Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Your Special Island

South Pacific is not just a musical, it is an epic movie. It tackled a host of deep issues; racism, people rediscovering themselves while far from home, the pain and loss of war. 

The 1958 version was perfection in the casting— Mitzi Gaynor as the still-learning Nellie; Rossano Brazie as Emile, as the exotic older man; Ray Walston as Billis, Juanita Hall as Bloody Mary.
The 2001 television version could have been good, except for one big casting glitch: Glenn Close. She completely torpedoed it. While she is a great actress, she just isn't young or cute enough to believably belt out "A Wonderful Guy" or "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair." Reba McEntire would have been a much better pick.

The plot follows a few characters and their internal struggles, and all of them gripping. Like Bloody Mary, who used to work as a plantation hand, and has dreams for a better future for her daughter, but doesn't realize what stands in her way. 

The songs are beautiful, haunting, and frighteningly true, like "You've Got to be Carefully Taught."

You've got to be taught
To hate and fear
You've got to be taught
From year to year
It's got to be drummed
in your dear little ear
You've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be taught
To be afraid
Of people whose eyes
are oddly made
And people whose skin
Is a different shade
You've got to be carefully taught

You've got to be taught
Before it's too late
Before you are 6 or 7 or 8
To hate all the people
your relatives hate
You've got to be carefully taught

For the female who feels the lack of male attention, here is our love song: "There Is Nothin' Like a Dame." 


iTripped said...

I loved the soundtrack from South Pacific, but the color filters that are sprinkled liberally throughout the original film were so distracting. At one point Mitzi Gaynor looks like a singing blueberry! It's funny that my mother remembers watching the movie as a child and thinking how gorgeous the "colors" were. Technology has come a looong way.

Tovah11 said...

That youtube was great.

Gotta love Reba!

Princess Lea said...

iTripped: The colors were bright, cheerful, and a tad psychedelic. Rather ahead of its time. But it's still a classic!

Tovah: Reba is da BOMB. There's more clips on YouTube from that musical evening, or whatever it's called, and it's all South Pacific. You must hear her and Brian Stokes Mitchell sing together. Holy cow.

tesyaa said...

I can't believe I missed your South Pacific post! I love that show so much and took my girls to see it a couple of years ago. My father saw Mary Martin in the original production and my mother saw her in the London production a few years later (they didn't meet for another decade). Anyway... did you know inthe 1958 film, that Juanita Hall played Bloody Mary (as she did in the original Broadway production), but another singer sang "Happy Talk" and she lip-synced it? I think Juanita Hall's singing is better, but for some reason the director of the film didn't like her rendition.

Princess Lea said...

They dubbed her!? Animals.

There are no composers like R&H. They just get everything right.

iTripped said...

If you're a fan of R&H, there's a new production of Cinderella coming to Broadway in Jan and it's supposed to have some new R&H songs (new to Cinderella that is). It's also starring Laura Osnes who is fantastic...

Princess Lea said...

As long as they were actually composed and written by R&H! They are the gold standard!

iTripped said...

Yup, it's gonna be pure Rodger's & Hammerstein: Cinderella on Broadway