The Rodgers and Hammerstein songs from musical classic South Pacific rank with the best of their prodigious careers. This film adaptation of the unprecedented Broadway smash, directed by its stage director, Joshua Logan, may not have the boisterous energy found on recordings of the renowned stage production starring Mary Martin, but it substitutes lush Hawaiian locations and sumptuous photography.
The story builds two love affairs, one between a midwestern nurse (Mitzi Gaynor) and an older planter (Rossano Brazzi) with children and an ambivalence to the war that encroaches on his paradise, and one between a native girl (FranceNuyen) and a young American sailor (John Kerr).
Although Mary Martin originated the role of South Pacific’s Nellie Forbush on Broadway, when it came time to make the 1958 film Doris Day, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor were considered for the role that eventually went to Mitzi Gaynor.
Songs include “Some Enchanted Evening,” “I’m in Love with a Wonderful Guy,” and “Bali H’ai.”
Academy Award Nominations: 3, including Best Cinematography.
Cast: Mitzi Gaynor, Rossano Brazzi, Ray Walston, John Kerr, France Nuyen, Juanita Hall
Director: Joshua Logan
Producer: Buddy Adler
Director of Photography: Leon Shamroy
Editor: Robert Simpson
Screenwriter: Paul Osborn
Production Designer: Lyle Wheeler
USA / Twentieth Century Fox / 170 minutes / 1958