Reissue of ‘South Pacific’ Revives Kauai’s Appeal

Bali Hai (McNeil Wilson Communications)A classic Hollywood movie musical is reviving the romantic appeal of Kauai’s beautiful beaches and lush flora for a new generation of fans. South Pacific, the box-office blockbuster about forbidden love in the tropics during World War II, was recently re-released on Blu-ray Disc by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment to commemorate the movie’s 50th anniversary.

Most of the filming for South Pacific took place in 1957-58 on Kauai’s idyllic north shore,
an area renowned for its breathtaking coastlines, flourishing green fields, and picturesque
waterfalls. The location was a popular choice with the film’s crew and Director Joshua Logan noted at the time, “Kauai is a place that will enchant movie audiences, giving reality instead of stage illusion.”

Sue Kanoho, executive director of the Kauai Visitors Bureau, said an enduring attribute
of Kauai’s north shore is that it remains largely unchanged five decades later. “Kauai’s allure and spectacular natural beauty helped tell the story of South Pacific. Travelers coming here today will enjoy many of those same qualities,” said Kanoho.

Kanoho added that visitors will recognize many of the sights and landmarks used for
South Pacific’s signature moments, especially those captured in song.

  • Mount Makana’s towering twin peaks in Hā‘ena were the inspiration for the mystical “island of Bali Hai.”
  • Nellie Forbush (Mitzi Gaynor) was romanced by Emile de Becque (Rossano Brazzi) singing the ballad “Some Enchanted Evening” atop a garden-like plateau overlooking Princeville, now home to a popular resort area.
  • Nellie sang “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair” at Lumaha‘i Beach, a crescent-shaped beach known for the many native hala trees on the beach’s edge.
  • The song “Nothing Like a Dame” took place at Hanalei Bay, a perfectly curved bay featuring historic Hanalei Pier, crystal blue waters, and one of Hawaii’s most famous surfing spots.
  • The ever-charming Bloody Mary (Juanita Hall) sang “Happy Talk” on the banks of the KÄ«lauea River amid the fertile vegetation that is the Garden Isle’s trademark.

Kanoho noted, “South Pacific helped put Kauai on the map for travelers and our island is
as lovely and inviting today as it was 50 years ago.”

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