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South Pacific is a 1958 film adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific, which was based on James A. Michener's Tales of the South Pacific. The film starred Rossano Brazzi and Mitzi Gaynor in the leading roles, with Juanita Hall in the part of Bloody Mary, that she had played in the original stage production.

Production history

Hanalei bay on Kauaimarker, one of the Hawaiian Islands, served as the filming location for the movie, with special effects providing distant views of the fantastic island Bali Ha'i. A second-unit filmed aerial views of Fijian islands while some sources claim footage of Tiomanmarker Island, off Malaysiamarker's south east coast, were also featured, though this seems unlikely given the logistics involved. Location filming provided sweeping shots of tropical island scenes, as well as a memorable sequence in which Billis, having parachuted from a damaged plane, has a boat dropped on him, then comes under a series of attacks, following his fatalistic "Oh, it's going to be one of those days, huh?"

The film includes the use of colored filters during many of the song sequences, which has been a source of criticism for the film. Director Joshua Logan wanted it to be a subtle change, but 20th Century Fox, the company that would distribute the 35mm version, made it an extreme change and since tickets to the film were pre-sold (it was a roadshow attraction), they had no time to correct it.

All of the songs from the stage production were retained for the film. A song entitled My Girl Back Home, sung by Lt. Cable and Nellie, cut from the Broadway show, was added.

Juanita Hall sang in the stage production and took part in the recording of the stage production cast album. However, she had her singing dubbed for the film version by Muriel Smith. Metropolitan Opera star Giorgio Tozzi provided the singing voice for the role of Emile de Becque. John Kerr starred as 2nd Lt. Joseph Cable, USMC and his voice was dubbed by Bill Lee. Ken Clark, who played Stewpot, was dubbed by Thurl Ravenscroft. Thus, Mitzi Gaynor, as well as Ray Walston, a noted Broadway musical actor, were the only principal cast members whose own singing voices were used.


Criticism of the color filters did not prevent the film from topping the box office of 1958. The 65mm Todd-AO cinematography (by Leon Shamroy) was nominated for an Academy Award, as were the music adaptation and the sound. South Pacific won for Best Sound.

The soundtrack album has spent more weeks at Number 1 in the UK album chart than any other album, spending 115 weeks at the top in the late 50s and early 60s. It spent 70 consecutive weeks at the top of the chart and was Number 1 for the whole of 1959.

Originally shown in a nearly three-hour roadshow version, later cut to two-and-a-half hours for general release, the three-hour version, long feared lost, was rediscovered in a 70mm print owned by a collector. This print was screened in Bradford, Englandmarker at the National Museum of Photography, Film, and Televisionmarker on March 14, 2005. When Fox (which by that time owned partial rights to the film, including home video) learned of the print's existence, they took it to the United States to reinstate the fourteen missing minutes and attempt to restore as much of the color as possible. A 2-disc DVD set of both the longer and shorter versions was released in Region 1 on November 7, 2006.

Today, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (through their acquisition of The Samuel Goldwyn Company), owns the U.S. domestic theatrical and television rights, while Fox handles home video and all other underlying rights.

"Some Enchanted Evening" was ranked #28 on the American Film Institute's 100 Years...100 Songs (2004).

On March 31, 2009, South Pacific became the first Rodgers and Hammerstein musical available on high definition Blu-ray Disc.

Song list

Note: The film opens with a three-minute, thirty-second orchestral overture


Awards and nominations

Academy Awards (31st)

Golden Globe Awards (16th)

  • Best Motion Picture - Musical (nominated)
  • Best Motion Picture Actress - Comedy/Musical (Mitzi Gaynor) (nominated)

Notes and references

See also

External links

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