If South Seas Adventure were not No. 5 in a sequence of [three-camera Cinerama] travelogs its merits would no doubt seem more estimable. Here again is the airplane ride over the snow, the ocean, the endless prairie. Glacial and other geologic wonders, raging waters and smouldering volcanic mud are again glanced. There is even once again the ride in the amusement park.

If South Seas Adventure were not No. 5 in a sequence of [three-camera Cinerama] travelogs its merits would no doubt seem more estimable. Here again is the airplane ride over the snow, the ocean, the endless prairie. Glacial and other geologic wonders, raging waters and smouldering volcanic mud are again glanced. There is even once again the ride in the amusement park.

Yet the voyage by liner, schooner and aircraft adds up to a fairly diverting if not very exciting journey. Cinerama still conveys its unique brand of pictorial experience, though distortion and seams persist.

Continuity is pretty straightforward, dotted with a few giggles but eschewing the purple prose, and especially the built-in songplugs and private exploitation which marred Search for Paradise.

Some confusion results from the use of a main narrator, Orson Welles, but spelled off in different sequences by three other narrators, Shepherd Menken, Walter Coy, Ted de Corsia. Alex North’s score stays in the background, where it belongs, most of the time, but in some of the flying and Australian scenes, notably the demented steeplechase of the kangaroos, the music comes forward strongly and imaginatively.

This is an updated and primarily respectable South Seas in which Paul Gauguin is only a name and cannibalism, beach-combing, Somerset Maugham, Robert Louis Stevenson and J.C. Furnas tales are not on the screen. Big physical thrill among the islands is the jump off the bamboo tower by the natives of the New Hebrides, the fall being broken by vine ropes attached to the men’s ankles.

South Seas Adventure

Production

Cinerama. Director Carl Dudley, Richard Goldstone, Francis D. Lyon, Walter Thompson, Basil Wrangell; Producer Carl Dudley, Richard Goldstone; Screenplay Charles Kaufman, Joseph Ansen, Harold Medford; Camera John F. Warren, Paul Hill; Editor Frederick Y. Smith, Walter Stern; Music Alex North; Art Director Dan Cathcart, Ray Morris, Eric Thompson

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Extract of a review from 1958. Running time: 120 MIN.
Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more