Friday, June 25, 2010

Non-Indie Music Night: "SOUTH PACIFIC" in Todd-AO

O.K., I know this is totally off-topic, but I'm afraid as a music enthusiast, my musical heritage goes way back to the Broadway musical. Before you throw up, try to understand that before the advent of rock and roll, nearly all popular music came from the Broadway stage or movies.

When I grew up, the albums you ran into at everyone's house were the soundtrack albums of South Pacific, The King and I, Gigi, the Broadway cast albums of My Fair Lady (with Julie Andrews and not Audrey Hepburn, thank you very much), West Side Story and The Sound of Music. The first LP records I owned were the soundtracks of Ben-Hur and Mutiny On the Bounty (the Marlon Brando version, which I will defend as a great movie to anyone who wants an argument) and other epics. These records were deluxe box sets with the movie's souvenir programs inside, great fun for a movie-crazy kid.

So that's why, when I heard the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was hosting a screening of the recently restored 70MM print of South Pacific tonight, June 25, I knew I had to go. Also because the star of the film, Mitzi Gaynor, will attend.

This was my mom's favorite film back then, so I saw it many times, and even the much maligned color filters the director, Joshua Logan, applied to most of the musical numbers, are among the things I like about the movie best. They're positively hallucinatory (see film frame above). That and the incredible Alfred Newman orchestrations. And the movie is LOUD. (It won the Oscar for Best Sound of 1958).

And, perhaps, most importantly, it's message of racial tolerance, is still potent, and with the amount of blatant racial hostility that the Republican party employs (and enjoys), it is again, after all these years, an important movie.

Anyway, back to rock and roll tomorrow.


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