During World War II in the South Pacific love is found between a young nurse, Nellie Forbush (Glenn Close) and an older French plantation owner, Emile de Becque (Rade Serbedzija). The war ... See full summary »
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During World War II in the South Pacific love is found between a young nurse, Nellie Forbush (Glenn Close) and an older French plantation owner, Emile de Becque (Rade Serbedzija). The war is tearing them apart. Written by
The original Broadway production of "South Pacific" opened at the Majestic Theater on April 7, 1949, ran for 1925 performances starring Mary Martin as Nellie Forbush and Ezio Pinza as Emile de Becque, won the 1950 Tony Award for the Best Musical, Libretto and Score and won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1950. See more »
The film depicts the military using a Grumman Goose seaplane. The Goose was never used by U.S. forces outside of the U.S. or in any war zone. See more »
Perfectly acceptable remake of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical classic, and a noted improvement over the original.
A long-anticipated remake, albeit made-for-TV, of the beloved Rodgers and Hammerstein Pulitzer Prize-winning musical finally gets things right. It's not perfect by any stretch, but its a vast improvement over the stagy, lumbering 1958 epic.
To its endless credit, this more cohesive version takes generous liberties with the book, punching up the dialogue and throwing in some welcomed new scenes. The result adds dimension and color to many of the leads, especially Nellie and Lt. Cable, allowing them more interaction and making their plights much more interesting. More than a few tugs and tweaks throughout have given some of the sluggish melodramatic sequences a renewed vitality and intensity, while the usually watered-down racial theme is handled with skill, taste and directness.
The actors fill their roles quite admirably. Some may think Glenn Close a bit long-in-the-tooth to be playing the perky Nellie Forbush, but not to worry. She fleshes out her character beautifully, giving the nurse a level of maturity not seen before, without losing any of the vibrancy. Rade Sherbedgia offers a fine, virile account of plantation Emile de Becque, while Harry Connick, Jr. as Lt. Cable benefits the most from the added scenes, pumping a bit more into a normally cardboard role. Lori Tan Chinn puts a delightful spin on her Bloody Mary, making her much more accessible, almost huggable, and Robert Pastorelli perks up the proceedings considerably as Billis.
The on-location filming (Australia, Tahiti) is visually resplendent. The interiors are quite impressive as well. More importantly, each and every song has a freshness and aliveness sorely lacking in the original. The choreography may be simple but its fun, especially Nellie's numbers.
The largest weakness, and its a big one, is the quality and strength of the singing voices. "Some Enchanted Evening," "Younger Than Springtime" and "Bali Ha'i", in particular, are begging for full, rich, soaring interpretations but they are not to be found here...and its a crushing disappointment. Everything else is so fresh and improved that I would have chanced having some of the lead voices dubbed, even Connick's. I was also a bit surprised to find the infectious "Happy Talk" number cut, since it is one of the musical's most popular songs.
All in all, however, this TV musical should please those of us who absolutely cannot tolerate the Mitzi Gaynor/Rossano Brazzi/John Kerr version. And, since they don't make 'em like they used to, I guess this will have to do for quite a long time.
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