I had another fantastic evening at the movies tonight!
The fun started with dinner at the Pig 'N Whistle with some wonderful friends met thanks to this blog. We then went next door to the Egyptian Theatre's screening of SOUTH PACIFIC (1958) in 70mm, and all I can say about that experience is "Wow!!"
I've always been fond of this movie and have seen it several times, but this was my first time to see it in a theater. (I don't think a 16mm Films Incorporated print shown in my junior high school cafeteria counts!) The Egyptian showed it complete with overture and intermission music. When the overture faded out and the opening credits began, the combination of the music and visuals absolutely blew me away. The effect of seeing this film in 70mm on the Egyptian's huge screen was absolutely stunning; I almost felt as though I were seeing the film for the first time.
In fact, I think SOUTH PACIFIC is a movie in need of critical reassessment. It's a beautifully acted, faithful rendition of the Broadway show, which is all one needs for a great evening of entertainment, especially as it contains some of the most transporting music ever written. It has the added bonus of gorgeous Kauai and some of the finest orchestrations ever heard in a movie musical.
France Nuyen, who was just 17 when she played Liat, was there to watch the film, along with Richard Harrison, who played Buzz Adams' copilot. She remains an exquisitely graceful, lovely woman. She said she had attended another screening where the scenes with the colored lenses were faded and washed out; she said what we saw at the Egyptian tonight is how the film is meant to be seen. She was grateful for the experience of being in the film, saying she owed her career to the director, Joshua Logan, and she was clearly very moved by the opportunity to see the film again in perfect condition.
John Kerr had been scheduled to attend the screening but was under the weather. I felt as though I was watching his performance with a fresh perspective tonight, and my appreciation for him as Lt. Cable went up considerably on this viewing.
Collector's Edition DVD set.
Related Posts: A South Pacific Reunion (June 2010); Tonight's Theater: South Pacific (October 14, 2010); Tonight's Theater: South Pacific (October 22, 2010).