277 of 288 people found the following review helpful
A Terrific Adaptation of the Broadway Classic,
This review is from: South Pacific (Widescreen Edition) [VHS] (VHS Tape)I first saw South Pacific when it was released in 1958 at the age of 10, and remember being totally overwhelmed by the orchestrations, performances and photography. Over the years I have regularly heard the film trashed by critics and many members of the public, so I was curious to see how I would respond to it now when I recently bought the video. Well, maybe it's just me, but I found the film as thrilling and beautiful as I did forty years ago. I agree with everyone else that it was a mistake to use those colored filters in many of the sequences, but the film still packs a heck of an emotional whallop, and I think along with The King and I stands out as the most successful of the Rogers and Hammerstein shows put on film. The weakest of the cast is John Kerr, who is somewhat wooden; however, Juanita Hall is magnificent as Bloody Mary (she will never be surpassed in the role she createwd on Braodway), Rossano Brazzi is thoroghly convincing as Emille DeBeque (even if he was dubbed by Giorgio Tozzi), and Mitzi Gaynor gives an unforgettable performance as Nelly Forbrush. Of all of the criticism one hears of South Pacific, to me the most puzzling is the bashing of Mitzi Gaynor, who to me is not only excellent but perfection in the role. I realize a lot of this probably stems from anger that Mary Martin didn't get the role and is basically sour grapes, but the fact is Ms. Martin was too old to be convincing in 1958. The scenes in which Ms. Gaynor struggles with her small-town prejudices are moving and very real, and when Bloody Mary brings Liat to her to find Lieutenant Cable, who has been killed, it breaks one's heart. Anyway, the movie still knocks me out, even if that makes me, as Nelly Forbrush calls herself, a "knucklehead." The incredible photography, gorgeous music, and theme of the need to triumph over bigotry which is still so relevant even today, makes this film a 5-star winner in my book. As trite as it sounds, "They don't make 'em like that anymore!"
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Showing 1-10 of 33 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 5, 2006 1:06:51 PM PST
D. Harris says:
I agree that Mitzi Gaynor is wonderful in this part. Perfect for it, and she performs it beautifully with vitality, talent, and appropriate naivete - very believable and touching. She has been maligned, as was said, because everyone wanted Mary Martin for it; Mary Martin would've been too old, as was said. I also have zero problems with the color filters, that so many people complain about. Overall, I rate it an 8 out of 10, maybe a 9. The overall emotional and musical impact is solid and satisfying. One of my favorite screen adaptations of R&H.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 13, 2006 5:16:42 PM PST
A. McIntyre says:
If you watch the TV scenes from "South Pacific" w/
Martin and Pinza (special feature on the new DVDs), it's easy to see why people preferred Martin. She had a much stronger public personality than Gaynor.
Gaynor is fine, Martin was too old. But it is hard not to think about what might have been.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2006 6:47:41 AM PST
Peter Prainito says:
Mitzi was indeed too old, but Pinza was REALLY too old....he looked like her grandfather. But, the man could sing.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 16, 2006 6:51:27 AM PST
Peter Prainito says:
The color filters were not a problem for me, but the roadshow segments that were inserted (disc 2) without any color restoration were a major problem. Fox should have either restored it, to match the rest of the film, or leave it out.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 25, 2007 5:45:15 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 13, 2008 9:20:49 AM PST
R. L. Pulliam says:
The theatrical version (minus the restoration material) is on DVD 1.
It's an easy fix by not watching DVD 2. For the record, though, I find the roadshow version far superior even with faded material.
Posted on Jan 5, 2008 7:51:01 PM PST
I agree that the scenes relating to John Kerr were poorly done. Modern viewers will have trouble understanding the basis for Nellie's prejudice, but during that time period, no respectable white woman could marry a man who had slept with a non-white woman. With the children, there was no way gloss over it. I am not saying it was right, I am merely explaining the difficulty that Nellie would have faced by marrying him and then trying to live in Arkansas in the 1940's. Great review though.
Posted on Jan 27, 2009 6:40:44 AM PST
Stephen D. Rice says:
I completely agree with this review: I was 12 when I first saw South Pacific with my family....after years of reading how disappointing the film is to various critics, I rented the DVD and, after all these decades, still find the film a powerful drama and musical, with exceptional performances by Mitzi Gaynor and Rossano Brazzi, et al......
Posted on Jul 1, 2009 2:38:08 AM PDT
Elizabeth L. Crain says:
I first saw this at about age 12. At the time my Dad owned the movie theatre and I think I saw the next 3 showings also. I thought Mitzi Gaynor was wonderful. Mary Martin was wonderful, too -- but already too old in the clips from the Broadway production. The real treasure in this DVD set is the "Roadshow" version, which adds back in about 15 minutes of mostly exposition plus several comedic bits that, in my opinion, make it far superior to the theatrical release version. A small difference in running time but a world of difference in the clarity of plot and humorous bits.
Posted on May 6, 2010 7:03:47 PM PDT
I totally agree with the review by the first posting. Before I saw the film, I was aware that it was not favored by most of the critics at the time. After viewing the film, I really cannot agree with the negative review, especially towards Ms. Mitzi Gaynor. I even wondered how could she not be nominated as the best actress category for Oscar Award? Not only she performed the role to its perfection: all the timing and range of emotions are all very real and accurate. I should also add that it is a right casting for Ms. Gaynor to play this role in the first place. To me, she has an innate wholesomeness, goodness and decency which makes sense for her role to fall in love with a French Guy. Such an adventure and such a unconventional decision requires big heart.
In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2010 6:03:06 PM PDT
Tyrone H. Collins says:
Cannot imagine anything better than Gaynor for this part. Martin was never inspiring to me. Gaynor ws the quitessential mid-western gal.