South Seas Adventure (1958) Poster

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Where is the missing print?
delta-2330 January 2005
This was the fifth and last of the original 3 strip Cinerama travelogue films and remarkable in its showing of 'bungee' jumping long before it became known in the west! As with the first four films it is an excellent demonstration of the Cinerama process, only at its best in 3 strip. I hope a copy of this film will be found and shown at the National Museum Of Photography, Film and Television in Bradford, UK, the home of the world's only Cinerama installation with regular performances. 'South Seas Adventure' is the only original title not to have been shown at Bradford where 'This Is Cinerama' is shown on the first Saturday of each month at 1.30pm. Other titles are shown during the annual Bradford Film Festival held in March.
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not quite as good as it might've been
FilmFanDaveB17 April 2018
I see a reviewer in 2005 questioned a missing print and lamented that this hasn't been shown at Pictureville in Bradford, UK. Well, I'm delighted to report that I saw a digital Cinerama print at Pictureville today, so I guess lots of people have worked hard to achieve this in the meantime. An enjoyable film but not up there with some of the others - seven wonders of the world springs to mind, and the one with USA and Swiss couples on exchange visits... One thing that seemed odd and striking.... the Australian segment had no aboriginal people shown. Everyone in Australia in 1958 seems to be white!
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The last Cinerema pseudo documentary
cynthiahost1 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
When this film was being made,more cheaper,economical,big,widescreen processes were competing against it.Tod A.O., Technirama,but,Cinerama is what people wanted to see.This was produced by ex beach comber and producer of M.G.M shorts,Carl Dudley.It's based on Captain Cooks discovery of the Islands.The Cinerama cameras starts with Hawaii,then proceeds to French Tahiti,Fiji,Tonga,New Hebrides.I was not aware,that, New Zealand ,not only was a part of the south seas,but, it spitted into two Islands,south and north.I also was not aware ,until I saw this film, that Australia was also a part of the south seas.The pseudo documentary has a story with different characters.Kay,played by Diana Beardmore,who saved up her trip to Hawaii,meets Marlena , played by Marlene Lizzio,on the cruise.Marlene is on her way back home,where Kay ends up meeting Marlene brother Ted,played by Tommy Zahn,in Hawaii .Will they fall in love? Poor artist Jean Louis,played by Igor Allan,is gets a Job on the Te Vega, to work his way to Tahiti,to study his art. .He meets Turia, a native dancer ,played by Ramine,at the festival celebrating Bastille day, becoming his subject for his painting.Amos Dorn ,captain of the Te Vega,played by Ed Olsen,has never seen his home of New England,since he went to sea.He goes to visit his tribe friends ,at Fiji, for dinner and the tribe entertain him with the dance to show how they used to catch and eat their enemies when they were cannibals.His experiences in New Hebrides with the Nabus tribe demonstrating Bungy jumping.An ex G.i. Jim Perry,played by Jay Ashworth, visiting New Zealand to fully explorer it ,wit the aid of his ex nurse,played by Maxine Stone ,and her husband ,played by Don Middleton.Then the story of Stephan and his daughter Anna,played by Hans Farkash and Janice Dinnen,from Europe to start a new life at Stephan's brother's sheep farm David , played by Eric Rieman, in Australia.This story has three split screen sequences,When the students,all over the outback, prepare for tier annual school play form the school of the air,in their two wave radio.another dramatic episode Anna's cousin booby ,played by Sean Scully has an accident,the screen splits up into three again.Their is a snappy song in the film sang by an all man chorus ,"Clip.Clip, clip. the Sheep. beautiful score from Alex North ,that makes you think of eternity. The d.v.d and the Blu- Ray transfers were great.Marlene ,Dianna,Ramine went to the premiere of the restored version of South sea adventures,but,non of them were interviewed.Oh!yes i forgot to mention ,Orson Wells narrates the documentary 11/1/13
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A paragon of boring superficiality
clanciai3 December 2019
The film is like a tourist brochure. It has all the nice pictures, glamorous girls, practical information and anything just to attract any tourist to this area, and as such it is terribly superficial. Of course, there are advantages, there is nothing wrong with all the pretty girls, and you would have liked to have more of them, but the finest asset of the film is actually the music by Alex North, adding a special spice of enchanting irresistibility. Apart from this, the whole panoramic film is utterly boring, almost childish in its inanity and just a speculation. There is a story, but if you expect this to be a cliffhanger, waiting for the girl in the beginning to accept or not accept her suitor's proposal, it's not very efficient as such. There is no action at all, and when it comes to Australia with instructions of how to shear sheep, showing how doctors and schools work out in the wilderness and other totally mundane matters of no universal interest at all, the best thing you can do is to go to sleep. The risks for doing so are numerous in this film. As a critic said, when it was new: "The title of the film promises some adventure, but there is not much of an adventure in this film." Indeed, none at all. It's just a glossy travel propspect, including all the desert backlands of Australia, which no one would visit willingly.
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Final USA Cinerama travelogue and one of the best!
bbmtwist23 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers

This was the fifth and final Cinerama travelogue produced in the USA. There were to be only three more films in the process: WINDJAMMER, released the same year, from Norway in a process called Cinemiracle, which was just a new name for Cinerama; and the two MGM narratives: THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF THE BROTHERS GRIMM (1962) and HOW THE WEST WAS WON (1963).

As with all of the five USA-produced Cinerama travelogues, there are two acts, each an hour, not counting the Overture, Intermission Music and Exit Music.

The film consists of five fictional tales, involving non-actors and in some cases, narration voices are supplied by others than the characters themselves. Orson Welles provides the over-all narration and each of the five stories has its own narrator, the leading character in each segment.

The film begins with full wide screen from the start. No title card until five minutes into the film itself, after the three-minute overture. This is in contrast to the four prior films, which began with a small center screen prologue; then after seven minutes or so, the full screen kicked in.

The first involves Kay Johnson visiting as a tourist. She is romanced and given the grand tour by Ted Hunter, brother of a woman she meets on the boat going over. We see Hawaii and the other islands. Most memorable is a surfing sequence, where the camera keeps right along with the surfers, and an aerial tour of the islands.

The second involves a French painter, Jean-Louis Martin, supposedly playing himself, wanting to get to Tahiti, as he admires Gauguin. There is an embarrassingly bad sequence where the ship captain and mates dress in costume of Neptune and companions to haze him when crossing the equator.

The third segment involves a skipper, who supposedly hails from New England but hasn't been back since 1917, under the name of Amos Dorn. We travel with him from Fidji to the New Hebrides. We see a 200 year old tortoise, supposedly a gift from Captain Cook, a Polynesian chorus singing a segment of Handel's Messiah in Polynesian, native dances, and the Lord's Prayer spoken in pidgin English. The sequence and Act One ends with natives jumping from a tower with ropes tied to their ankles. Ooooh! That must have smarted re the backbone and ankles.

Act Two delivers the fourth segment, covering a returning G.I. (named Jim Perry) to New Zealand. We see lushness, but also the snow-covered heights of the South Island. There are sheep, Maoris canoe and war dances.

For the fifth and final segment we visit Australia. Here the writers and Welles commit a major gaffe in announcing Australia as the "oldest continent," when in reality it is the youngest, the last formed after the great land mass of Jurassic times split up. The southern part of Africa moved south to form Antarctica, the eastern portions moved further east, one to smack into Asia to become India and the other to drift further eastward to become Australia.

This segment involves Stefan Koschek, wife Betty and son Bobby, welcoming exiled brother David and daughter Anna from Europe to begin a new life with them on their Outback sheep farm. We have a tour of Sidney by air and land, a terrorizing ride in an amusement park ride, and then on to the Outback.

Much is made of radio communication to keep the continent together. The School of the Air educates the children and the Flying Doctor Service makes certain that medical help is quickly available.

The School of the Air sequence is embarrassingly pathetic, especially when the screen splits to reveal children in frog outfits performing a play. None of these kids had a chance in hell of coming out of this alive. A fabricated fall for son Bobby and medical help arriving by air (in the second split screen sequence) completes the tribute to Australia's radio communication system.

Welles' narration sums up the five stories: Martin is content to marry and live on Tahiti, painting away; Captain Dorn is content to continue to sail the South Pacific; Perry has had a happy reunion with New Zealand; and the Koschek family has integrated their European family into their own. The previously unresolved story of Kay Johnson and Ted Hunter ends happily with their marriage and flight away to their honeymoon – where we wonder when they were already in paradise???

Music is by Alex North and is serviceable.

In summary, this is full of the innocent, naïve belief systems of Eisenhower 1950s America, simple sometimes to the point of seeming idiocy by our sophisticated 21st century standards. It is gentle, unassuming and educational for children and simple-minded adults. A time capsule of what it was like to go to the movies in the 1950s. These films gave Americans the chance to travel – most had never left the country in their lifetimes – and as such might have fostered a love for travel. It is one of the better Cinerama travelogues and worth a viewing at least once.
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Geisers and bubbling Mudpots
mrdonleone3 February 2020
Thing is, you are amazed by the special effects of Cinerama, yes yes, but is it worth viewing it without them?? No; without the effects it contains nothing of its original values but some boring travelogue... and that, my friends, is sad.
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