"South Pacific" 1958 - when?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Eric Huffstutler, Jun 12, 2006.

  1. Joe Caps

    Joe Caps Screenwriter

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    In King and I - the Bangkok exterior was certainly NOT built for the movie. Anna and her chile walk out of a chinese village set, left over from Keys of the kingdom and walk into a redressed set from The Egyptian.

    South Pacific
    Wash That Man was shot complete, but not even as long a version as on the record and cd - the dance part was added just for the record.

    Oscar Hammerstein was on location with the film in Hawaii and thought the number didn't work as well as it did on stage and had it reshot and still didn't like it.
    Josh Logan (director) told him that people had been washing thier hair in films for years and so it wouldn't have the novelty effect it had on stage. the number was cut to the bone.
     
  2. GerardoHP

    GerardoHP Supporting Actor

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    Yeah, that's pretty obvious. There's an Egyptian temple facade redressed with vegetation smack in the middle of Bangkok. [​IMG]
     
  3. DeeF

    DeeF Screenwriter

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    Gosh, never knew that.

    The movie's art direction still seems cheap to me, despite winning the Oscar.
     
  4. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    The Roadshow South Pacific was very, very interesting for a weird reason. Notice how much of the discarded material concerned Ray Walston's character! I happened to do the play last year, and Billis really does leave an impact on the show. But in the cut movie, approx. 1/2 of his stuff is left out. I was astonished to see how much of him was cut out. Especially since in the shorter version, Billis STILL makes a great impact! I don't think those cuts hurt Ray Walston a bit--he's still very memorable in the shorter version. It's a testament to his acting presence that those cuts didn't hurt him. You can disagree, but I have always loved him in that movie and now we have twice as much of him. My only regret is that they didn't have better color elements for the new scenes.

    The slow pace of South Pacific is maddening on a television screen. The audio commentary implies that it was acceptable when projected on a Cinerama screen, but it just seems flat on tv. It is paced and shot more or less like the Broadway play, but a movie should move. A dozen cutaways or closeups would have helped the movie tremendously; it almost looks like the whole movie was edited together from the establishing shots alone (however, 1978's "the Wiz" is 10 times worse, and for the same reason!) The Roadshow version's only real virtue is that it gives more time to flesh out some of the secondary characters...it still falls dead in several places.

    A lot of the cut stuff involved all those sailors on the beach. I understand that Josh Logan was accused at the time of giving the show a gay subtext by showing all those shirtless guys dancing around. Well, the Roadshow version is more shirtless than ever and even has a brief scene where Stewpot kiddingly makes a come-on to Billis. Perhaps some of the cuts were made to ease the "gay" accusations. The shorter version is still as big a chest fest as your favorite daytime soap opera, but the Roadshow has twice as many shirtless sailors and really could be misconstrued as gay. Some people have remarked that it was awkward to have Cable shirtless on his long trek to Liat's hut, but the audio commentary states that it was actually censorship that forced Logan to stage it that way. They said that if Cable already had his shirt off, then he wouldn't have to take it off when he met Liat, therefore more strongly implying that they did the deed. That's the way it is in the play, but in the movie he's shirtless forever and it just seems like Logan was winking at the audience because to please the censors, Logan ironically added more nudity to the film...! But Josh Logan in his book laughed at those accusations and claimed it was just good salesmanship, and enjoyed his title of "The Nudity King of Broadway."

    The Roadshow version is truly bizarre. It's longer yet it still seems incomplete. The only thing I can compare it to is the disastrous "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World" restoration done in the early 90s, which also suffered from weird edits, incomplete scenes and bad color matches. It's really just a weirder, longer version of a movie that was weird and long to begin with. It just never seemed to recapture the flavor of the Broadway hit, but that's true of all of Logan's movie musicals.
     
  5. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Unfortunately, you cannot restore color information that is not there. I saw the print they used in England in 2005, and the color looked pretty well gone.
     
  6. Rob_Ray

    Rob_Ray Screenwriter
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    While that may be true for film restoration, there are tricks that can be used for video release, given a large enough budget. It sounds like this could be a valid use for colorization given that virtually all the faded footage has similarly framed non-faded footage to use as a color guide.

    As it is, the color that's on the disc is still much more prominent than what was on the print I saw last summer at the Egyptian Theatre.
     
  7. Greg_M

    Greg_M Screenwriter

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    The Egyptain screened "South Pacific" in 70MM and the version with the restored 14 minutes on May 6, 2006. The 70MM version was fine but not as colorful or sharp as the AFI screening in January/February - a digital print and quite spectacular.

    I was disappointed with the muted color of the 70mm version, and the entire longer version was all faded to pink. I enjoyed the longer version much more than the 70MM which was screened just prior. Partly because of the new material I hadn't seen before and partly because the film had "No color filters" I guess if you turn down the color on your monitor to black and white you would get a similar effect, though the pink was warm and inviting.

    About a year ago someone posted screen shots of "South Pacific" with the color filters digitally removed - exposing one of the main reasons they were used in the first place - to cover up the bad/grey weather on the Islands during the filming. "Bali Hi" looked terrible with all grey clouds and not much else, some of the yellow tinted scenes didn't look to bad. I'll try to find the post and post a link with the screen shots.
     
  8. Greg_M

    Greg_M Screenwriter

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    this this thread: Does the longer version of "south Pacific" still exist
     
  9. Ethan Riley

    Ethan Riley Producer

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    I know; the threads should have been merged. But I do so love making fun of that movie!!!
     
  10. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    I was thinking along the same lines, but I was afraid to suggest it. Considering Plan 9 from Outer Space has been colorized at 2K resolution by legend films, and 35mm prints made from it, why can't they do it with a film that has some actual merits, was shot in color, and has a guide on what colors to use. They should consider this for the eventual HD version.
     
  11. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Cinematographer

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    I'm probably wrong, but I thought colorization worked because the computer program can guess at the original colors by analyzing the shades of gray. Those color filters would interfere with the process, since nothing's gray any more.

    I guess they could devise a program that could analyze the shades of the different color filters, but there were so many different ones used, it would hardly be worth the trouble.
     
  12. GerardoHP

    GerardoHP Supporting Actor

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    I remember when colorization first came out, they used to say the computer could analyze the different shades of grey and "guess" the original colors. But if that was the case, wouldn't colorization look a lot richer than it usually does? I mean, typically it looks like all you get is different shades of 5 or 6 colors per frame, at best.

    Also, I just watched the movie for the first time in 10 or 15 years and I was shocked at how much those filters were used throughout the picture. My memory was that they showed up here and there, not much overall. I was wrong. They're all over the place, and for extended periods of time. I also found that they're not as intrusive sometimes, for example the blue night scenes. And sometimes, like those purple hues during Bali Hai, well it's hard to imagine they could ever make the movie look like those filters were never there.
     
  13. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Cinematographer

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    If I may defend the filters (even though I hate them as much as anyone): My books tell me that Logan's staging of the Broadway show revolutionized the staging of plays and musicals on Broadway, because he had one scene "dissolve" into another, as in movies. I think he was trying, desperately, to come up with some artistic innovation for the movie that would maybe revolutionize movies the way the stage version revolutionized theatre. Well, he tried, but he missed by several light years. But I wonder if maybe had some French New Wave filmmaker done something similar, would the critics have raved and called it brilliant?
     
  14. GerardoHP

    GerardoHP Supporting Actor

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    Only if he'd done it over and over again in movie after movie. That's where Logan may have gone wrong. [​IMG]
     

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