South Pacific

South Pacific is pre-eminently concerned that the course of true love should admit no impediment. It regards as a matter of life and death the father of waters going unvexed to the sea. It repays a national debt by honoring the author of “La Belle Dorothée”, in the spirit of bitter contempt rarely expressed toward the end of Leaves of Grass.

So the models of this masterpiece are Shakespeare, Lincoln, Baudelaire and Whitman. What could be more American?

The production is adequate to this, and no more need be said. Pearce is a genuinely capable director who has availed himself of an opportunity to make a proper film of it, and all the performances are good. He composes a view of Bali Ha’i beyond the island’s harbor, and winds his camera back and around to the shuttered bungalow of Liat and Lt. Cable slowly filling the screen that is perfectly admirable.

It may be that a chance was missed, filming on location, to make wild tracks of local ambient sound, in the absence of a continuous score (which is supplied, notably after “Honey Bun”, by the eminent film composer Michael Small).