South Pacific (2001 film)

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South Pacific
South Pacific.jpg
DVD cover
Comedy drama
Based onSouth Pacific by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II
Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener
Screenplay byJoshua Logan
Lawrence D. Cohen
Directed byRichard Pearce
StarringGlenn Close
Harry Connick Jr.
Rade Sherbedgia
Theme music composerRichard Rodgers
Michael Small
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
ProducerChristine A. Sacani
CinematographyStephen F. Windon
EditorLynzee Klingman
Running time129 minutes
DistributorBuena Vista Television
Original networkAmerican Broadcasting Company
Original releaseMarch 26, 2001 (2001-03-26)

South Pacific (also known as Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific) is a 2001 American romantic musical television film based on the 1949 stage musical of the same name, itself an adaptation of James A. Michener's 1947 book Tales of the South Pacific.

Directed by Richard Pearce, the film stars Glenn Close, Harry Connick Jr. and Rade Šerbedžija (credited as Rade Sherbedgia). The screenplay, adapted by Joshua Logan (who directed the previous 1958 film version) and Lawrence D. Cohen, tells the story of a war-torn romance between a young American nurse (Close) and an older French plantation owner (Sherbedgia).

The film premiered on March 26, 2001 on ABC to mixed critical reviews, praising its performances but criticizing the rearranged song order and removal of certain numbers that have been singled out for being politically incorrect.



Principal photography took place primarily in Australia, with some scenes shot in Moorea, an island close to Tahiti.

Several new scenes, such as Nellie and Emile's 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 Cable are also dealt with more frankly in the film than in the original 1949 musical.


Sixteen songs from the musical are featured in the film, although "Happy Talk" was omitted and "Bali Ha'i" was cut in half. Vincent Paterson choreographed the musical numbers.

South Pacific: Original TV Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedMarch 20, 2001
RecordedStudios 301 (Sydney, Australia)
LabelColumbia Records/Sony Music
ProducerMichael Gore, Paul Bogaev

A soundtrack was released on March 20, 2001.

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


Critical reception[edit]

Julie Salamon of The New York Times praised the film and, particularly, Close's performance, writing, "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." She 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 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 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]

There was criticism by some, for example, theatre critic and historian John Kenrick[4] because the order of the songs was changed, and 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]

Home media[edit]

The film was released on DVD on August 28, 2001. Special features include deleted scenes and a behind-the-scenes featurette.

In 2013, it was reissued on DVD by Mill Creek Entertainment in a double-feature set alongside the 1993 TV remake of Gypsy.

See also[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]
  5. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Glenn Close TV Movie of South Pacific Gets DVD and Video Release" Archived 2012-10-20 at the Wayback Machine., 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]