Theatre / South Pacific

Some enchanted evening, when you find your true love
When you feel her call you across a crowded room,
Then fly to her side,and make her your own
Or all through your life you may dream all alone!
—"Some Enchanted Evening"

South Pacific is a musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein, originally produced in 1949. It was nominated for ten Tony awards, and won all of them, including the second ever Tony for Best Musical. South Pacific is also the only musical to win Best Production, Best Direction, and all four acting awards at one time.

Nellie Forbush is a Navy nurse from Arkansas serving in the South Pacific during World War II. She has met a local French plantation owner named Emile de Becque. Lieutenant Joe Cable arrives on the island to take part in a spy mission.

Cable tries to get Emile to agree to be his guide for the mission, but Emile will have none of it. Bloody Mary introduces Cable to a beautiful Tonkinese girl named Liat. Cable is enamored, but is shocked to discover that she is Bloody Mary's daughter. Nellie also makes a discovery about Emile that forces her to face her deep seated racial prejudices.

The show has many well known numbers, including "Some Enchanted Evening," "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair," "Younger Than Springtime," "Nothing Like a Dame," "Honey Bun," and "Wonderful Guy."

The musical received a film adaptation in 1958, starring Mitzi Gaynor as Nellie and Rossano Brazzi as Emile. It made more money than any other movie of the year, and eventually became Rodgers' and Hammerstein's first movie available on Blu-Ray Disc.

This musical provides examples of:

The film adaptation provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: The Collector's Edition DVD boasts that it might be Rodgers and Hammerstein's only movie to run longer than the play that inspired it.
  • Bowdlerise: In the play, Bloody Mary calls men "stingy bastards" after they turn down her offers. The movie changes this phrase to "stingy stinker."
  • Epic Movie: Filmed on location in Hawaii, the movie beat Vertigo and Gigi to become the #1 film of 1958. However, several Rodgers and Hammerstein fans regard it as the weakest film adaptation due to garish Mood Lighting (achieved through color filters) and poor pacing.
  • Feet-First Introduction: Liat has one in the General Release / Home Video version.
  • Movie Bonus Song: "My Girl Back Home." The movie also incorporates the Cut Song "Loneliness of Evening," as a spoken poem Emile writes to Nellie.
  • Re Cut: Two versions are known to exist: A roadshow version that runs 172 minutes and a 157-minute general release version. The roadshow version was considered lost until 2005; the 2006 DVD and 2009 Blu-Ray include both the general release and roadshow versions. The version that played in Europe more closely follows the play by showing Nellie's and Emile's first scene together before the song "Bloody Mary."