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Does the longer version of SOUTH PACIFIC still exist?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Darren Gross, Feb 14, 2003.

  1. Darren Gross

    Darren Gross Supporting Actor

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    Every time this has come out on laser or DVD, I hope its going to be the full 170min roadshow/preview cut, but it never materializes.

    Is the long version lost?

    DG
     
  2. Howard S

    Howard S Stunt Coordinator

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    Just came across your post Darren whilst searching. Do you happen to know what scenes were cut from the film?

    I assume one scene has something to do with Joe Cable getting ill, as a line of dialogue still in the shortened film has Nellie expressing surprise that Joe has been released from hospital - when in the current cut of the film we don't even know that he's been taken ill, let alone in hospital. Are there any more scenes?

    I'd love to see and own a fully restored version of this film.
     
  3. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    You mean there's a *longer* version of this movie?

    Whew!

    Personally I'll be happy when we get a decent 16x9 transfer...but if there is a longer roadshow version and it's worth watching...be nice to have that too (though it is *really* hard to imagine this film being any LONGER than it already is! [​IMG]).
     
  4. Greg_M

    Greg_M Screenwriter

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    "South Pacific" was cut shortly after it opened in New York at the Criterion Theater. The song "I'm gonna wash that man outta my hair" was all but removed as was the Boar's tooth dance. The scenes with Emille and Nellie ("Some Enchanted Evening" were shortened)

    The Britsh cut of the film opened with "Some Enchanted Evening" later going into "Nothing Like a Dame" as it did on the Broadway stage.

    A few of the songs were filmed twice, once with and once without the color filters (before the studio told Logan they could remove the color from the shots) but these takes may no longer exist.

    The color filters were not just a bad idea, they were used to hide the fact that most of the filming took place under dark, grey rain clouds - check out the song "Nothing like a Dame" the whole film could have looked like this scene)

    "South Pacific" was the highest grossing film of 1958. The critcs panned it but still couldn't keep the audiences away.

    "South Pacific" isn't the only R&H film to be heavily cut. Both "The King and I" and "Carousel" lost ahout 20 minutes each prior to opening.
     
  5. SteveP

    SteveP Second Unit

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    SOUTH PACIFIC had its New York premiere at the Criterion and some months later moved over to the Rivoli.
     
  6. Jo_C

    Jo_C Second Unit

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    Both Leonard Maltin and the Internet Movie Database confirm that the film originally ran longer upon premiere. I believe the original roadshow cut was 171 minutes, and cut down later for general release. Most of the prints we've seen on television and home video have included this general release version plus the overture, intermission, and exit music from the roadshow cut.

    Whether or not the roadshow version still exists depends on who you talk to. Different companies own different components of the film. 20th Century Fox holds the copyright, but MGM (via their acquisition of the Samuel Goldwyn Company's pre-1996 library) holds the theatrical and television distribution rights, and CBS (via Paramount) owns the video rights (which now makes Paramount the home video rights holder).

    The best person to talk to on this one would be Martin Blythe at Paramount. He might hold the answers.
     
  7. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Joe Caps says he found the film and soundtrack. Do we need a letter-writing campaign?
     
  8. Joe Caps

    Joe Caps Screenwriter

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    I did find SOME of the missing scenes back in 1992 - all of the soundtrack seems to be there.
    Greg is right - most of wash That Man righ t Oughta My hHair is cut and much of the boars tooth ceremony - but these were both cut LONG before the first rough cut of the film was put together.
    I did NOT find the uncut Wash That Man.
    I talked to director Joshua Logan about this film back in 1984. He very much wanted the film put back toe uncut length BUT with the original broadway continuity. THat part would be easy - the broadway continuity was used for all foreign prints. Joe Cable is flying over the islands and Buxx the pilot says "That's where the seebees play" and in the American prints we cut righ to the song "Bloody Mary"
    In the foreigh prints, Buzz also says"Thats We're you're friend Emile De Beque lives" and we cut right to the first conversation of Nellie And Emile.
    Remember all these running times include the Overture, Intermission Music and Exit Music - the current short version we have is 161 min- So we are only missing about ten minutes of film.
    Also cut is the following
    After the song Bali Hai - ther is a shot comic reprise of the song sung by Luther Billis(Ray Walston)
    Toward the end of Act One,, in the short version, Emile says Nellie"Wait here. I have a surprise for you" He then brings out his two illegitimate children - Some surprise.
    Make Emile look like an idiot.
    In the long version, the suprise is emile putting Nellies cloak over his head and he imitate her singing "Gonna Wash That Man right ought my Hair. "
    A strange cut is earlier in the film. Cable can't convince Emile to go on the mission. Cable asks his commander what he should do and the commander tells him to take some time off and get a boat. Cable says "a boat" and the music starts and we see cable heading for Bali Hai while the chorus sings a reprise of the song.
    In the original version, Cable SINGS the reprise and the chorus answers him from the shore. You canhear this for yourself on a DVD. Image has a docujentary called Rodgers and Hammerstein - the Sound of Movies. This was reissued last year with some extras it did not originally have. ONe of the extras is the original trailer for south Pacific. In that trailer you can hear ( but not see) Bill Lee (who dub for John Kerr) singing the Bali Hai Reprise.
    Also changed is the scene on the island where Cable meets Liat. The scene was originally longer of his being led through the jungle by Bloody Mary. It was originally twice as long.
    Never put in the film was the uncut Wash That Man - I wouldlove to see it. Also shot but not used was the song Loneliness of evening sung by Emile.
    All of the multichannelstereo prerecordings for the songs )including the cut ones) exist. So does all of Alfred Newmans background score. How about a two cd set of the whole damnd thing. Two years ago RCA remastered the South Pacific soundtrack for cD and made it sound worse!! bummer.
     
  9. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    This information is ALL SO COOL!

    I would LOVE to see the intact film! Just watched segments last night.

     
  10. SteveP

    SteveP Second Unit

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    In 1994, when the film was mastered for laser disc from the shortened Todd-AO negative, an effort was made to tone down some of the more heavy-handed color-filtered shots.

    At the time of the first network broadcast of the film on ABC in about 1969, they announced a disclaimer in reference to the color filters--"There is nothing wrong with your TV sets color adjustments--the movie really LOOKS that way!"

    That was the first time I had ever seen the film and was dreadfully disappointed that "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair" was so severely truncated--in addition to being bewildered at Joshua Logan's almost completely STATIC musical staging.

    One of the films best virtues has always been Alfred Newman's typically superb musical scoring--far superior to that of the recent television remake.
     
  11. Joe Caps

    Joe Caps Screenwriter

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    I forgot to point out. This was not a case of a film being shortened once it left roadshow and went to regular runs. This film was cut three weeks into the roadshow run and newprints were sent to replace the long ones.
     
  12. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    RCA has *never* put out a decent sounding CD. I bought the $100 laserdisc box set of Sound of Music just to get a CD of the soundtrack mastered by someone OTHER than RCA.

    It does indeed sound better than RCA's latest attempt at a remaster (which sounds somewhat better than their earlier horrid-sounding CD soundtrack).

     
  13. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    This is great news. Did Joshua Logan say which stuff he wanted back into the film before he died?

    How much would it cost to compile a "director's cut" version of the film?
     
  14. Howard S

    Howard S Stunt Coordinator

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    Wow - I didn't realise that all this was missing (albeit only 10 minutes). Plus, of course, my original observation about some scene relating to Cable getting ill.

    Regarding the colour effects, although I admit their appearance can be rather strange at times, they are certainly unique and striking, you do get used to them, and they do add to the mood and emotions of the movie. I do think the sum total of the film would be less without them -and they should remain intact on any restoration.
     
  15. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    I agree with Howard; after all, it is a restoration of the original intent of the director. If the non-filtered numbers exist, perhaps they could be on a DVD as a second angle or supplement.
     
  16. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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  17. SteveP

    SteveP Second Unit

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    During production, Joshua Logan and Leon Shamroy (the cinematographer) were led, by the lab (in California), to believe that the color effects were much subtler then they actually were.

    When they got back to California and saw the processed film, neither man was pleased with the over-intensity of the effects (which, in some instances, actually prevented a decent amount of light from reaching the screen).

    When Rodgers and Hammerstein saw them, they thought they were looking at a defective print!

    Logan used them because he had used a similar technique with the stage lighting of the musical numbers in the original Broadway production, and felt (quite erroneously) that 3 hours of tropical landscapes in a photographic style resembling that of PAGAN LOVE SONG would be visually monotonous!

    The only place where the color effects received a generally good critical reception was in Japan.
     
  18. Joe Caps

    Joe Caps Screenwriter

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    Josh Logan and Leon Shamroy did tests to use a subtle change of color. Fox was used to loading their musicals with tons of color and they overloaded the color on the filters, surprising both Logan and Shamroy. These scenes could be toned down even more. The alternate takes without the filters do not exist.
    Logan wanted all the missin gfootage returned using the original broadway continuity, which, as I said, very much exists.
     
  19. Greg_M

    Greg_M Screenwriter

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    One of the trailers briefly shows a few shots without the color filters.
     
  20. ReggieW

    ReggieW Screenwriter

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    To Joe Caps,

    Of the 10 minutes cut from the film, how much still exists, picture-wise?
     

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