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 »
Harry Connick Jr.,
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Can a girl from Little Rock find happiness with a mature French planter she got to know one enchanted evening away from the military hospital where she is a nurse? Or should she just wash that man out of her hair? Bloody Mary is the philosopher of the island and it's hard to believe she could be the mother of Liat who has captured the heart of Lt. Joseph Cable USMC. While waiting for action in the war in the South Pacific, sailors and nurses put on a musical comedy show. The war gets closer and the saga of Nellie Forbush and Emile de Becque becomes serious drama.Written by
Dale O'Connor <email@example.com>
There are probably more dubbed singing voices in this film than in any other screen version of a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, but the only one which actually receives screen credit is that of Giorgio Tozzi, who dubs the singing voice of Emile de Becque (Rosanno Brazzi). This is because Tozzi was a renowned bass-baritone with the Metropolitan Opera. See more »
The UK cut of the film begins with the first scene of Nellie and Emile at the plantation, and then the first Seabees scene, as was done originally on Broadway. US distributor 20th Century Fox decided to rearrange the two sequences, thus opening the film with "Bloody Mary". See more »
This slush-fest version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's famous musical suffers on the small screen because of its constant use of colour filters during the songs. On a big screen, this looks great, but just looks odd on TV.
This aside, though, this film of 'South Pacific' has much to enjoy. Mitzi Gaynor is a bubbly personality and is clearly enjoying herself as Nellie Forbush, 'washing that man out of her hair' and so on. Rossano Brazzi is charming as Emile (the singing is expertly done by Giorgio Tozzi); we can have a pang of regret that Ezio Pinza was seen to be too old to play the role by the time the film appeared - his work with Mary Martin in the original cast survives in cast recordings - but Brazzi looks the part.
John Kerr is a bit of a wet fish as Lt. Cable, while Juanita Hall as Bloody Mary is excellent, and Ray Walston as Luther, and France Nuyen as Liat, make an impression in smaller roles. The musical numbers are done extremely well - 'Bali Ha'i', 'I'm in Love With a Wonderful Guy', 'Some Enchanted Evening', 'Younger Than Springtime', and 'Happy Talk' and the rest.
Where the film does flag is in the sequences where Emile and Cable go to the island to report on the Japanese invaders. This was handled rather better in the 1990s remake, and also moves along better in the stage version. Here, it clashes a bit with the romantic overtones of the rest of the production.
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