‘South Pacific’

(8.29) The catchy tunes and beautiful melodies would be reason enough to revisit this 1958 Rogers & Hammerstein classic, but it is the movie’s nuanced treatment of racism that makes this more than just an entertaining musical. Sadly, the song “You’ve got to be carefully taught” still contains a needed lesson.

Amazingly, the movie only won one Oscar . . . for sound. It was nominated in four other categories, but this was the same year as ‘Gigi,’ another fantastic musical with adult themes, and that movie took home many of the awards.

Directed by Josh Logan, and starring Rossano Brazzi and Mitzi Gaynor, ‘South Pacific’ tells the story of an American woman who falls in love with a Frenchman while stationed as a navy nurse in the South Pacific during World War II. In his largely enthusiastic review in the New York Times, Bosley Crowther does mention the overuse of a certain cinematographic effect,

. . . a photographic method used by Leon Shamroy, camera man, that bathes in changing rainbow hues most of the scenes and settings in which the musical numbers are sung.That is to say, when the sound track cues the performers into songs (which, incidentally, are sung for the most part by people other than those you see on the screen), waves of unnatural mists and colors blow across the scene, providing a sort of polychromatic aura for the various romantic words and melodies.

I don’t really remember any of that. Go here for the ‘South Pacific’ 60th anniversary event details.

2pm, Sunday, August 26

7pm, Wednesday, August 29

Seen here is the soundtrack album cover. The album was an enormous success, reaching No.1 in both the US and UK. In the US, the album stayed at No.1 on the Billboard 200 for seven months, the fourth longest run ever.

IMDb has the running time at 2 hours and 37 minutes.

Providence Place Cinema in the Mall, Francis Street, (directions)

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