AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
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South Pacific
Director: Joshua Logan (Dir)
Release Date:   Mar 1958
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 19 Mar 1958
Production Date:   12 Aug--6 Oct 1957; 10 Oct--14 Nov 1957
Duration (in mins):   165 or 171
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Cast:   Rossano Brazzi (Emile de Becque)  
    Mitzi Gaynor (Ensign Nellie Forbush, USN)  
    John Kerr (Lt. Joseph Cable, USMC)  
    Ray Walston (Luther Billis)  
    Juanita Hall (Bloody Mary)  
    France Nuyen (Liat)  
    Russ Brown (Capt. [George] Brackett, USN)  
    Floyd Simmons (Commander Bill Harbison, USN)  
    Tom Laughlin (Lt. Buzz Adams)  
    Jack Mullaney (The professor)  
    Ken Clark (Stewpot)  
  Emile's children: Candace Lee (Ngana)  
    Warren Hsieh (Jerome)  
    France Kahele (Henry, Emile's servant)  
    Robert Jacobs (1st communications man)  
    John Gabriel (2d communications man)  
    Richard Harrison (Co-pilot)  
    Ron Ely (Navigator)  
    Steve Wiland (Seabee dancer)  
    Richard H. Cutting (Admiral Kester)  
    Joe Bailey (U.S. Commander)  
  Fighter pilots: Buck Class    
    Richard Kiser    
  Pilots in hospital: Linc Foster    
    Doug McClure    
    Stephen Ferry    
  Nurses at nurses' beach: Joan Baker    
    Diane Reid    
    Phyllis Butcher    
    Dian Goodman    
    Diane DuBois    
    Anna James    
    Karen Gallant    
    Joyce Kramer    
    Barbara Cole    
    Mary Bishop    
    May Fewell    
    Beverly Johnson    
    Jane Lucas    
    Janet Hanrahan    
    Helen Patridge    
    Barbara Hesser    
    Marlene Lizzio    
    Muffett Webb    
    Mary Jo Flanders    
    Debbie Wilcox    
  Nurses in Thanksgiving show: Faye Antaky    
    Donna Pouget    
    Dorothy Abbott    
    Pat Volasko    
    Jan Haller    
    Beverly Adland    
    Bonnie Lene    
    Jonnie Paris    
    Diane Myles    
    Barbara Donaldson    
    Ila McAvoy    
    Joanne Jokes    
    Lorri Thomas    
    Darlene Engle    
    Kay Tapscott    
    Evelyn Ford    
    Betty Bunch    
    Sue Logan    
  Sailors and Seabees: Dan Wallace    
    Karl Heyer    
    Jim De Closs    
    Mike Vincent    
    Jim Stacy    
    Donald Mundell    
    Alvin Arnold    
    Mark Pinkston    
    Gene Bergmann    
    Velton Parker    
    John Chasey    
    Lee Thomas    
    Carl Esser    
    Joseph Schlichter    
    Jim Ganley    
    Richard Smith    
    Murray Gaby    
    Robert Nielson    
    William Glisson    
    Hadley Gray    
    George Hooper    
    John Caler    
    Charles Joyner    
    Morris Harmell    
    Donald Lane    
    Donald Nobles    
    Tom Moore    
    Mike Salamunovich    
  Marines and sailors in Thanksgiving show: Durwood Bloomgren    
    Charles Lunard    
    Tex Brodus    
    Joe Paz    
    Bob Calder    
    Ed Searles    
    Roy Damron    
    Clark Lee    
  Boar's Tooth Ceremonial Dancers: Archie Savage (Chief)  
    Galvan DeLeon (Sub chief)  
    Bob Destine (Whip man)  
    Sidney Hurston (Birdman)  
    Leroy Hamilton (Birdman)  
    James Truitt (Ashman)  
    Clyde Webb (Ashman)  
    Steve Pappich (Ashman)  
    Victor Upshaw (Fire tender)  
    Nat Bush (Fire tender)  
    Garland Thompson (Fire tender)  
    Ralph Weaver (Fire tender)  
  Baruas: James Field    
    William Washington    
    Marco Lopez    
    Charles Carter    
    Alex Young    
    Ray Mendez    
    George Hall    
    Richard Domasin    
    James Malcolm    
    Maaka Nua    
    Johnny Morgan    
    Tonu Nua    
    Jack Williams    
    Selu Nua    
    Andrew Robinson    
    Kiki Nua    
  Blue Boys: Kirk Boone    
    Walter Davis    
    Wesley Gale    
    Don Marshall    
    Clarence Landry    
    David Walker    
    Andrew Isaacs    
    Harold Walker    
    Walter Smith    
    Charles Mohr    
  Drummers or musicians: George Davis    
    Santiago Mos    
    Kenneth Walker    
    Gregory Christmas    
    Bill Ornelles    
    Gary Christmas    
    Freddy Baker    
    Gene Fontaine    
    James Green    
    Charles R. Rogers    
    Don Martin    
  Polynesian women: Anita Dano    
    Ann Darris    
    Yvonne De Lavallade    
    Joan Fontaine    
    Lemmana Guerin    
    Paulette Easley    
    Telu Mansfield    
    Claire Alcantara    
    Vicki Grozco    
    Misaye Meyer    
    Bobbi Coté    
    Mimi Dillard    

Summary: Sent on a mission to the South Pacific during World War II, Marine lieutenant Joseph Cable catches his first glance of the islands as his plane sails overhead. Meanwhile, on the beach below, Luther Billis, a fast-talking, wise-cracking sailor, tries to sell grass skirts to Bloody Mary, the bawdy trader who controls the concession. Billis is peeved that the island of Balai Ha'i, a treasure trove of beautiful women, souvenir trinkets and the legendary Boar's Tooth Ceremony, is off limits to enlisted men. Upon landing, Joe feels drawn to the nearby, fog-shrouded island while Bloody Mary leers at the young officer. At headquarters, Joe informs Capt. George Brackett, the head of the base, that he has been sent to establish a beachhead on Japanese territory along the coast in order to observe the movements of enemy vessels. To accomplish this, Joe hopes to enlist the aid of Emile de Becque, a mysterious French planter who possesses an intimate knowledge of the area. While Joe is outlining his plans, Emile is entertaining Navy nurse Nellie Forbush. The soulful, disillusioned Emile finds himself attracted to the bubbling, optimistic and younger Nellie. Finally overcoming his reticence, Emile declares his love and proposes, then confides that years earlier, he killed a bully in his hometown in France and was forced to flee to the islands. Aware of Nellie's relationship with Emile, the captain summons her to headquarters to question her about his politics. When they realize that she is unaware of his previous marriage or the children resulting from that union, Joe advises Nellie to forget her Frenchman. When the captain tries to enlist Emile in Joe's mission, Emile responds that he has too much to lose and that his experience with the bully has made him leery of becoming involved in causes. To ease Joe's disappointment, the captain suggests that he unwind, and Joe soon finds himself on a boat with Billis bound for Balai Ha'i. As the others watch the Boar's Tooth Ceremony, Bloody Mary introduces Joe to her young daughter Liat, and Joe immediately falls under the exotic girl's spell. Later, when the sound of the bell calls Joe back to his boat, he passionately kisses Liat and leaves in a daze. At Emile's estate, a party in Nellie's honor is ending, and after the guests depart, Emile finally introduces Nellie to his half-Polynesian children. Horrified that Emile was once married to a Polynesian, Nellie makes an excuse and hastily leaves. At this point, the film stops for a brief intermission. Some time later, Joe returns to Balai Ha'i to see Liat, and Bloody Mary mentions that a rich French planter has expressed an interest in marrying her daughter. As a gesture of love, Joe presents Liat with his grandfather's treasured pocket watch, but when he states that he will never be able to marry Liat, Bloody Mary snatches the watch from the girl's hands and returns it to Joe. As Thanksgiving approaches, Nellie, the star and choreographer of the base's Thanksgiving Follies, finds it hard to concentrate on the performance when her personal life is so painful. During a rehearsal, she breaks into tears and requests a transfer. The captain convinces her to reconsider, but when she receives flowers and an endearing note from Emile after the show, she runs from the stage and encounters Joe, who has just recovered from malaria. Recognizing that they are both suffering from lost loves, Joe confides that during his illness, all he could think about was Liat. Joe wonders why he finds himself unable to marry Liat, and Nellie suggests that they both need to return home where they belong. When Emile suddenly appears, Nellie informs him that her inbred bigotry will not allow her to marry him. Joe, in contrast, decides to defy convention and remain on the island with Liat. With nothing left to lose, Emile agrees to join Joe on his mission. After establishing a watch post in the hills, Joe and Emile begin to radio back information about the enemy position. Two weeks later, U.S. warplanes, guided by Joe and Emile's invaluable reports, have successfully driven back the Japanese. Concerned about Emile's safety, Nellie eagerly listens to his broadcasts, and when she learns that Joe has been killed, she realizes that she still loves Emile and prays for his safe return. For solace, Nellie goes to Emile's children, and as she sings one of their favorite French songs, Emile returns and they tenderly join hands. 

Production Company: Magna Theatre Corp.  
  Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
  South Pacific Enterprises, Inc.  
Distribution Company: Magna Theatre Corp.  
  Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp.  
Director: Joshua Logan (Dir)
  Ben Kadish (Asst dir)
  Ray Kellogg (2d unit dir)
  Morris Harmell (2d asst dir)
  Mike Salamunovich (2d asst dir)
Producer: Buddy Adler (Prod)
Writer: Paul Osborn (Scr)
Photography: Leon Shamroy (Dir of photog)
  Stanley Cortez (Cam)
  Al Lebovitz (Cam op)
  Ken Williams (Cam op)
  Grover Laube (Cam mechanic)
  Bill Schneider (Cam mechanic)
  Paul Lockwood (2d unit cam)
  Irving Rosenberg (Asst cam)
  Hugh Crawford (Asst cam)
  Al Baalas (2d asst cam)
  Bill Cronjager (2d asst cam)
  Bill Jurgenson (2d asst cam)
  Arthur Gerstle (2d asst cam)
  Al Baerthlein (2d asst cam)
  Bert Kershner (2d asst cam)
  Frank Powolny (Prod portraits)
  James Mitchell (Stills)
  Gaston Longet (Stills)
  Fred Hall (Gaffer)
Art Direction: Lyle R. Wheeler (Art dir)
  John De Cuir (Art dir)
  Dale Hennesy (Art dir illustrator)
  Ed Graves (Cont artist)
  Emil Kosa Jr. (Matte artist)
Film Editor: Robert Simpson (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Walter M. Scott (Set dec)
  Paul S. Fox (Set dec)
  Ed Jones (Prop master)
  Don Nobles (Prop maker)
  Paul Skelton (Prop maker)
  Walter De Hart (Prop maker)
  Bob McLaughlin (Props)
  Wayne Smothers (Props)
  Sid Greenwood (Lead man)
Costumes: Dorothy Jeakins (Cost des)
  Reeder Boss (Ward mgr)
  Norma Brown (Ward mgr)
  Mickey Sherrard (Ward asst)
  Dale Henderson (Ward asst)
Music: Alfred Newman (Mus supv and cond)
  Ken Darby (Assoc)
  Edward B. Powell (Orch)
  Bernard Mayers (Orch)
  Pete King (Orch)
  Robert Russell Bennett (Orch)
  George Adams (Mus ed)
  Robert Mayer (Mus ed)
Sound: Fred Hynes (Sd rec supv)
  Murray Spivack (Mus rec)
  Joseph Kane (Sd rec)
  Newt Woltz (Sd system consultant)
  Jack Rixey (Sd asst)
  Orik Barrett (Boom man)
  Jack Woltz (Cable man)
  Harold Bavaird (Playback op)
Special Effects: L. B. Abbott (Spec photog eff)
  Bill Middlestat (Eff man)
Dance: LeRoy Prinz (Boar's Tooth Ceremonial number)
Make Up: Ben Nye (Makeup)
  Allan Snyder (Makeup artist)
  Bill Buell (Makeup artist)
  Bunny Gardel (Body makeup)
  Helen Turpin (Hair styles)
  Marie Walter (Hair dresser)
  Buddy King (Hair dresser)
Production Misc: William Reynolds (Prod assoc)
  Eric Stacey (Unit mgr)
  Schuyler Sanford (Todd-AO consultant)
  Walter Ledgerwood (Construction coord)
  Loren Woods (Construction foreman)
  Lt. Commander J. N. Williams Jr. (Tech adv)
  Capt. W. E. Starbuck (Tech adv)
  George Dudley (Set specifications)
  James Stephens (Plasterer)
  Robert Thompson (Plasterer)
  Harvey Jackson (Painter)
  Joe Krutak (Painter)
  John Lowess (Painter)
  George Novak (Landscaper)
  Peter Rea (Landscaper)
  Fred Lutz (Landscaper)
  Joe Fisher (Landscaper)
  James Cane (Draperies)
  Charles Long (Draperies)
  Joseph Curtis (Dial coach)
  Marshall Wolins (Scr clerk)
  Eric Stacey (Prod mgr)
  Frances Richardson (Prod researcher)
  Sonia Wolfson (Prod researcher)
  Katherine Lambert (Prod researcher)
  Lee Crawford (Pub)
  Leo McCreary (Key grip)
  Frank McCardle (Grip best boy)
  Delmer Blair (Grip)
  Lou Pazzelli (Grip)
  Richard Cameron (Grip)
  Eric Ericson (Grip)
  W. Fitchman (Grip)
  Frank Gilley (Grip)
  W. A. Machado (Grip)
  John Murray (Grip)
  Al Parker (Grip)
  Fred Richter (Grip)
  Clyde Taylor (Elec)
  Bob Henderson (Best boy)
  Jack Brown (Juicer)
  Leo Davis (Juicer)
  Sam Fisher (Juicer)
  Ted Husserl (Juicer)
  Grover Jones (Juicer)
  Fred Kuhnau (Juicer)
  Charles Rosebrook (Juicer)
  Hank Vadare (Generators)
  Bob Smith (Generators)
Stand In: Giorgio Tozzi (The voice of [Rossano Brazzi])
  Bill Lee (Singing voice double for John Kerr)
  Muriel Smith (Singing voice double for Juanita Hall)
Color Personnel: Leonard Doss (Col consultant)
Country: United States
Language: English

Music:
Songs: "Bloody Mary," "Nothing Like a Dame," "Balai Ha'i," "A Cockeyed Optimist," "Twin Soliloquies," "Some Enchanted Evening," "Dites-Moi," "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair," "Wonderful Guy," "Younger Than Springtime," "Happy Talk," "(I'm in Love With) A Wonderful Guy," "Honey Bun," "You've Got to Be Carefully Taught," "My Girl Back Home" and "This Nearly Was Mine," music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, II.
Composer: Oscar Hammerstein II
  Richard Rodgers
Source Text: Adapted from the musical South Pacific , book by Oscar Hammerstein, II and Joshua Logan, music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, II, as produced on the stage by Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein, II, Leland Hayward and Joshua Logan (New York, 7 Apr 1949), which was based on the novel Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener (New York, 1947).
Authors: James A. Michener
  Leland Hayward
  Oscar Hammerstein II
  Joshua Logan
  Richard Rodgers

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
South Pacific Enterprises, Inc. 19/3/1958 dd/mm/yyyy LP13570

PCA NO: 18638
Physical Properties: Sd: Westrex Recording System
  col: De Luxe
  Widescreen/ratio: Todd-AO; CinemaScope
  Lenses/Prints: process lenses by Panavision

 
Genre: Drama
  Musical
 
Subjects (Major): Bigotry
  Marriage--Mixed
  Polynesians
  South Pacific
  World War II
 
Subjects (Minor): Children
  French
  Half-castes
  Japanese
  Mothers and daughters
  Nurses
  Plantation owners
  Self-sacrifice
  Thanksgiving Day
  Traders
  United States. Navy

Note: The film's title card reads: "Rodgers and Hammerstein present South Pacific ." The picture opens with a three-minute, thirty-second musical overture. An intermission occurs after "Nellie" discovers that "Emile" was previously married to a Polynesian woman. Following the intermission, a musical Entra'acte leading up to the second half of the film is played for two minutes, fifty seconds. The opening credits are followed by the following written acknowledgment: "The producers thank the Department of Defense, the Navy Department, the United States Pacific Fleet, and the Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, for their assistance in bringing this motion picture to the screen." The opening and closing cast credits differ slightly in their order. The opening cast lineup includes a credit for "The Voice of Giorgio Tozzi" [Rossano Brazzi's singing voice]. Tozzi's name does not appear in the end credits, however.
       According to studio publicity materials contained in the film's production file at the AMPAS Library, although the picture was made by Twentieth Century-Fox, it was considered a South Pacific Enterprises, Inc. production, and was copyrighted under that corporation's title. According to the Var review, South Pacific Enterprises, Inc. was a capital gains partnership between the Magna Theatre Corp., Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein, II, Joshua Logan and Leland Hayward. Magna controlled the Todd-AO Process roadshow distribution rights to the picture while Fox released the film in CinemaScope after the twice-a-day special roadshow engagements had run their course. An Oct 1956 HR news item adds that Fox put up $2,000,000 in production costs in return for ten percent of the profits and worldwide distribution rights. The budget for the film totaled $5,000,000. In 1983, the Samuel Goldwyn Company acquired the distribution rights for re-release from the Rodgers and Hammerstein estate, according to an Apr 1983 HR news item. The print viewed was the Goldwyn re-release. An Oct 1956 HR news item notes that Charles Boyer, Vittorio De Sica and Fernando Lamas tested for the role of "Emile," and an Apr 1957 HR news item adds that Ed Byrnes auditioned for the role of "Lt. Joseph Cable."
       According to an AmCin article, cinematographer Leon Shamroy used lights and filters to change the color of the film for dramatic emphasis. For example, when Lt. Cable walks back from his initial meeting with "Liat," the color of the screen turns to magenta, and when "Nellie" sings about a canary sky, the sky turns yellow. Location filming on the Hawaiian island of Kauai began on 12 Aug 1957, according to studio publicity materials. In the film's publicity materials contained in the AMPAS Library, producer Buddy Adler added that backgrounds were also shot on the Fiji Islands, and that one day was spent filming a joint Naval-Marine operation on Kauai.
       Juanita Hall also played "Bloody Mary" in the Broadway production. Although Hall sang in the stage production, her singing voice was dubbed by Muriel Smith in the film. The Broadway production starred Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza. Pinza was to reprise the role of "Emile" in the film, but died in May 1957, prior to the start of production. The song "My Girl Back Home," a favorite of Rodgers and Hammerstein's that was not in the Broadway version, was reinstated for the film version. The song was eliminated from the stage version because of the show's length. The picture marked the screen debuts of France Nuyen and Ron Ely. The film was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Cinematography and Musical Scoring, and won an Academy Award for Best Sound. On 26 Mar 2001 ABC broadcast South Pacific , a made-for-television movie based on the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical starring Glenn Close and Harry Connick Jr., directed by Richard Pearce.  

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
American Cinematographer   Sep 57   p. 562, 581.
American Cinematographer   Apr 58   p. 198.
American Cinematographer   May 58   pp. 294-96, 318-19.
Box Office   24 Mar 1958.   
Box Office   31 Mar 1958.   
Daily Variety   20 Mar 58   p. 3.
Film Daily   20 Mar 58   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   16 Oct 56   p. 14.
Hollywood Reporter   23 Oct 56   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   22 Apr 57   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   28 Jun 57   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   9 Aug 57   p. 15.
Hollywood Reporter   12 Aug 57   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   6 Sep 57   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   17 Oct 57   p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter   14 Nov 57   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   20 Mar 58   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   7 Apr 1983.   
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   29 Mar 58   p. 774.
New York Times   20 Mar 58   p. 33.
Variety   26 Mar 58   p. 6.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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