SOUTH PACIFIC (1958)

Dir. Joshua Logan

After the successful film versions of their Oklahoma! (1955) and The King and I (1956), Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein turned for their next film to this controversial tale of two romances complicated by World War II and racial politics. Original stage star Mary Martin was deemed too old for the role of Nellie Forbush at that point, so they went looking for a new leading lady, finding a then-controversial choice in Mitzi Gaynor, who attends this screening with co-star France Nuyen. Gaynor's beauty, energy, strong singing (she was the only one of the four stars to perform her own songs) and surprising dramatic chops perfectly embodied the screen's greatest "cockeyed optimist." Gaynor's romance with French planter Emile De Becque (Rossano Brazzi) provides the film's major plot, while Nuyen, in her screen debut, plays the innocent island beauty in love with blue-blood Lt. John Cable (John Kerr). The stars' performances, the lush Hawaiian and Malaysian locations and one of the screen's greatest scores helped make this the top box-office film of its year.

In attendance: Mitzi Gaynor, France Nuyen.

SOUTH PACIFIC
TM and ©2012 TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES A TIME WARNER COMPANY ALL RIGHTS RESERVED