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Saturday, August 15, 2015

South Pacific (1958)

During WWII on an unnamed South Pacific island, a young American nurse (Mitzi Gaynor) from Arkansas falls in love with a transplanted Frenchman (Rossano Brazzi). Also, a young marine lieutenant (John Kerr) falls in love with a native girl (France Nuyen). But both Americans must come to terms with their racial prejudices. I've never been a big fan of Rodgers and Hammerstein's SOUTH PACIFIC. It's probably my least favorite of their hit musicals. The majority of the songs are wonderful, of course but so much of the dialog is awkward and the film's message, while noble, is presented with a heavy hand. The whole thing seems rather ponderous. This isn't restricted to the film, I've similar feelings about it as a stage work. The film is further damaged by director Joshua Logan's use of colored filters through out the film which he intended to show slight changes but end up being irritating instead. Gaynor is a terrific dancer, one of the best, but she doesn't get to strut her stuff here and as an actress and singer, she's merely okay. I watched the original Roadshow presentation which was cut by about 20 to 30 minutes for the general release and while I normally prefer my films uncut, in this case I can understand the need for shears. With Ray Walston, Juanita Hall, Russ Brown and Tom Laughlin.

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