South Pacific (2001 film)

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South Pacific
South Pacific.jpg
DVD cover
Distributed by Buena Vista
Directed by Richard Pearce
Produced by Christine A. Sacani
Written by Oscar Hammerstein II
Joshua Logan
James A. Michener
Lawrence D. Cohen
Starring Glenn Close
Harry Connick, Jr.
Rade Sherbedgia
Natalie Mendoza
Music by Richard Rodgers
Michael Small
Cinematography Stephen F. Windon
Budget $15 million
Country United States
Language English
Original channel American Broadcasting Company
Release date March 26, 2001
Running time 135 minutes

Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific is a made-for-television movie, directed by Richard Pearce in 2001. This ABC production starred Glenn Close, Harry Connick, Jr. and Rade Šerbedžija (billed in U.S. as Rade Sherbedgia). It was broadcast in 2001 and also released on DVD.

Production[edit]

South Pacific was filmed primarily in Australia, with some scenes shot in Moorea, an island close to Tahiti. Sixteen songs are featured in the movie. This version omitted the well-known song "Happy Talk", and cut the even more popular song "Bali Hai" in half. Several new scenes, such as Nellie and Emile's very first meeting at the officer's club, were added, and a new character was created to serve as Nellie's best friend and confidante. The sex scenes between Liat and Lt. Cable were also dealt with more frankly than in the original.

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

The movie, and Close, were praised by the critic for The New York Times, who wrote, "Ms. Close, lean and more mature, hints that a touch of desperation lies in Nellie's cockeyed optimism. 'I'm stuck like a dope with a thing like hope' means one thing when you are in your 20's, something else when you are not." He also noted that the movie "is beautifully produced, better than the stagy 1958 film. ... The other cast members, including Ms. Close, also sing well."[1] The New York Post reviewer wrote that "Notions of racism toward the islanders were glossed over in the 1958 movie, but in tonight's remake, the racial themes are brought to the surface, to the production's advantage ... there's a heightened sense of drama and tension in the remake because the war is closer at hand ... the rewards are great."[2]

The Washington Post reviewer noted:

[M]ost of the songs have been preserved, although, ironically, "Happy Talk" is gone, reportedly because it was deemed offensive – portraying natives of the region as simpleminded sillybillies .... Also removed, whether easily or not, is "My Girl Back Home" .... And yet there are musical highlights that all but leap from the screen, probably the highest being Close's infectious "Wonderful Guy". Cuts made in "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair" for the '58 movie have been restored, and the arrangement includes a bit of Andrews Sistersly harmonizing that works well.... Close is, of course, a better actor on her worst days than Gaynor was on her best, and though she's older than is usual for someone playing nurse Nellie Forbush, she brings radiance, warmth and stature to the part. She also tears merrily into Nellie's numbers.[3]

The film was criticized by some, for example theatre critic and historian John Kenrick[4] because the order of the songs was changed, and also because Rade Sherbedgia, unlike previous Emiles, did not have an operatic singing voice. Playbill reported that "Internet chat room visitors have grumbled that Close is too old for the role of Nellie Forbush, who, in the song, 'A Cock-Eyed Optimist', is described as 'immature and incurably green'", but also that "[co-producer] Cohen said the 'May–December' romance plot point ... has less resonance with audiences today and it was cut. Nellie is ageless, in effect."[5]

In the 2008 Oxford Companion to the American Musical, Thomas Hischak wrote:

South Pacific (ABC-TV 2001) was an odd mixture of faithful Rodgers and Hammerstein and some headstrong changes that give one pause. Glenn Close's Nellie was neither young nor a hick, exuding more sophistication than an Empress. Rade Serbedzija was a short, scruffy, beach bum of an Emile who sang with a tenor voice. Whether this was foolhardy casting or a refreshing interpretation is a matter of opinion.[6]

DVD[edit]

A DVD was released on August 28, 2001. Special features include deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the movie. In 2013, the film was reissued on DVD by Mill Creek Entertainment in a double-feature DVD set including the 1993 TV remake of Gypsy.

Soundtrack[edit]

South Pacific: Original TV Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Richard Rodgers
Released March 20, 2001
Recorded Studio 301, Sydney, Australia
Genre Film/Soundtrack
Label Columbia Records/Sony Music
Producer Michael Gore, Paul Bogaev

A soundtrack from the TV production was released on March 20, 2001.

  1. "Overture"
  2. "There Is Nothing Like a Dame"
  3. "A Cock-Eyed Optimist" - Glenn Close
  4. "Bloody Mary"
  5. "Bali Ha'i"
  6. "Twin Soliloquies" - Glenn Close
  7. "Some Enchanted Evening" - Rade Šerbedžija
  8. "Dites-Moi"
  9. "Younger Than Springtime" - Harry Connick, Jr.
  10. "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair" - Glenn Close, Ilene Graff
  11. Some Enchanted Evening (Reprise) - Glenn Close
  12. "I'm in Love with a Wonderful Guy" - Glenn Close, Ilene Graff
  13. "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught" - Harry Connick Jr.
  14. "This Nearly Was Mine"
  15. "Honey Bun" - Glenn Close, Ilene Graff
  16. "Finale Ultimo" - Glenn Close
  17. "My Girl Back Home" - Glenn Close, Harry Connick Jr.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Salamon, Julie. "Being Corny as Kansas Isn't So Simple Anymore", The New York Times, March 26, 2001, p. 8, Section E
  2. ^ Buckman, Adam. "Bali High - Four-Star Rating For Glenn Close In South Pacific", The New York Post, March 26, 2001, p. 71
  3. ^ Shales, Tom. "South Pacific: Becalmed but Benign", The Washington Post, March 26, 2001, p. C1
  4. ^ Kenrick, John.[1] Musicals101.com
  5. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Glenn Close TV Movie of South Pacific Gets DVD and Video Release". Playbill.com, August 29, 2001
  6. ^ Hischak, Thomas S."'South Pacific' (ABC-TV 2001" The Oxford Companion to the American Musical:Theatre, Film, and Television, Oxford University Press US, 2008, ISBN 0-19-533533-3, p. 701

External links[edit]