on November 27, 2005
For some reason The Sound Of Music has never had any luck in home video release. It has never achieved the picture quality commensurate with its status. The 40th Anniversary Edition seemed like the opportunity for it to finally shine. Alas no. Yes it is a marked improvement over the previous DVD which image-wise was deplorable. But it is far below what we know is possible in film restoration today.
What's good about the new SoM transfer? Well for starters they've removed the much criticised electronic edge enhancement which infuriated so many people in the previous DVD. This is artificial sharpening which looks good on small screens but produces halos around objects when seen on larger displays. The result is a slightly softer image but definitely an improvement over the old DVD. And they've made some effort at restoration. The picture looks visibly brighter. The color timing which was way off in the previous DVD has been partially corrected - but not totally. Skin tones which looked overly red previously, now appear closer to normal. However this color correction is haphazard. Some scenes have skin tones looking very natural, others still have that ruddy, sun-burnt look. The night scenes especially have skin tones taking on an ugly muddy-red appearance. In short, the color timing for the new DVD is inconsistent. Ironically, one drawback of the present color-correction is an overly-accurate representation of the original colors in some scenes - in the Edelweiss reprise at the Salzburg Folk Festival, Angela Cartwright's face (Brigitta) takes on a faint greenish-yellow hue under the stagelight. In the previous DVD this had been corrected to give everyone a uniform pink glow but not in the present DVD. It may be a truer reflection of stagelighting but it is not at all pretty to look at. So in terms of color-correction, in trying to please everyone, the technicians ended up pleasing no one. Black levels however are spot on. Level of detail is also fairly good, especially shadow detail in the darker scenes, definitely better than in the previous DVD but again below what we've come to expect of DVD transfers on the cusp of the Hi-Def era. This is especially so considering that SoM was shot, not on 35mm film like other movies, but on 70mm which should, if properly handled, enable us to see detail that would eclipse the very latest Hollywood productions, almost all of which are shot in 35mm today. Sadly it does not.
Sound-wise, the THX Certified 4.1 Surround Sound of the previous DVD has been replaced by a 5.0 Surround. Note the loss of the .1 LFE (subwoofer). This won't make much difference as SoM does not make much use of the LFE channel but those using less expensive sound systems may end up losing the lower-most frequencies as the front speakers of these systems often cannot reproduce the lowest frequencies that will now be passed on to them. One also wonders why they did not use all 6 channels of the original Todd-AO soundtrack for this DVD. To find out in the Extras that they actually remixed the original 6 track audio into a new DTS soundtrack which we are not given here is only to add insult to injury. Apparently Fox is reserving the DTS soundtrack for its upcoming High-Definition version of SoM due out next year.
The selling point of this 40th Anniversary Edition must be the Extras of which there are tonnes. What I appreciate most in the current set of Rodgers & Hammerstein Anniversary releases is the inclusion of a separate songs-only chapter list. I hope this becomes a feature for all future musicals. An interesting curiosity in this DVD is the ability to hear and sing along with the film in both French and Spanish with the appropriate lyrics appearing beneath much like in a karaoke-singalong. Although the French soundtrack was already present previously, this is the first time I've heard the songs sung in Spanish. There are hours of documentaries. I especially liked Charmian Carr's new documentary "On Location with The Sound of Music," and the children's reunion, "From Liesl to Gretl: A 40th Anniversary Reunion," where the now grown-up children reminisce about their time on the set and point out all the little bloopers they made onscreen. It's heartening to learn that they've all turned out very well indeed. Unfortunately with all the new Extras, some of the features from the previous DVD had to be dumped. By far the saddest loss was the exclusion of Charmian Carr's delightful 1967 documentary "Salzburg Sight and Sound".
The Sound Of Music underwent a complete restoration in 2002 for its inclusion in the Academy Film Archive (A.M.P.A.S.). That 65mm restored print was first exhibited in early 2003. From the Film-to-Video restoration comparison included among the Extras, it would seem that this is the restoration used in the DVD. However it also shows how much more muted the colors on the film elements were even after restoration. It is only after the video transfer and color correction that the colors come to resemble what is seen here. The telecine color-timer was obviously over-enthusiastic with the color correction, pumping the colors up beyond what is natural.
For those contemplating getting the 40th Anniversary Edition, do note that Fox has announced that The Sound Of Music will be re-released next year on its new Blu-Ray High-Definition DVD. That's where the new restoration will re-emerge, hopefully with a more accurate telecine transfer and the newly remixed DTS soundtrack. If you can, it may be wiser to wait for the next incarnation of this beloved classic and hope that Fox finally gets things right.
on March 2, 2012
I upgraded to this version of The Sound of Music on Blu-ray from the basic edition of TSOM and I am very glad I did. I picked up this set when Amazon had it for $28 as the weekly Blu-ray deal. It is a very nice, very solid set. I have many of these Blu-ray limited edition/special edition box sets (Blade Runner, Ben-Hur, Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, Casablanca, Planet of the Apes, I am Legend... ) and this is one of the nicest I own.
The box is very solid and well constructed. Everything looks very professionally done and the box art colors are very vibrent. I didn't know what it was by the picture, but there is a little music box which is also very nice.
The Blu-ray is wonderful in PQ and AQ. The only reason I gave the video 4.5 instead of 5 is because there are few scenes here or there which are a blur or out of focus. This is due to the scorce material and Fox did the best they could with what they had to work with. No matter what this is by far the best it has ever looked or sounded, and it all comes in this very nice set.
I thought about it for a while, but I am very glad I pulled the trigger and purchased this set. A wonderful edition to my collection.
It's been fashionable to make fun of THE SOUND OF MUSIC even before it came out, when, during its filming, Christopher Plummer reportedly referred to it sneeringly as "The Sound of Mucas." Pauline Kael's infamous vitriolic (and very funny) review of it sealed her reputation as one of America's grand culture mavens--and the film itself as soulless and manipulative.
But this reputation is largely unearned. Certainly the children are at times hard to take, especially Charmian Carr, who seems simultaneously vixenish--"tooooooo wriiiiiiiite onnnnnnn"--and wholesome, as if she were a mutant hybrid of Ann-Margret and Doris Day. But the film is extremely visually inventive, especially in its contrasts of the cramped spaces of the Captain's villa and the beautiful open exteriors of Salzburg and the surrounding Alps. And most critics have overlooked that the film's scenarists have worked in an audience surrogate to sneer at Maria's goody-goodyness in the person of the Countess. Memorably played by Eleanor Parker, the Countess is given to all kinds of snide comments when things get too sugary ("My dear, is there anything you *don't* do?").
Best of all, the film has at its center the amazing Julie Andrews, who makes the best Maria imaginable. She really does make you believe in Maria's kindness and simplicity, and her love of the outdoors. In her two most iconic moments--spinning on the moutaintop during the title number, and leading the children at top speed through a footbridge during "Do Re Mi"-- her arms are characteristically spread wide, accepting the entirety of the beautiful world around her. And has anybody who has seen her ever forgotten how she closes "Do Re Mi," hitting that perfect "fa" as she leaps up the steps? This performance alone forever cements Andrews's status as an icon in world cinema.
on October 30, 2002
I recently bought the Five Star Collection Edition of The Sound of Music, which has been one of my all time favorite movies since the 3rd grade, and was amazed. The film has NEVER looked so good or sounded so good. The commentary was excellent, and I love how it also presents the musical numbers WITHOUT vocals, so you can sing along. The extras on disc 2 were great too. I gave it 4 stars simply cause it seems there wasn't enough features, but what's on there is absolutely amazing. There's 2 documentaries, one from 1965 hosted by Charmaine Carr, who plays Leisl, and the 87 minute documentary that not only discusses the making of the movie, but the true life story of the Von Trapp family. There's the audio supplements, which have interviews with people who worked in and on the film. There's the gallery which is filled with photos and information. And the selection of trailers and TV spots, while probably incomplete, is still good. I just feel that they could have included some home video release TV spots, other re-release trailers, or what have you. But all in all, this DVD is good and the movie looks and sounds as good as ever in it's original 2.20:1 apect ratio, allowing you to see all of the incredible settings, including the on location filming. This DVD is worth every penny.
on January 17, 2011
This is a beautiful DVD of a great movie. I don't have a Blu-ray player, just a DVD player. However, I bought this Blu-ray/DVD combination set based on the excellent reviews and because I assumed that the Blu-ray and DVD would have the same extra features, like interviews and movie trivia. Well, the DVD does not have everything the Blu-ray does (had I read the fine print on the description, I would have known this beforehand, so it's no fault of Amazon)! I was a bit disappointed that the DVD does not include the Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews commentaries, nor does it really offer anything in terms of trivia and background about the movie. That said, the movie itself on the DVD, which was apparently re-mastered, looks sharp, crisp, and beautiful. You just should know before you buy this that if you don't own a Blu-ray player that you're not going to get all the little extra features, like interviews, that you might expect.
on January 22, 2001
I bought this DVD the other day thinking that I would finally have in my possession my favorite childhood musical. While that wish partially came true, I must alert buyers that this DVD, while no doubt excellent, is not the classic that its being touted as. I, for one, am waiting for a more definitive version of the DVD to come out.
The main problem with this is that the movie here is available ONLY on widescreen. While this is much preferred to certain audiences, I would much rather have the option of watching it on full-screen. I found myself squinting at the screen on occasion (and I have a large television, mind you) just to catch the details. Disc One was a complete letdown due to this. Also, and I'm not the first to say this, the color transfer is wretched. One would think that for this price you'd get an impeccable transfer, and this version leaves much to be desired.
Disc Two is the real scene stealer. The easily navigable and user friendly format is appreciated, as is the 87 minute long documentary. Luckily the documentary has some scenes of the movie presented in full-screen, so that was a relief.
All in all, this version of the DVD is not entirely satisfactory. In fact, after watching the movie on widescreen, I actually wondered if I should have bought this on VHS. And that really speaks volumes for the qaulity of this Disc. I fail to understand the multitude of reviewers who have heaped praise upon these two discs. To love the movie is one thing, but I do not believe that they love the way its been reproduced here. Highly disappointing, and not really recommended to DVD lovers who know their digital discs.
on January 7, 2016
So you want to see every blade of grass & each wildflower in that high wide meadow where Julie Andrews sings the opening stanzas of "The Sound of Music"? Well, you finally have it. This blu ray represents a significant advance over the older Fox dvd version. The colors look fresh. And best of all, it nearly fills up the screen. Which is very important for the spectacular picture quality. The earlier regular dvd version on Fox was badly served from being a super wide Todd AO film...the extra width caused it to shrink on screen. With wide black bars on top & bottom taking up nearly 40% of the screen, the effect seemed almost like watching the movie on a 13-inch screen. Now, the picture is much fuller, no matter what kind of tv you watch it on.
This is a pretty spectacular blu ray, but I can still see film grain up close. There is no reason why Fox couldn't have removed this grain, because they just put out a perfect HD copy of "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes"...there was NO grain at all in that blu ray, & the colors were almost blinding at times. If Fox can put out a perfectly clear disc of a 1953 Marilyn Monroe film shot on 35mm, then there is no excuse why the "Sound of Music", a much later 1965 release filmed in 70mm (twice the film width & density of 35mm) shouldn't been at least as good.
Well actually there is an excuse: Unlike "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" which will never be the best seller of all time, the "Sound of Music" is a virtual cash cow for 20th Century Fox (just look at the incredible Amazon sales ranking - #1 Best Seller in Musicals)!! All Fox has to do is keep upgrading the quality, so they can continue selling in the future. Look for a perfect copy when everybody in America has Ultra High Def TV.
The final verdict: Should you get this? Absolutely. It's not perfect yet - the picture quality can still be bettered. But it's as great theater as you'll find out there, anywhere.
on December 13, 2005
Most of you know what the movie is about, so we won't rehash that. While the movie sometimes gets a ribbing for it's too sweet of a story, things aren't always rosy as the family encounters the Nazis. Anyway, Twentieth Century Fox "climbed every mountain, followed every rainbow" and created the two-disc 40th Anniversary Edition DVD of the Oscar-winning film South of Music. The cast reunites for the first time in 20 years to celebrate and share memories, old and new.
Julie Andrews hosts the DVD that contains new documentary material that includes a conversation with Andrews and Christopher Plummer. Andrews talks about the von Trapp family and how their story made it to Broadway and Hollywood. Johannes von Trapp, Plummer, Charmian Carr (Liesl), Wise and others join her. Travel to Salzburg with Carr to see the movie's locales.
You can view the film in two ways - the fully-restored original theatrical feature and an interactive version with a sing-along feature so viewers can watch, listen, and sing-along. The sing-along has subtitles in English, French, and Spanish. The movie comes in widescreen format with surround sound capabilities.
Also included on DVD is a storyboard gallery, a comparison of the restored film, stills from behind-the-scenes, and trailers. Can you imagine Mia Farrow in the role of Maria? Her screen test brings the imagining to life.
The movie is loosely based on the von Trapp family - the documentaries talk about the real family and the differences from the movie. For one, Maria was the strict one, not the Captain. Those interested in such facts get the details.
The movie opens with Andrews' introduction and you can watch it while listening to commentary from the original laserdisc by producer and directory Robert Wise. One caveat - and this is common with most DVDs - the extras are not captioned, only the movie and sing-along. Disc two with most of the extras runs for 203 minutes.
Once having viewed the two discs, few walk away with unanswered questions as it's a thorough piece of work. For those who have an earlier version of the DVD, the extras come with plenty of material not found on the previous releases. However, if you're not into the facts, behind-the-scenes visits, and the people who made the movie; then you won't miss much. South of Music is superb example of what should come on DVD with extras.
on April 30, 2012
Wow who knew I was missing so much of one of my favorite movies since childhood. The Blu-ray version is like seeing it for the first time, seriously. I watched both versions to see if the DVD was missing footage it's such a huge difference. I'm not switching to all Blu-ray I have too big a DVD collection but I'm totally convinced on this movie that it's better! If you love it, you need to see it at it's best. If you haven't seen it watch it on Blu-ray, it'll make you sing along.
on November 27, 2010
If you don't own a Blu-Ray player and like special features, buy this version not the 45th anniversary version.
The DVD for the 45th Anniversary version only has 2 (1 boring and 1 sing-along) special features and no commentaries. All the special features are on Blu-Ray.