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South Pacific & Gypsy - Musical Mini-Series Double Feature
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South Pacific � Television Miniseries Event The Love. The Story. The Magic Of America�s Greatest Musical Epic. �South Pacific Is Gorgeous To Look At And Listen To!� � Newsweek Six-time Academy � Award Nominee Glenn Close and two-time Grammy� Award Winner Harry Connick, Jr. lead a sensational cast in an all-new version of Rodgers & Hammerstein�s beloved musical South Pacific. Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by James Michener, and featuring some of the finest music ever written for the stage (Some Enchanted Evening, I�m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair and Younger Than Springtime), South Pacific spins a romantic tale of love and loss on a tropical island naval base during the Second World War. Gypsy � Television Mini-Series Event " A must have for Midler fans, Gypsy fans, and anyone who loves the musical stage." � digitallyobsessed.com Emmy�, Grammy� and Golden Globe� award winner Bette Midler (Beaches, Ruthless People, Down & Out in Beverly Hills) stars as the world�s most relentless stage mother, who lovingly but unremittingly drives her two daughters, June and Louise, and their small, rag-tag vaudeville troupe, across America, from theater to theater, in search of success. This movie musical extravaganza brings the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee to life through spectacular production and unforgettable songs as Everything�s Coming Up Roses, Small World and Together. At its heart, GYPSY is a landmark among filmed musicals, in which one of the world�s most renowned stars, Bette Midler, redefines one of the Broadway theater�s classic roles for a new generation. The result makes for movie and musical history and will leave you asking for an encore!
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Ethel Merman's performance, in Gypsy's original Broadway cast, is considered by many to be one of great major musical performances of all time (think Rex Harrison and Yul Bryner). If it weren't for Ethel Merman, Bette Midler in this TV version might be my own first choice for Mama Rose. And Peter Riegert seems way more appropriately cast here than, say, Karl Malden was in the movie version (fine actor though he was).
Heck of a bargain getting these two war horse musicals, more than adequately performed, in a single DVD package for a rock bottom price.
"SOUTH PACIFIC": While this TV Version of "South Pacific" does not commit the great sin of the 1958 film version-- putting color filters on the camera, giving every musical number a changing color hue, far different sins are committed against this Putlizer Prize winning musical here. I love Glenn Close. She's a wonderful actress in dramas like "Dangerous Liaisons", but she is far too old and totally wrong for the role of Nellie Forbush, the young nurse forced to confront her prejudices while stationed on South Pacific islands during World War II. Since Close is the executive producer, perhaps she couldn't resist playing Nellie? In any event, her desire got in the way of good casting sense. If she loved "South Pacific", why didn't she respect the original musical? Scenes and songs are moved around and altered so much that Rodgers and Hammerstein's powerful messages are muted or missing completely. The cast, including Harry Connick, Jr., flounders around and is mostly terrible. Rodgers and Hammerstein are undoubtedly rolling in their graves over this destruction of one of their greatest musicals.
"GYPSY": By rights, Tyne Daly should have played Mama Rose in this TV Version of "Gypsy", since she had won a Tony Award for a Broadway revival. But "Gypsy" was offered to CBS with Bette Midler as a package deal. Take it, or the musical goes to NBC. CBS took it with Midler (and Ethel Merman also lost the movie version to Rosalind Russell, but that's another story). This "Gypsy" cooks on all cylinders because composers Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim insisted this version follow Arthur Laurents astringent Broadway libretto. It does. All that is missing is a brief scene change reprise of "Some People", where Mama Rose picks up some chorus boys on the road.
Normally, I don't like Bette Midler, finding her too loud, obnoxious, and overbearing. Well, loud, obnoxious and overbearing also describe Mama Rose, the ultimate stage mother from hell, perfectly. So Midler's casting is perfect. Mama Rose is also tragic. She's so ambitious and driven, she does not see she is driving everyone away from her. Rose is even unfazed when her favored daughter June runs away. She has a "spare daughter", the untalented and cast aside Louise (Cynthia Gibb) left over, so she will become the star instead. Peter Riegert is fine as manager Herbie, and Cynthia Gibb is very good as Louise, especially when the tables turn, and Louise, now transformed into star stripper Gypsy Rose Lee, tells Mama to let go of her and get a life of her own. Nothing is coming up roses now, and Mama Rose can't take it. Midler sings "Everything's Coming Up Roses" like a crazy lady. But that, remember , is before her real "Rose's Turn" musical nervous breakdown at the end. Watch out! "Hold your hats and halleilujah-- Mama's gonna show it to you!"