great film, with some flaws... 67%  67%  [ 10 ]
Indifferent 7%  7%  [ 1 ]
Mediocre... 20%  20%  [ 3 ]
"South Pacific"? Ugh... try "South Pathetic"! 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Total votes : 15

SOUTH PACIFIC: Revisiting the Film 
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Post SOUTH PACIFIC: Revisiting the Film
This week, I watched the film version of South Pacific for the first time in a long while. Overall, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would and it I probably liked it more than I ever have. So I thought I would start a general discussion about the film and see what everyone had to say.

Some things I liked:

1. Mitzi Gaynor. I like her more and more each time I see the film. Yes, there are two scenes (in my opinion) where her acting is perhaps a little weak - when she breaks down during the rehearsal for "Honey Bun" and just after "My Girl Back Home". But she generally does a great job, and even does all own her singing!
2. The locations. I think these are beautiful and really well used throughout the film. It's great when a film actually uses its locations to its advantage, to tell the story and create the world of the film, rather than just as a gimmick.
3. The storytelling. Perhaps a this is about the stage show as well as the film, but I love the way the two stories complement each other so perfectly. They are such well written characters. It's immensely compelling.
4. The score. It's a truly great one, even if the last half hour is a little "plotty". There are some strange little cuts here and there, but the score is served much better here than in the recent television adaptation. And "This Nearly Was Mine" is a beautiful - one of my favourite R&H songs.

Some things I didn't like:

1. The colour filters, which are just distracting and don't enhance the film one bit in my opinion.
2. The singing to the camera in "A Wonderful Guy" and "My Girl Back Home". This is my number one pet hate in movie musicals. I don't think it EVER works, and I just find it frustrating here.
3. I'm not crazy about the casting of John Kerr as Cable, and I don't think Bill Lee is the greatest match as his singing voice. I find his dubbing a bit distracting. It's certainly not as good a match as Emile or Bloody Mary.
4. I'm also not sure I like the shuffling of the scenes at the top of the film. I love the symmetry that opening with "Dites-Moi" would have given to the film, in the way that is does on stage.

Other opinions.....?

Later days
David

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Thu Apr 05, 2007 11:05 pm
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I really like the film alot. I agree with you on John Kerr though and I am particularly annoyed with Bill Lee and John Kerr not sounding a thingl ike each other..its particularly evident right after 'Carefully Taught".


things I love which you didnt mention....

Russ Brown. so perfect as Captain Bracett. what an under rated and forgotten character actor. He is a sheer delight in S.P.

Ray Walston. a true comic master as Billis.

Rosano Brazzi is dead on sexy as Emile. I don't care if he was dubbed.

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Fri Apr 06, 2007 5:40 am
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Post Yes, yes, yes!
Agreed on all three counts!

Later days
David

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Fri Apr 06, 2007 9:01 am
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Wonderful film. I bought it just to re-live old memories.

I agree with both of you on the casting critiques. I wish Hollywood would have used real singers instead of dubbing back in those days.

To me Ray Walston will always be the Luther that I measure other performances against.

One other highlight is the filming location. I love the Island of Kauai ( I visit there regularly because I own a timeshare there). Interestingly enough, one of the hotels on the island (the Radison I think) has a production of SP. I saw it on my birthday a couple of years ago. The cast was mediocre, and the staging was amatuerish, but the show was still fun.

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Fri Jun 29, 2007 2:56 pm
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Post Interview with Mitzi
There's an interview with Mitzi Gaynor on BroadwayWorld where she reminisces about the film. A couple of sweet little anecdotes there....

Later days
David

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Wed Oct 21, 2009 7:33 pm
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Saw the film for the first time, and I've got a lot to say. SP is my favorite score of R&H's 'Big 5' (although my all-time favorite of their scores is Flower Drum Song). Mitzi Gaynor is by far the most beautiful and talented of the leading ladies in the R&H film adapts. And France Nuyen (Liat) is one of the most beautiful actresses I've ever had the pleasure of viewing. Liat is a pretty thankless role, but Nuyen brought so much to it.

I think I'm in the minority here, but I loved Bill Lee's dubbing for Cable. I thought it was far superior to his dubbing for Christopher Plummer in SoM. I can see why Juanita Hall was dubbed for 'Bali Ha'i', but there was no reason why she was dubbed for 'Happy Talk', my favorite song in the show.

I didn't like Ray Walston's performance at all; I've been spoiled by Danny Burstein's Billis in the recent revival. And I disagree with whoever said that "My Girl Back Home" was sung to the camera. I personally think that that was the most beautifully shot song in the film.

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Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:44 pm
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as good as Danny burstien wasi nthe revival.. you cant even compare him to the brilliant Ray Walston who was one of our finest character actors.

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