Smorgasbord Music Column – Songs from the Movies – South Pacific – Younger than Springtime and Bali Hai

This week I have chosen a song from ‘South Pacific’ which is a musical that I watched for the first time through the a slightly ajar lounge door when I was ten years old. Yes there is a story behind this!

When we lived in Cape Town, my father was stationed at the Royal Naval base at Simon’s Town . In addition to his duties in communications and weaponry..he was also the station film officer, making sure that there was a steady supply of entertainment for both those living on the station and the families who lived off base. This included the Saturday kids club which my brother and I would be taken too each week and also enabled my father to bring home certain films to show friends and neighbours after Saturday night dinner parties.

We where sent to bed with promises of left overs for breakfast… a treat not to be missed, especially when it was some of my mother’s strawberry shortcake dessert. However, I loved movies and as soon as the guests were settled, and I heard the projector whirring in the background, I would creep up the darkened corridor and sit with my back to the front door watching the screen that had been erected at the far end of the room through the slightly opened lounge door. In those days most people smoked and some ventilation was required.

My parents love musicals as well as Hitchcock thrillers, so I did see some films that were not always PG… but South Pacific was one I immediately fell in love with.  Luckily for me, the guest W.C was through the dining room and next to the kitchen, which meant I was largely undisturbed in my lookout.

I have seen the film many times since and when my mother became more forgetful, we would enjoy a good sing along and reminisce about those fun days. There is one song that is guaranteed to get the tears flowing, and that is Younger than Springtime, and I had a crush on Lieutenant Cable (John Kerr) for many years…I did not know, nor care that his voice was actually dubbed by Bill Lee of the The Mellomen

South Pacific is a 1958 American romantic musical film based on the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific, which in turn is based on James A. Michener’s short-story collection Tales of the South Pacific. The film, directed by Joshua Logan, stars Rossano Brazzi, Mitzi Gaynor, John Kerr and Ray Walston in the leading roles with Juanita Hall as Bloody Mary, the part that she had played in the original stage production. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards, winning the Academy Award for Best Sound for Fred Hynes. Wikipedia

Here is Younger than Springtime…sung by one of my favourite actors and tenors – Julian Ovenden with the John Wilson Orchestra

And here is one of the fun clips and songs from the movie… with Mitzi Gaynor.. I’m Gonna Wash that Man right out of my hair…thanks to Rodgers & Hammerstein

You can buy or rent South Pacific: Amazon US

And: Amazon UK

I hope you have enjoyed this musical interlude and more in a couple of weeks….thanks Sally.

37 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Music Column – Songs from the Movies – South Pacific – Younger than Springtime and Bali Hai

  1. I saw a live performance done by our local musical theatre group when I was 12 or 13. It was excellent and I just loved it and all the songs. A few years later I saw the movie but when I think of this story, it is with the cast of that first performance I saw. Funny thing is, an English 12-year-old I spend time with here in Spain loves this movie and watches it over and over. We watched it together just recently. It is indeed a timeless story.

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  2. Hi Sally, One of my favourites too. I saw the stage show of South Pacific in London with my mother which starred Mary Martin.It was wonderful; the film too Like you, I ‘ate’ musicals and Hitchcock films – and went to the cinema every week. No TV then… Hugs xx

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  3. The all time greatest musical ever – and quite controversial at the time – “You’ve got to be taught, before it’s too late, to hate all the people your relatives hate, You’ve got to be carefully taught.”

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    • Unfortunately that still holds true to day for some people… I saw the film for the first time in 1963 but by 1964 the stage version had been banned in South Africa because of its racial fluidity… We were only there for two years and having had friends from different cultures before we went there, I found it very difficult even at that age.

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  4. Sally!!! I hardly know where to begin. This was my second musical (Oklahoma was the first), and it will remain deeply rooted in my love for music and Rodgers and Hammerstein. My daughter-in-law must have known this because her first gift to me was the DVD of South Pacific. You picked a winner of a song. Big time. I need to write a blog post on this. Thank you, Sally.

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