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barrym

south pacific

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why is it that so called "critics" never give South Pacific a good review?

one of my favorite musicals!!

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I don't generally read reviews, so I don't know how the film was reviewed. My own issues with the film all come down to the use of Josh Logan as its director. He felt he had perfection on stage, and refused to change a thing to accommodate the medium of film, for the musical numbers. There is nothing done on film that couldn't (and wasn't) done on the stage. In fact, he works against the medium to make it more like a stage play. The musical numbers are dull. Mitzi Gaynor's direction is equally poor. She sings of being a Cockeyed Optimist, then spends the entire film, moping. Then there Logan's odd penchant of casting Italians to play Frenchman. Add in the horrible color filters, which destroy the gorgeous location photography, and there's a lot not to like. But, it does have things going for it, too. It does have gorgeous location photography (which makes the use of the filters, all the more annoying) and it's based on really solid source material. It has generally good performances from the cast, and it can boast, in my opinion, the greatest orchestrations of any musical film. Plus, when compared to the remake with Glenn Close, it becomes the finest film ever made! Finally, who cares about reviews, anyway. They're meaningless. *South Pacific* was the number 1 moneymaker of 1958, and one of the most successful films, ever. I do think the road show version is better than the edited, general release version.

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> {quote:title=barrym wrote:}{quote}

> why is it that so called "critics" never give South Pacific a good review?

> one of my favorite musicals!!

 

barry,

what _you_ think of the movie is far more important than what others say. I mean, I've never seen it on-stage, but I hear the actual musical -- the stage musical -- is still very highly regarded.

 

Opinions may vary on the 1958 film adaptation, but if you like it as it is, you shouldn't let anything detract from your enjoyment.

 

Since it is one of the first classic movie musicals to be available on blu-ray, I took a look at it recently, and felt that it looked beautiful - even if I, like many others, don't think the color filters were a particularly good idea.

 

And from what I heard in the audio commentary, it was still customary in the late 50s to shoot a lot of widescreen movies as though they were stage productions; they may look awkward on a small TV screen, but I'm told they really drew you in when you watched them in a huge theater screen like they used to have in the movie palaces of the 50s.

 

The other thing to remember, of course, is that by 1958, it still wasn't all that usual to film musicals on distant locations, and so the filmmakers had a harder time because of that than they might have had if they had filmed in a soundstage. (Even On the Town had only partly been filmed on location).

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I agree, Barry!! "South Pacific" is a beautiful film. I saw the current stage p[roduction and I'm seeing it again! I still would have LOVED to have seen Doris Day as Nellie-but Mitzi Gaynor did very well.Her best performance, I think!!

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IA, Doris Day would've been ideal casting as Nelly. Especially singing "I'm In Love With A Wonderful Guy". Was she considered for the part.

 

And yes, Mitzi does do a nice job in the film.

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Doris Day was indeed considered for Nellie, but her crook producer husband wanted $100,000

of the top just for negotitions so Rogers and Hammerstein went to the next girl...

 

.

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> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}

> although the movie was a bit of a bomb, I believe.

 

 

Perhaps I'm misreading what you mean. Are you implying that *South Pacific* is a bomb??? It is one of the most successful screen musicals ever made, and the number 1 film of 1958. It shattered box-office records, and created a few of its own. It is as far away from being a bomb, as is possible to be!

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> {quote:title=finance wrote:}{quote}

> I said "I believe". Well, apparently, I believe wrong. Maybe what I remember is that the critics didn't like it.

 

 

Perhaps. I never pay any attention to critics, so I wouldn't know how it was reviewed. All I know is the film was the highest grossing of 1958, and the soundtrack was the biggest selling of that year. In fact, the album is at Number 4 for most weeks at Number 1 of all-time! Only Harry Belafonte's CALYPSO (3), Michael Jackson's THRILLER (2) and the soundtrack to the film WEST SIDE STORY (1) spent more weeks at Number 1.

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> {quote:title=RainingViolets101 wrote:}{quote}

> What the critics didn't like were the foolish color lenses

> which only served to distract from the story....

 

Even director Logan eventually said he wished he hadn't used those, from what I remember.

 

I certainly do remember the movie being fairly popular in its time, even without looking up the old box-office records.

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Just for the record - South Pacific wasn't a bomb. In fact, on its 67' reissue it managed to gross more box office than on its initial theatrical engagement.

 

The colored lenses are a pain and fairly distracting, but audiences of the day flocked to see the film.

 

I think Mitzi Gaynor and Rossano Brazzi salvage what's left. Very engaging couple. Good O/S chemistry. The rest of the cast does the show proud too. The galvanic score is untouchable, first rate and enduring - no matter the generation.

 

Leon Shamroy's cinematography (sans color filters) is breathtaking in Todd A-O.

 

Overall, I think the static nature of the camera work leaves a somewhat heavy handed impression when viewing the film on television. Ironically, on the big screen you don't get the same feeling. Go figure.

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On stage, "South Pacific" is a glorious stage musical; on-screen, it is less so - due primarily to the annoying color filters, which get in the way of the gorgeous color photography.

 

Mitzi Gaynor was never that successful in the movies - although 20th Century Fox did try hard with her.

 

George Cukor used her best in "Les Girls".

 

Rossano Brazzi leaves me cold - I never understood his sex appeal.

 

Although a very young Rossano Brazzi is engaging in MGM's "Little Women".

 

He does put a big dent in "The Battle of the Villa Fiorita", because you don't understand how Maureen O'Hara could leave her husband Richard Todd for him.

 

John Kerr is a mystery choice - his face is so closed to the camera.

 

And, yet, in MGM's "Gaby", he did give a very nice performance.

 

France Nuyen, Juanita Hall and Ray Walston help the film a great deal.

 

And, of course, there is that first-rate score.

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