During World War II in the South Pacific love is found between a young nurse, Nellie Forbush (Glenn Close) and an older French plantation owner, Emile de Becque (Rade Serbedzija). The war ...
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During World War II in the South Pacific love is found between a young nurse, Nellie Forbush (Glenn Close) and an older French plantation owner, Emile de Becque (Rade Serbedzija). The war is tearing them apart.Written by
The original Broadway production of "South Pacific" opened at the Majestic Theater on April 7, 1949, ran for 1925 performances starring Mary Martin as Nellie Forbush and Ezio Pinza as Emile de Becque, won the 1950 Tony Award for the Best Musical, Libretto and Score and won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1950. See more »
The Grumman Goose seaplane used in the filming had retractable floats. The retractable floats weren't added to the Gooses till the late 1950's. See more »
Some Last words, and I will silence myself forever on this subject.
First regarding Mary Martin. Rodgers and Hammerstein pretty much wrote the thing with Martin in mind for the Nellie character. (In fact, as she states in her autobiography, she had some input over the development of the show.) Mary Martin had a knack for playing young, innocent, and idealistic and with the illusions that one can create on stage (no close ups, more lights and makeup) it was possible to see her as being that way. It was also, especially after Peter Pan, the type of role that audiences expected to see her in. I mean, hey, she won a TONY Award for playing Peter.
On the other piece of this, the age thing, take a look at the book of the play (which the movie version is based on). There are references in the thing to "older men and younger woman" relationships, such as the classic line, "Mother thinks that older men are better for girls". OR the crack about Captain Bracket's age and virility, and his angry comeback on how a younger woman could possibly find him attractive.
There is also the lyrics to Emile's Soliloquy "This is what I've longed for someone YOUNG and smiling climbing up my hill...YOUNGER men than I am, officers and doctors, probably pursue her. She could have her pick." Why would he refer to her and his competition as younger if they weren't, at least in comparison to him?
While it's true that naivete and narrow mindedness are not just the province of the young, I would think that the words of the playwright and the lyricist would speak for themselves. And the words of Michener himself who says that Emile is a "man in his forties" and Ensign Forbush is a "young girl".
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