South Pacific (1958)

165 or 171 mins | Drama, Musical | March 1958

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HISTORY

The film's title card reads: "Rodgers and Hammerstein present South Pacific ." The picture opens with a three-minute, thirty-second musical overture. An intermission occurs after "Nellie" discovers that "Emile" was previously married to a Polynesian woman. Following the intermission, a musical Entra'acte leading up to the second half of the film is played for two minutes, fifty seconds. The opening credits are followed by the following written acknowledgment: "The producers thank the Department of Defense, the Navy Department, the United States Pacific Fleet, and the Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, for their assistance in bringing this motion picture to the screen." The opening and closing cast credits differ slightly in their order. The opening cast lineup includes a credit for "The Voice of Giorgio Tozzi" [Rossano Brazzi's singing voice]. Tozzi's name does not appear in the end credits, however.
       According to studio publicity materials contained in the film's production file at the AMPAS Library, although the picture was made by Twentieth Century-Fox, it was considered a South Pacific Enterprises, Inc. production, and was copyrighted under that corporation's title. According to the Var review, South Pacific Enterprises, Inc. was a capital gains partnership between the Magna Theatre Corp., Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein, II, Joshua Logan and Leland Hayward. Magna controlled the Todd-AO Process roadshow distribution rights to the picture while Fox released the film in CinemaScope after the twice-a-day special roadshow engagements had run their course. An Oct 1956 HR news item adds that Fox put up $2,000,000 in production costs in return for ten percent of the profits and worldwide distribution rights. The budget for the ... More Less

The film's title card reads: "Rodgers and Hammerstein present South Pacific ." The picture opens with a three-minute, thirty-second musical overture. An intermission occurs after "Nellie" discovers that "Emile" was previously married to a Polynesian woman. Following the intermission, a musical Entra'acte leading up to the second half of the film is played for two minutes, fifty seconds. The opening credits are followed by the following written acknowledgment: "The producers thank the Department of Defense, the Navy Department, the United States Pacific Fleet, and the Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, for their assistance in bringing this motion picture to the screen." The opening and closing cast credits differ slightly in their order. The opening cast lineup includes a credit for "The Voice of Giorgio Tozzi" [Rossano Brazzi's singing voice]. Tozzi's name does not appear in the end credits, however.
       According to studio publicity materials contained in the film's production file at the AMPAS Library, although the picture was made by Twentieth Century-Fox, it was considered a South Pacific Enterprises, Inc. production, and was copyrighted under that corporation's title. According to the Var review, South Pacific Enterprises, Inc. was a capital gains partnership between the Magna Theatre Corp., Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein, II, Joshua Logan and Leland Hayward. Magna controlled the Todd-AO Process roadshow distribution rights to the picture while Fox released the film in CinemaScope after the twice-a-day special roadshow engagements had run their course. An Oct 1956 HR news item adds that Fox put up $2,000,000 in production costs in return for ten percent of the profits and worldwide distribution rights. The budget for the film totaled $5,000,000. In 1983, the Samuel Goldwyn Company acquired the distribution rights for re-release from the Rodgers and Hammerstein estate, according to an Apr 1983 HR news item. The print viewed was the Goldwyn re-release. An Oct 1956 HR news item notes that Charles Boyer, Vittorio De Sica and Fernando Lamas tested for the role of "Emile," and an Apr 1957 HR news item adds that Ed Byrnes auditioned for the role of "Lt. Joseph Cable."
       According to an AmCin article, cinematographer Leon Shamroy used lights and filters to change the color of the film for dramatic emphasis. For example, when Lt. Cable walks back from his initial meeting with "Liat," the color of the screen turns to magenta, and when "Nellie" sings about a canary sky, the sky turns yellow. Location filming on the Hawaiian island of Kauai began on 12 Aug 1957, according to studio publicity materials. In the film's publicity materials contained in the AMPAS Library, producer Buddy Adler added that backgrounds were also shot on the Fiji Islands, and that one day was spent filming a joint Naval-Marine operation on Kauai.
       Juanita Hall also played "Bloody Mary" in the Broadway production. Although Hall sang in the stage production, her singing voice was dubbed by Muriel Smith in the film. The Broadway production starred Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza. Pinza was to reprise the role of "Emile" in the film, but died in May 1957, prior to the start of production. The song "My Girl Back Home," a favorite of Rodgers and Hammerstein's that was not in the Broadway version, was reinstated for the film version. The song was eliminated from the stage version because of the show's length. The picture marked the screen debuts of France Nuyen and Ron Ely. The film was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Cinematography and Musical Scoring, and won an Academy Award for Best Sound. On 26 Mar 2001 ABC broadcast South Pacific , a made-for-television movie based on the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical starring Glenn Close and Harry Connick Jr., directed by Richard Pearce. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Sep 57
p. 562, 581.
American Cinematographer
Apr 58
p. 198.
American Cinematographer
May 58
pp. 294-96, 318-19.
Box Office
24 Mar 1958.
---
Box Office
31 Mar 1958.
---
Daily Variety
20 Mar 58
p. 3.
Film Daily
20 Mar 58
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Oct 56
p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter
23 Oct 56
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Apr 57
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jun 57
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
9 Aug 57
p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter
12 Aug 57
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
6 Sep 57
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Oct 57
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
14 Nov 57
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Mar 58
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Apr 1983.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
29 Mar 58
p. 774.
New York Times
20 Mar 58
p. 33.
Variety
26 Mar 58
p. 6.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Emile's children:
Richard H. Cutting
Fighter pilots:
Pilots in hospital:
Nurses at nurses' beach:
Nurses in Thanksgiving show:
Sailors and Seabees:
Gene Bergmann
Marines and sailors in Thanksgiving show:
Joe Paz
Boar's Tooth Ceremonial Dancers:
Baruas:
Blue Boys:
Drummers or musicians:
Polynesian women:
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d unit dir
2d asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Cam mechanic
Cam mechanic
2d unit cam
Asst cam
Asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
2d asst cam
Prod portraits
Stills
Gaffer
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir illustrator
Cont artist
Matte artist
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
Set dec
Prop master
Prop maker
Prop maker
Prop maker
Lead man
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward mgr
Ward mgr
Ward asst
Ward asst
SOUND
Sd rec supv
Mus rec
Sd asst
Sd system consultant
Boom man
Cable man
Playback op
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec photog eff
Eff man
DANCE
Boar's Tooth Ceremonial number
MAKEUP
Makeup
Makeup artist
Makeup artist
Hair styles
Hair dresser
Hair dresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod assoc
Unit mgr
Todd-AO consultant
Construction coord
Construction foreman
Set specifications
Plasterer
Plasterer
Painter
Painter
Painter
Landscaper
Landscaper
Landscaper
Landscaper
Draperies
Draperies
Dial coach
Scr clerk
Prod mgr
Prod researcher
Prod researcher
Prod researcher
Grip best boy
Grip
Juicer
Juicer
Juicer
Juicer
Juicer
Juicer
Generators
Generators
STAND INS
The voice of [Rossano Brazzi]
Singing voice double for John Kerr
Singing voice double for Juanita Hall
COLOR PERSONNEL
Col consultant
SOURCES
LITERARY
Adapted from the musical South Pacific , book by Oscar Hammerstein, II and Joshua Logan, music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, II, as produced on the stage by Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein, II, Leland Hayward and Joshua Logan (New York, 7 Apr 1949), which was based on the novel Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener (New York, 1947).
SONGS
"Bloody Mary," "Nothing Like a Dame," "Balai Ha'i," "A Cockeyed Optimist," "Twin Soliloquies," "Some Enchanted Evening," "Dites-Moi," "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair," "Wonderful Guy," "Younger Than Springtime," "Happy Talk," "(I'm in Love With) A Wonderful Guy," "Honey Bun," "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught," "My Girl Back Home" and "This Nearly Was Mine," music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, II.
DETAILS
Release Date:
March 1958
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 19 March 1958
Production Date:
12 August--6 October 1957
10 October--14 November 1957
Copyright Claimant:
South Pacific Enterprises, Inc.
Copyright Date:
19 March 1958
Copyright Number:
LP13570
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Color
De Luxe
Widescreen/ratio
Todd-AO; CinemaScope
Lenses/Prints
process lenses by Panavision
Duration(in mins):
165 or 171
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
18638
SYNOPSIS

Sent on a mission to the South Pacific during World War II, Marine lieutenant Joseph Cable catches his first glance of the islands as his plane sails overhead. Meanwhile, on the beach below, Luther Billis, a fast-talking, wise-cracking sailor, tries to sell grass skirts to Bloody Mary, the bawdy trader who controls the concession. Billis is peeved that the island of Balai Ha'i, a treasure trove of beautiful women, souvenir trinkets and the legendary Boar's Tooth Ceremony, is off limits to enlisted men. Upon landing, Joe feels drawn to the nearby, fog-shrouded island while Bloody Mary leers at the young officer. At headquarters, Joe informs Capt. George Brackett, the head of the base, that he has been sent to establish a beachhead on Japanese territory along the coast in order to observe the movements of enemy vessels. To accomplish this, Joe hopes to enlist the aid of Emile de Becque, a mysterious French planter who possesses an intimate knowledge of the area. While Joe is outlining his plans, Emile is entertaining Navy nurse Nellie Forbush. The soulful, disillusioned Emile finds himself attracted to the bubbling, optimistic and younger Nellie. Finally overcoming his reticence, Emile declares his love and proposes, then confides that years earlier, he killed a bully in his hometown in France and was forced to flee to the islands. Aware of Nellie's relationship with Emile, the captain summons her to headquarters to question her about his politics. When they realize that she is unaware of his previous marriage or the children resulting from that union, Joe advises Nellie to forget her Frenchman. When the captain tries to enlist Emile in Joe's ... +


Sent on a mission to the South Pacific during World War II, Marine lieutenant Joseph Cable catches his first glance of the islands as his plane sails overhead. Meanwhile, on the beach below, Luther Billis, a fast-talking, wise-cracking sailor, tries to sell grass skirts to Bloody Mary, the bawdy trader who controls the concession. Billis is peeved that the island of Balai Ha'i, a treasure trove of beautiful women, souvenir trinkets and the legendary Boar's Tooth Ceremony, is off limits to enlisted men. Upon landing, Joe feels drawn to the nearby, fog-shrouded island while Bloody Mary leers at the young officer. At headquarters, Joe informs Capt. George Brackett, the head of the base, that he has been sent to establish a beachhead on Japanese territory along the coast in order to observe the movements of enemy vessels. To accomplish this, Joe hopes to enlist the aid of Emile de Becque, a mysterious French planter who possesses an intimate knowledge of the area. While Joe is outlining his plans, Emile is entertaining Navy nurse Nellie Forbush. The soulful, disillusioned Emile finds himself attracted to the bubbling, optimistic and younger Nellie. Finally overcoming his reticence, Emile declares his love and proposes, then confides that years earlier, he killed a bully in his hometown in France and was forced to flee to the islands. Aware of Nellie's relationship with Emile, the captain summons her to headquarters to question her about his politics. When they realize that she is unaware of his previous marriage or the children resulting from that union, Joe advises Nellie to forget her Frenchman. When the captain tries to enlist Emile in Joe's mission, Emile responds that he has too much to lose and that his experience with the bully has made him leery of becoming involved in causes. To ease Joe's disappointment, the captain suggests that he unwind, and Joe soon finds himself on a boat with Billis bound for Balai Ha'i. As the others watch the Boar's Tooth Ceremony, Bloody Mary introduces Joe to her young daughter Liat, and Joe immediately falls under the exotic girl's spell. Later, when the sound of the bell calls Joe back to his boat, he passionately kisses Liat and leaves in a daze. At Emile's estate, a party in Nellie's honor is ending, and after the guests depart, Emile finally introduces Nellie to his half-Polynesian children. Horrified that Emile was once married to a Polynesian, Nellie makes an excuse and hastily leaves. At this point, the film stops for a brief intermission. Some time later, Joe returns to Balai Ha'i to see Liat, and Bloody Mary mentions that a rich French planter has expressed an interest in marrying her daughter. As a gesture of love, Joe presents Liat with his grandfather's treasured pocket watch, but when he states that he will never be able to marry Liat, Bloody Mary snatches the watch from the girl's hands and returns it to Joe. As Thanksgiving approaches, Nellie, the star and choreographer of the base's Thanksgiving Follies, finds it hard to concentrate on the performance when her personal life is so painful. During a rehearsal, she breaks into tears and requests a transfer. The captain convinces her to reconsider, but when she receives flowers and an endearing note from Emile after the show, she runs from the stage and encounters Joe, who has just recovered from malaria. Recognizing that they are both suffering from lost loves, Joe confides that during his illness, all he could think about was Liat. Joe wonders why he finds himself unable to marry Liat, and Nellie suggests that they both need to return home where they belong. When Emile suddenly appears, Nellie informs him that her inbred bigotry will not allow her to marry him. Joe, in contrast, decides to defy convention and remain on the island with Liat. With nothing left to lose, Emile agrees to join Joe on his mission. After establishing a watch post in the hills, Joe and Emile begin to radio back information about the enemy position. Two weeks later, U.S. warplanes, guided by Joe and Emile's invaluable reports, have successfully driven back the Japanese. Concerned about Emile's safety, Nellie eagerly listens to his broadcasts, and when she learns that Joe has been killed, she realizes that she still loves Emile and prays for his safe return. For solace, Nellie goes to Emile's children, and as she sings one of their favorite French songs, Emile returns and they tenderly join hands. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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