Monday the 12th of March 2012
seen via TCM HD In the South Pacific, Raymond Massey plays a colonial governor whose hard-nosed stance complicates the lives of native couple Lamour and Hall much to the dismay of his wife Astor and his physician, played by Thomas Mitchell. Though it pushes too many buttons in setting up the finale, the film holds your attention, often through the sheer charisma of its supporting cast. Top-billed Lamour doesn't have much to do and would-be-Tarzan Hall is fine until he opens his mouth, but Massey is great as a letter-of-the-law-obsessed governor, as is Mitchell as his drunken doctor, and C. Aubrey Smith as the island minister. And once it gets to the titular finale, watch out. Even by modern standards, the effects are impressive. Like the climax of Titanic (1997), it's a stunning technical achievement made more immediate by the viewer's emotional investment in the characters involved. Sure it's pure melodrama capped off with an exceptional set piece, but it works.