68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
on 22 September 2006
At last this Rodgers & Hammerstein classic musical is available
in a 2 disc special edition.
This is a vast improvement over the rather savagely cut versions that have been available previously.
My only gripe is the fact the wonderful stills that were shown on the old DVD whilst the overture and intermission music were played are missing on this new DVD version.
That said, it is a small sacrifice as both sound and picture have been beautifuly restored.
Also included on disc 2 is the full roadshow version of the film, but this does only have a stereo sound track rather than the 5.1 on the cinema version on disc 1.
Packed full of extras this set is realy a "must have" for any Rodgers & Hammerstein Fan, and whilst we cant have the Tod-Ao HD on DVD Yet, We can get the wonderful surround sound that made this film so special for me when I first went to see it in London's west end, in the late 1950's
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 20 July 2009
This disc works in UK and is a dramatic improvement on the old DVD version. This is a must have disc for all R&H junkies.I even like the colour toned scenes now, which must mean something.Sound quality is as good as the picture by the way.
44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on 22 February 2006
At last this Rodgers & Hammerstein classic musical is to be available in a 2 disc special edition set!!! which should be a vast improvement over the rather savagely cut 'short' version that we have been used to.
Ted Chapin, who is president of The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organisation, should give some interesting insights into the making of this classic musical, based on 1949 Broadway Production, with Ezio Pinza & Mary Martin, which is brilliantly photographed in TOOD-AO and Technicolor, and its oscar winning sound.
It contains one of the best scores that Rodgers & Hammerstein ever wrote : 'A Cockeyed Optimist', 'Twin Solioquies' 'Some Enchanted Evening', 'Bloody Mary', There Is Nothin' Like A Dame', 'Bali Ha'i', 'I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair', 'A Wonderful Guy', 'Younger Than Springtime', 'Happy Talk', 'Honey Bun', 'Carefully Taught', and 'This Nearly Was Mine'. It also features the song 'My Girl Back Home', which was cut from the original stage production because of timing issues, and which director Joshua Logan wanted to re-instate into the film because he and Rodgers & Hammerstein liked it so much.
Based on James Michener's collection of short stories his 1947 Pulitzer prize winning 'Tales Of The South Pacific' Rodgers & Hammerstein with Logan who co-wrote the book used basically two of Michener's stories Fo' Dolla' and Our Heroine as the stories for the musical which tell of the tragic love affair between the young marine Lt Joseph Cable and the young native girl Liat, Logan initially, wanted to stop there, but Rodgers & Hammerstein, thinking it smacked too much of Madame Butterfly, rather brilliantly brought in the story of the young and naive American navy nurse Ensign Nellie Forbush, and her romance with the ex-patriot French Planation owner Emile De Becque, and had the two love stories running side by side, on a small island habitation in 1943 during the Pacific war, full of comic and colourful characters including the Seabee Luther Billis played by Damn Yankees star Ray Walston. Juanita Hall repeated her marvellous witch like portrayal of Bloody Mary which she had created on the Broadway stage in 1949, although Richard Rodgers, was unhappy about the quality of her singing voice by 1957, so her vocals were dubbed by the original London Bloody Mary, Muriel Smith.
Ezio Pinza was to have recreated his original role of Emile De Becque for the film , but he died in 1957 ( Had he not done so it has been revealed now for certain that he and Martin would have re-created the parts they played on Broadway for the screen), so the part went to the dashing and romantic Rossano Brazzi with the singing voice of Giorgio Tozzi. With the loss of Ezio Pinza went Mary Martin, so the part of Nellie ,coveted by Doris Day, went to the charming Mitzi Gaynor (There's No Business, Like show Business), Pinza's death gave Gaynor the part , with John Kerr (Tea & Sympathy) and France Nuyen (later in the series Hawaii Five-0) as the young lovers Cable & Liat.
This is one DVD release that I cant wait for!!!!
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 12 April 2011
Like so many others here, I saw "South Pacific" when it opened in 1958 in 70 mm. "roadshow" engagements including the Dominion Theatre in London where it ran continuously for a staggering four and a half years and created a record which remains to this day. The Dominion was an 1,800+ seater and not even "The Sound of Music" came close at the same venue some years later. Once released to more ordinary cinemas in CinemaScope - often with specially installed stereophonic sound systems, the film knew no bounds and records fell here, there and everywhere. It has returned to cinemas many times (including the Dominion and Astoria in London). Distribution and exhibition patterns have changed dramatically since then and given the generally smaller cinemas of today and the speed at which films become available for home viewing, the film's record run will never be broken which is fitting as the creative and technical elements of "South Pacific" culminate in what must be the zenith of location-shot film musicals.
I don't like all film musicals by any means but this one is, for me, definitive and casts a very long shadow. For the film to have been painstakingly restored AND painstakingly transferred to Blu-ray is richly deserved. The high quality of the 70 mm. stock used to shoot the film provided a negative on which the restorers worked miracles.
I project Blu-ray discs and to have a perfect-ratio, ten foot wide, gorgeously crisp and beautifully coloured image on the screen with terrific sound has given me a chunk of cinema entertainment at its ultimate best. Oh and the colour filters...well, a hot topic from day one when Leon Shamroy decided to use them for the more romantic sequences and Joshua Logan wasn't convinced - even Rodgers and Hammerstein held opposing views! As a boy of nine, I just accepted their use and now they are part of the charm for me. We accept some amazing and often unreal lighting on stage so why not on film? Amazingly, I believe Leon Shamroy manually passed them in front of the huge camera lens and this would account for the slight unsteadiness when the colour changes across the screen during the singing of "Bali Hai" and later when amber changing to blue indicates evening falling on the island while Cable and Liat are meeting for the first time. The gelatine composition filters are the reason why complete clarity of the image during these short sequences has never been and never will be authentically achieved.
If I can take one film with me into my pyramid, it will be "South Pacific" - on Blu-ray.
50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on 21 July 2009
I remember as a teenager seeing South Pacific screened in Todd-AO (70mm film) at the Dominion in London. and I wondered what justice my High-def projector, thrown on to a home 12ft diagonal screen, would do for my nostalgic memories of it.
Already in possession of a standard DVD copy which I thought quite good, I was a bit nervous about ordering an American Bluray version, as I was not sure if it would be playable on a UK Play Station 3. Well it arrived yesterday and I tried it out immediately.
And wow, the presentation brought tears to my eyes. As I watch from a relatively close distance (about 5 metres) the super size projected BluRay image, brings back the original memories of TODD-AO with very sharp images, outstanding sound and vibrant colour. However one scene is not quite up to scratch, particularly the Bloody Mary rendition of Bali-Hai. (The original film used colour filters and blurring of the edges, for setting some of the songs, because, as I once read, it was felt that the huge TODD-AO screen would reduce audience emotional participation).
Nevertheless apart from one scene, most of the rest of the film compensates, and I can honestly say, I have never seen such superb clarity on screen, which feels a bit like Imax in my living room. Yes it is better than standard cinema. Thank you 20th Century Fox for the wonderful film transfer; I look forward to similar treatment of other musicals like The Sound of Music, King and I, and West Side Story.
I have also ordered copies of the American Bluray versions of An American in Paris and Gigi, and I just cant wait for them.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 1 September 2010
I can clearly remember seeing South Pacific at the Dominion Theatre in Tottenam Court Road. The movie was introduced by a short film which boasted the advantages of ToddAO. The camera had been mounted on a speeding vehicle which crashes and the screen exploded into the glorious opening sequence of South Pacific. What excitement for a young child on a rare visit to the West End of London!
A similar excitement awaits everyone who purchases South Pacific in Blu-ray. Both sound and video are superb and the film has the added attraction of the full overture and music during the intermission. There are also a number of very worthwhile extras on this disc as well as the longer 'road show' version of the film, albeit that this is not as good quality as the theatrical version. As far as I am aware the Blu-ray copy is region free. I bought my version as an import from the USA because I couldn't wait for the UK release.
I declare my bias towards these wonderfully lavish musicals of yesterday. South Pacific is up there with the best, notwithstanding some old-fashioned racial overtones. Don't let this detract from some of the best music that Richard Rodgers ever wrote. Sumptuous production although it is unfortunate that technology cannot remove the experimental colour filters that feature on most of the musical numbers. These have always been controversal but cannot be removed because the filters were in the original cameras. Despite this fact the film remains an absolute delight.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
This two disc Blu-ray set, packed with extras as well as two versions of the film (the main theatrical plus extended 'Road Show' versions) will be a dream ticket for all those who saw the original cinema production and have known the DVD to fall short of that memory.
There are, of course, dated aspects of both plot and screenplay. These need to be expected and accepted as the inevitable consequence of watching a film from 1958. Utopia was much more easily achieved way back then than seems possible in our multi-layered and more complex modern world!
However, more importantly, this film / musical must be seen and appreciated simply in the context of what it was and still is - a wonderful escapist vision where love finally conquers all and where the ideal becomes reality! The songs are, of course, glorious peaks of the American Songbook and the emotional icing on the cake. They follow one after another with utterly memorably melodies combined with equally memorable lyrics - a tremendous example of sustained musical invention at the highest level in this genre.
The technical restoration of this film is a remarkable achievement with finely restored Todd-AO colour and a well restored soundtrack in 5.1 surround. The Road Show version is in stereo only but most will choose to watch the original theatrical version.
In my opinion this is a totally successful restoration of a perennial favourite and fully deserving of a 5 star rating. It should give much pleasure to all of those who are returning to it with rose-tinted glasses as well as having much to offer for younger viewers!
Further information kindly supplied by Al Baker:
Some confusion here as to what constitutes the original version. The so called theatrical version is the cut version produced for 35mm screening on general release (cut in order to get more screenings in during the day). The original première version is the roadshow version and it is a great pity that this has not been fully restored.
Some dialogue from the comments section that may offer further help:
Some confusion here as to what constitutes the original version. The so called theatrical version is the cut version produced for 35mm screening on general release (cut in order to get more screenings in during the day). The original première version is the roadshow version and it is a great pity that this has not been fully restored. (U.K. review)
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 14 September 2009
I had the region one disc of this great musical,when it came out on Blu-Ray and was region free I bought it.The ordinary dvd was good but this version is superb.A must buy for all lovers of the classic musicals.Amazon have the wrong cast on their website so look for the Gaynor/Brazzi picture and you won't go wrong.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 16 May 2011
This is superb. I already have the 2-disc dvd set but wanted to try this blu-ray out as South Pacific is one of my favourite film musicals. I wasn't disappointed. The blu-ray set has everything that is in the dvd set plus a substantial bonus item - a 94-minute in-depth making-of from 2009 introduced by a pushing-70 Mitzi Gaynor herself (who appears to be wearing several sets of false eyelashes).
As far as picture quality goes the main film on disc 1 is astonishingly good. I watched this on a 42" screen. The original film was shot in Todd-AO on 70mm stock (which has a far higher image resolution than digital HD does). The blu-ray image is pin-sharp and the colours are strong and natural without being garish. Speaking of colour, you may think the disc is riddled with colour-balance problems but that is part and parcel of the film itself and one of its most-crticised elements. Joshua Logan chose to shoot many of the musical numbers using coloured filters and there are also several scenes (including those on Bali Ha'i) where the colour balance is deliberately altered (most of the blue is taken out) to suggest an other-worldliness. Personally I have always liked this and apparently Logan (despite his attempts to change this in post-production) said near the end of his life that he grew to like it and it worked better on a smaller screen.
As with the dvd set there are two versions of the film included. Disc 1 has the release print which has optimum picture and sound quality - I don't have a 5.1 setup but ordinary stereo sounds pretty good. Disc 2 has the roadshow version which is about 15 minutes longer (and which I prefer) but the picture quality and sound aren't as good as the disc 1 version. I think they have stuck with the dvd version. Which is a pity. Also the additional scenes, while being reinstated seamlessly, are very faded compared to the rest of the film.
The extras are comprehensive including two separate in-depth and fairly critical audio-commentaries, one for each version but the new making-of included on this set is superb. It's a bit gushy in the usual American way including some overly self-regarding contributions from cast members of the 2008 New York stage production which includes a pre-Glee Matthew Morrison as Lt Cable. But the story isn't entirely sunshine and light as mention is made of such things as Joshua Logan's manic depression and his onset clashes with Brazzi. Several people also address the issue of the colour-balance 'problem'. Being made recently in HD the picture quality is amazing - the black and white stills from the 50s are pin-sharp.
This is a superb set, is astonishing value and is what blu-ray should be about. A lot of these big spectacular musicals of the 50s and 60s have only been seen in recent years in compromised TV versions and this format finally brings them back to something approaching their original splendour. I hope we'll see more like this.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 4 July 2010
HE BLU RAY VERSION OF SOUTH PACIFIC HAS TO BE SEEN TO BE BELEIVED. THE COLOURS ARE BRILLIANT AND THE SOUND TERRIFIC.
THE FINE DETAIL OF EVERY SCENE IS GREAT AND A VAST IMPROVEMENT ON THE STANDARD DVD.THIS IS A U.S IMPORT WITH AN A CODE BUT PLAYS PERFECTLY ON MY REGION B PANASONIC PLAYER.