Showing all 15 items. A leading black Broadway performer in her heyday, she was personally chosen by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein to perform the roles she played in South Pacific and Flower Drum Song. In the early 30s, she was a special soloist and assistant director for the Hall Johnson Choir. Inspired as a child by blues legend Bessie Smith, she only recorded one album of blues in her lifetime. But nobody yet has spotted James and Dorothy Michener in their reported cameos as missionaries, not even in the extended version.
Fox's 50th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray of South Pacific is a vibrant digital presentation that stays sharp and at least makes the color tints look intentional; faded prints as with a disastrous reissue and bad video transfers made at least one yellow sky look like Nellie Forbush a la Andres Serrano. Savant saw an experimental 2K video projection of the film in at the Digital Cinema Laboratory at the Warner Pacific Theater in Hollywood, and it was splendid.
Audio fans will want to hear the lossless stereo audio tracks. That's the commentary to go to for a rundown of the history of the play from stage to screen, all the casting details, etc. Savant isn't interested in the Karaoke sing-along menu selection, but the "Songs Only" option gives one the choice of just playing the musical numbers, as on a record album. It would be a potentially pleasing way to watch the film, if the selections weren't so tightly clipped. Now, if there were only a clean recording of the movie's impressive underscore The second disc can boast a couple of big attractions.
The "Road Show" version of the film gives us fifteen expanded minutes of new material that will be an instant draw for the curious, or those who remember the film's original reserved seat run. The footage reinserted is quite faded, making it easy to tell what's 'new' and what is not. Actually, it's not that easy, as some scene extensions replace 'good' footage with the faded material. It is novel in texture and treatment, rich in dramatic substance, and eloquent in song, a musical play to be cherished.
Under Logan's superb direction, the action shifts with constant fluency. The occasional dances appear to be magical improvisations. It is a long and prodigal entertainment, but it seems all too short. The Rodgers music is not his finest, but it fits the mood and pace of South Pacific so felicitously that one does not miss a series of hit tunes.
In the same way the lyrics are part and parcel of a captivating musical unity. It boasts no ballets and no hot hoofing. It has no chorus in the conventional sense. Every one in it plays a part. It is likely to establish a new trend in musicals. Pinza's bass voice is the most beautiful that has been heard on a Broadway stage for an eon or two. He sings Hers is a completely irresistible performance.
When South Pacific opened in London in November , the reviews were mixed. London's Daily Express praised the music but disliked other elements of that show, writing, "We got a 42nd Street Madame Butterfly , the weakest of all the Hammerstein-Rodgers musicals. I have nothing to do but thank Logan, Rodgers and Hammerstein and climb up from my knees, a little cramped from the effort of typing in such an unusual position.
A review asserted: "Many are the knowledgeable and discriminating people for whom Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific , brilliantly co-written and staged by Joshua Logan, was the greatest musical of all.
At its State Theater revival, the show struck many as dated. I have to let people know the war wasn't a musical. People were so eager to obtain tickets that the press wrote about the lengths people had gone to in getting them. The parties who provided the scalpers with the tickets were never identified, and the show ran without interference.
Rodgers became the first composer of musical comedy to win the Pulitzer, as composer George Gershwin had not been recognized for Of Thee I Sing. The late Robert Russell Bennett was also honored that season for "his historic contribution to American musical theatre in the field of orchestrations, as represented on Broadway this season by Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific. Part of the reason why South Pacific is considered a classic is its confrontation of racism. According to professor Philip Beidler , "Rodgers and Hammerstein's attempt to use the Broadway theater to make a courageous statement against racial bigotry in general and institutional racism in the postwar United States in particular" forms part of South Pacific 's legend.
Andrea Most, writing on the "politics of race" in South Pacific , suggests that in the late s, American liberals, such as Rodgers and Hammerstein, turned to the fight for racial equality as a practical means of advancing their progressive views without risking being deemed communists.
That's the resonance. From the early drafts, Hammerstein and Logan made the issue of racial prejudice central to the story.
Hammerstein repeatedly rewrote the Act II backstage scene where Emile, Nellie and Cable confront the question of the Americans' racism. Lovensheimer states that a postwar American audience would have found such onstage sentiments to be offensive.
In the staged version, Emile's expressions are limited to two lines arguing that prejudice is not inborn. At the heart of this scene is Cable's song " You've Got to Be Carefully Taught ", in which Cable realizes the sources of his own racism. Its frank lyrics made it perhaps the most controversial element of the show. When Michener told Hammerstein, he laughed and replied, "That's what the show is about! Judging by the letters that remain among his papers in the Library of Congress , the reaction was mixed.
One correspondent wrote "What can I say to a man who writes, 'You've got to be taught to hate and fear? Now that I know you, I feel that my informants didn't praise you enough.
When the tour of the show reached a racially segregated theatre in Wilmington, Delaware , Rodgers and Hammerstein threatened to cancel the performances there unless seating was integrated, which it was. Two Georgia state legislators, Senator John D. Shepard and Representative David C. Jones, objected to the song, stating that though South Pacific was a fine piece of entertainment, that song "contained an underlying philosophy inspired by Moscow", and explained, "Intermarriage produces half-breeds.
And half-breeds are not conducive to the higher type of society. In the South, we have pure blood lines and we intend to keep it that way. The Northern press had a field day; Hammerstein, when asked for comment, responded that he did not think the legislators were representing their constituents very well, and that he was surprised at the suggestion that anything kind and decent must necessarily originate in Moscow.
In so doing, Nellie fails to live up to the American ideal that "all men are created equal", which Emile had earlier affirmed. This pronouncement, which makes Nellie less sympathetic as a character, was restored for the Lincoln Center production. But how can we love a racist? Nellie Forbush, in her journey from Little Rock, Arkansas, to serving as a Navy nurse and on to the domesticity of the final scene of South Pacific , parallels the experience of many American women of the period.
They entered the workforce during the war, only to find afterwards a societal expectation that they give up their jobs to men, with their best route to financial security being marriage and becoming a housewife.
The male characters in South Pacific are intended to appear conventionally masculine. In the aftermath of World War II, the masculinity of the American soldier was beyond public question. Cable's virility with Liat is made evident to the audience. Although Billis operates a laundry — Nellie particularly praises his pleats — and appears in a grass skirt in the "Thanksgiving Follies", these acts are consistent with his desire for money and are clearly intended to be comic.
His interest in the young women on Bali H'ai establishes his masculinity. Meryle Secrest, in her biography of Rodgers, theorizes that South Pacific marks a transition for the pair "between heroes and heroines who are more or less evenly matched in age and stories about powerful older men and the younger women who are attracted to them".
He believes a different transition took place: that their plots, beginning with South Pacific , involve a woman needing to enter and accept her love interest's world to be successful and accepted herself. He notes that both Oklahoma! Lovensheimer deems Allegro to be a transition, where the attempts of the lead female character to alter her husband Joe's world to suit her ambition lead to the breakup of their marriage.
He argues that the nurse Emily, who goes with Joe in his return to the small town where he was happy, is a forerunner of Nellie, uprooting her life in Chicago for Joe.
Secrest notes that much is overlooked in the rush to have love conquer all in South Pacific , "questions of the long-term survival of a marriage between a sophisticate who read Proust at bedtime and a girl who liked Dinah Shore and did not read anything were raised by Nellie Forbush only to be brushed aside.
As for the interracial complexities of raising two Polynesian children, all such issues were subsumed in the general euphoria of true love.
A mammoth hit, South Pacific sparked huge media and public attention. South Pacific was one of the first shows for which a variety of souvenirs were available: fans could buy South Pacific neckties, or for women, lipstick and scarves. Fake ticket stubs could be purchased for use as status symbols. The cast album, recorded ten days after the show's opening, was an immediate hit.
A Wonderful Guy. Happy Talk. Some Enchanted Evening. My Girl Back Home. This Nearly Was Mine. It has a tentative quality that many quickly assembled concerts tend to have, and it lacks the pace and energy of a cast album of a full stage production. It also features, for better or worse, the kind of famous names that can draw a crowd for a concert in a major hall and a TV broadcast. Jason Danieley is well cast as Lt. Michener 's Tales of the South Pacific.
Bloody Mary. South Pacific soundtrack. Hidden categories: All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from May Pages using infobox song with unknown parameters Articles with hAudio microformats.“South Pacific” is one of the greatest Broadway musicals ever written. It is also one of the most important and influential works of American theater. In its brilliant artistry, the masterpiece of Rodgers and Hammerstein turned a spotlight on the hypocritical, hateful nature of racism. And that is just what Oscar Hammerstein II intended.