After years and years and years of watching The Sound of Music on VHS and DVD, I thought I knew every blade of grass and every gust of wind visible in the movie. How wrong I was! You don't realize how much picture is lost with standard 480p releases until a monumental blu ray transfer like this comes along and provides a home viewing experience that literally feels like seeing the movie for the first time.
As far as I'm concerned, this is the best blu ray I own - and not just because The Sound of Music is probably the greatest movie ever made, but because the picture quality is truly that beautiful. And that makes sense, considering the movie was filmed in 70mm and could contain so much more data than ordinary 35mm. Also, from what I understand, the restoration process was taken extremely seriously and done with the highest technology possible. There's a reason why so many artists are pushing blu ray, and it's because for the first time people can experience their creativity and attention to detail, as it was meant to be seen. There is SO much detail in this movie. Seriously, if you loved this movie before you will have your mouth dropped open the entire time you sit through it in high definition.
And the Audio quality! I didn't even know it was possible to make ancient audio files sound brand new, but it clearly is. Every song sounds 1000000x better than my old CD soundtracks. Add in surround sound... heavenly.
OVERALL: I don't care how many VHS or DVD copies you have of this movie sitting around, you NEED this blu ray. It's not just a restoration, it's a transformation. You cannot have truly experienced The Sound of Music at home until seeing it in 1080p. Not to mention it's cram packed with amazing extras that are actually watchable. In case you can't tell, this BD just makes me so happy. If you appreciate the movie (or bless you, never seen it before) you MUST experience it on BD!
"The Sound of Music", the 1965 20th Century Fox musical which would capture the world with its memorable music and it's touching storyline and continues to have thrived through various generations and will continue to thrive for many generations hereafter.
The film is an adaptation of a popular Broadway play which is based on the memoir "The Story of the Trapp Family Singers" written by Maria von Trapp. The von Trapp family are known for escaping from the Nazis in Austria after the Anschluss (the annexation and occupation of Austria by Nazi Germany in 1938).
The original musical based on the book featured music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II (both Rodgers and Hammerstein were known for their music for "Oklahoma!", "Carousel", "State Fair", "South Pacific", "The King and I" to name a few) which led to the book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. The Broadway production began in 1959 starring Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel and would later inspire a film adaptation in 1965 which was loosely based on the Broadway production and memoir.
The film would become an ultimate success as director Robert Wise (known for "West Side Story" and "The Haunting") would win five Academy Awards for Best Director, William Reynolds for Best Film Editing, Irwin Kostal for Best Music, Scoring of Music, Adaptation or Treatment, Best Picture and Best Sound.
The film would be best known for its wonderful location of Salzburg, Austria (which has inspired an actual "Sound of Music" tour which has been functional for the last 30-years) but most of all, known for its music which include "The Sound of Music", "Edelweiss", "My Favorite Things", "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" and "Do-Re-Mi".
The film which was budgeted at $8.2 million would go on to gross $163 million worldwide. The film would break the record held by "Gone with the Wind" for box office revenue and would also be a film that would be in circulation in theaters for three straight years.
"The Sound of Music" would also continue to become a hit on video as it was released as a five star DVD release in 2000 to celebrate the film's 35th Anniversary, released in 2005 to celebrate the film's 40th Anniversary and now in 2010 on Blu-ray, a limited edition box set and a digital iTunes release to celebrate the film's 45th Anniversary.
"The Sound of Music: 45th Anniversary Edition" is presented in 1080p High Definition (Widescreen 2:20:1), AVC@22 MBPS. This is where "The Sound of Music: 45th Anniversary Edition" literally looks amazing. For those who have owned previous versions of the film on DVD, back in 2005, the film went through restoration using a backup negative of the original 70 mm print. At the time, the original 70mm 6-Track print was so damaged, there was no way to even use the original negative at that time and most of us who watched the 40th Anniversary Edition felt that the film looked absolutely beautiful compared to it's earlier 2000 DVD release.
With that being said, technology has changed within the last five years since the release of the 40th Anniversary. The damaged original 70 mm print that couldn't be used in the restoration of the film in 2005 can now be used for the film with new hardware and software and is now receiving 8K digital scanning by 20th Century Fox for perfect restoration.
No longer is the film hazy, no longer is the film more on the pinkish side. "The Sound of Music: 45th Anniversary Edition" is vibrant. The grass...you can see the various grains of grass, the strands in green, yellow and detail of the mountains over looking Salzburg. I was amazed! Another example, Maria splashing the water before she heads to the von Trapps, you can see the water droplets flying in the air, another one is the von Trapp's uncle and his coat, you can see the wool in his jacket. There is so much detail in this latest version of "The Sound of Music", it's incredible! I am literally speechless because I own previous versions of this film on video and never before have I seen this much clarity in the film ever!
And I find it quite funny for each review I have done for the film, I mention of how the cinematography of William Reynolds was captured perfectly but watching it on Blu-ray, the cinematography... may it be the shots of Maria on the mountain, Maria with the kids on the mountain, the wedding ceremony, etc., I just feel that the cinematography as seen on the 45th Anniversary Edition via the new restoration really captures the beauty of "The Sound of Music" than ever before. Absolutely breathtaking!
Once again, the crew who restored this film...I give your crew a standing ovation...what you were able to accomplish with this film on Blu-ray is absolutely fantastic!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
"The Sound of Music: 45th Anniversary Edition" is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 4.0 Dolby Surround, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and French 5.1 DTS. Because the film was shot with a 6-track and because they were provided with the audio without the dialogue, for this 2010 edition, they were able to remove all noise but also making sure to utilize a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track and as mentioned, I've owned several versions of this film and I even own the soundtrack to this film.
The way this music was handled through the surround channels was amazing. The music and the instruments playing on individual channels was well done. The first thing that came to my mind during sequences of the sisters singing "Maria" to the wedding sequence, the sounds that were utilized through those channels were amazing. Also, they were able to isolate the sound of Salzburg up the hills, the sound of wind, the birds... I was in awe with the lossless soundtrack.
I absolutely love the soundtrack for this film and this is the best I have ever heard of it. If you have a 7.1 setup (center speaker, two fronts, two surrounds, two rear surrounds and your subwoofer), you will definitely be impressed with how alive the music comes as it really sounds beautiful via the soundscape in the home. Once again, I was in awe when I heard the music and I'm sure many people will be just as impressed by it.
Similar to the video restoration, the audio restoration for this 45th anniversary is fantastic! And the crew responsible for the audio restoration for this release should be proud because they did an outstanding job!
Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.
"The Sound of Music: 45th Anniversary Edition" comes with the following special features from the 35th and 40th Anniversary DVD versions of the film but also newer special features that just literally packs this 45th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray release:
* Your Favorite Things: An Interactive Celebration - A new way to watch "The Sound of Music". If you select this option for viewing the movie, you have four categories which you can select interaction with the viewer. One is behind-the-scenes images, the other is viewing with on-screen lyrics, the other is trivia and location quiz. You can select one or all four.
* Audio Commentary: Director Robert Wise - The following audio commentary was originally included in the Five Star Collection (2000) for the 35th Anniversary DVD release. Informative commentary by Wise who gives details on the challenges they had in shooting this film. It's important to note that Wise doesn't do much talking and only does when it is necessary.
* Audio Commentary: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Charmian Carr, choreographer Dee Dee Wood, and the youngest son of Maria von Trapp, Johannes von Trapp - A lively commentary by the five individuals. Although these are separate commentaries recorded in separate times but Julie Andrews definitely gives us a good idea of the sets and various shooting locations. Also, hearing from Plummer of how he doesn't like to work with children but in this case, he got a long with the children quite well. Charmian Carr who plays the character of Liesl talks about playing the oldest teenage daughter at the age of 21.
* Music Machine Sing-Along - Sing-along subtitle tracks which can be seen while watching the film or giving the viewer the ability to select various tracks with the sing-along subtitles.
* Musical Stages: Creating the Sound of Music - This first special feature is actually an interactive "backlot tour" with plenty of in-depth featurettes on the songs, the stage show, the movie, the film and sound restoration and getting to know the real life von Trapp family. Included are:
1. Music in the 21st Century - (8:52) A featurette on the popularity of the film and how the film has influenced pop culture from pop artists such as Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguillera to shows like "The Family Guy" and how many various interpretations of the film have made it onto stage and children's books.
2. Restoring a Classic: Bloom & Grow - (5:44) A featurette on the 8K digital restoration of the film. How during the 2005 45th Anniversary Edition, they were not able to use the original 70 mm negative but in 2010, with new technology they were able to. Before and after scenes and more. Awesome featurette!
3. Edelweiss - (2:28) How the song was created and how Christopher Plummer wanted to sing the song and not be dubbed. We get to see footage of Plummer singing and the dubbed over version.
4. I Have Confidence - (8:06) How the lyrics were changed from the original Rodgers & Hammerstein version by Saul Chaplin and constructing it for the film adaptation.
5. My Favorite Things - (2:47) Why the song was fun and the popularity of the lyrics.
6. Sixteen Going on Seventeen - (2:20) Because Rodgers & Hammerstein know that their lyrics deal with sex, for this film, they had to carefully craft lyrics with slight undertones.
7. After the Escape - (8:43) The true story of how the von Trapps escaped Austria and interviews with Maria von Trapp and the grandchildren.
8. Rodgers & Hammerstein: Partners at it's Peak - (3:53) The popularity of Rodgers & Hammerstein and how they crafted hit after hit.
9. Shaping the Story - (4:50) The original screen adaptation of the von Trapp and the differences between stage and the film adaptation.
10. The von Trapp's Today - (5:48) - How the von Trapp's continue with their grandchildren who have a lodge in Vermont.
11. Climb Ev'ry Mountain - (2:07) The difficult of the lyrics of the song and singing it.
12. Stage vs. Screen - (3:12) A more thorough featurette on the differences between the stage and film adaptation.
13. Maria - (3:03) - The making of the song.
14. The Sound of Music - (2:32) The popularity of the song, how it was Oscar's idea and what inspired him.
15. Maria and the Musical - (5:06) The real life Maria von Trapp and how she got involved with the musical and trying to take a hands off approach to the film (since it differed from the real life story).
16. Cutting Room Floor - (2:50) Three songs from the stage production that were not used on the film.
17. Something Good - (2:17) Rodgers wrote to more songs for the film.
18. The Lonely Goatherd - (2:30) How the song was used in the stage production and how it was incorporated into the film.
19. Do-Re-Mi - (3:31) The popularity of the song and how different it was from the stage production compared to the film version.
20. So Long, Farewell - (1:11) How the song was used in the film.
21. A Generous Heart - (3:54) The life of eldest daughter Maria von Trapp who like her mother, went on to do great things with her generous heart in other countries.
22. Final Dream: Oscar Hammerstein Remembered - (5:51) How "The Sound of Music" was the final show Rodgers & Hammerstein would work together and how he handled his cancer and the short time he had left in the world and how he said goodbye to family and friends and how the song "Edelweiss" was literally Hammerstein's song saying goodbye.
23. Stories from Broadway - (4:19) Stories from the Broadway cast.
24. Restoring a Classic Glorious Sound - (5:31) - Using the 6-Track Master and creating the lossless 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack.
* A City of Song - (34:38) This feature adds an interactive map of Salzburg, Austria. Because so many people have traveled to Salzburg for "The Sound of Music" Tour or to visit the locations shown on the film, this special feature is great as you can select a map and get video to know about the locations, photos and fascinating facts of the area.
* Vintage Programs - Featuring featurettes and documentaries included in the 35th and 40th Anniversary of "The Sound of Music" (note: Most of the special features are in 480p, standard definition):
1. The Sound of Music: From Fact to Phenomenon - (1:27:22) A documentary on the real von Trapp story and how the the film received the green light. Robert Wise talks about casting and cast talk about their involvement in the film and what they wanted for the film.
2. My Favorite Things: Julie Andrews Remembers - (1:03:18) A documentary featuring Julie Andrews remembering "The Sound of Music". From the original pre-production, filming on location, the music and working with the cast and crew. Also, featuring Christopher Plummer, Charmian Carr and those who worked with Julie Andrews as they reminisce about working on "The Sound of Music".
3. Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer: A Reminisce - (19:24) Both Julie Andrews and Christopher Plumber reminisce 40 years later about their involvement in the film and working together.
4. From Liesl to Gretl - (33:33) A reunion of the seven talents who play the Von Trapp children in the film talking about their experience working on the film, hijinks behind-the-camera and mistakes they made that are on the film.
5. Salzburg Sights and Sound - (13:04) Narrated by Charmian Carr. A documentary on her arrival to Salzburg and filming for "The Sound of Music".
6. On Location with the Sound of Music - (22:33) Charmian Carr hosts a documentary on Salzburg and visiting the locations where the film was shot.
7. When You Know the Notes to Sing - A Sing-Along Phenomenon - (12:50) The 40th Anniversary sing-along screening at the Hollywood Bowl for "The Sound of Music".
8. Rodgers and Hammerstein: The Sound of American Music, 1985 - (1:23:25) Popular Broadway talent Mary Martin hosts a documentary on Rodgers and Hammerstein, the history and hits of this dynamic duo and their work on "Oklahoma", "Carousel", "Flower Drum Song", "The King and I" and "The Sound of Music".
9. Rodgers and Hammerstein: The Sound of Music, 1996 - (1:36:36) A documentary on Rodgers and Hammerstein's successful music in film hosted by Shirley Jones and guests Rita Moreno, Nancy Kwann, Charmian Carr and Julie Andrews as they comment on the films they worked on that featured music by Rodgers and Hammerstein.
10. Audio Interviews: Location Interviews - Featuring audio interviews with Julie Andrews (11:48), Christopher Plummer (5:15) and Peggy Wood (8:34)
11. Audio Interview: Reissue Interview with Julie Andrews and Robert Wise from 1973 - (7:48)
12. Audio Interview: A Telegram from Daniel Truhitte - (13:02) Daniel Truhitte reminisce about playing the part of Rolfe.
13. Audio Interview: Ernest Lehman: Master Storyteller - (34:56) An audio interview with Ernest Lehman.
* Rare Treasures - Featuring programs from TV shows related to"The Sound of Music":
1. Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall: The Pratt Family Singers - (6:41) A parody of the musical shown on the 1962 CBS special starring Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett.
2. The Julie Andrews Hour: Julie Andrews and Maria von Trapp - (16:33) A segment from 1973 featuring Julie Andrews and Maria von Trapp. Featuring performances by both women and also Julie Andrews interviewing Maria von Trapp.
3. Screen Tests - (26:13) The 1999 AMC "Hollywood Screen Tests" of The Sound of Music. Various screen tests featuring auditions for "The Sound of Music" in which talent such as Richard Dreyfuss, Mia Farrow, Leslie Ann Warren, Kurt Russel and more auditioned but Robert Wise talks about what he wanted and that was more family quality and the family becoming believable.
4. 40th Anniversary DVD Intro by Julie Andrews - (2:10) The original DVD intro by Julie Andrews included in the 2005 40th Anniversary DVD release.
5. Galleries - Featuring concept art, storyboards and still photos from the film. Using your remote, you can cycle through images for "What Will My Future Be? (Pre-Production)", "Facing Adventure (Production) and "A Grand and Glorious Party (Promotion and Publicity)".
* Publicity - Featuring various publicity, trailer and TV spots for "The Sound of Music":
* Fox Movietone News Academy Awards Footage - (2:45) Featuring Julie Andrews on the red carpet of the 38th Annual Academy Awards and footage of Andrews and the Academy Award winners for the film.
* Trailers and Teasers - Featuring the following trailers: Teaser Preview (1:28, Dec. 1964), General Release Preview (4:00, 1965), Academy Awards Preview (4:24, April 1966), First Anniversary Preview, :50, May 1966), Release Preview (4:01, Dec. 1972), Release Preview - Alternate Soundtrack (4:01, Dec. 1962), Testimonial Trailer (2:22).
* TV Spots - (1:23) Featuring the 60-second reissue TV spot (March 1973), 30-second Reissue TV Spot (March 1973).
* Radio Spots - Featuring the following radio spots: 60 Second Reserve Seat Engagement, 60 Second 1973 Reissue, 30 Second Reserve Seat Engagement, 30 Second 1973 Reissue.
"The Sound of Music: 45th Anniversary Edition" comes with a DVD version of the feature film which is presented in 2:20:1, widescreen. Audio in English 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound, English 4.0 Dolby Surround, Spanish Dolby Surround and French Dolby Surround. Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish. Also, included is a slip-over cover case.
I literally grew up in a household where "The Sound of Music" played and to tell you the truth, when I was younger, I really couldn't stand the musical as my mother would sing the songs over and over again. But as I got older and I began watching more classic films, I found myself watching "The Sound of Music" around 1990 or so and I ended up purchasing the soundtrack for the film on cassette. When I visited my mother, I ended up playing the cassette and in a very long time, I heard her sing the songs once again.
When I got married, I was amazed that my wife knew the lyrics also by heart and by the birth of our son, to help calm him, she would sing "My Favorite Things". Needless to say, the music of "The Sound of Music" has been part of me during my childhood and I have no doubt that with my wife and son, it will continue on to the next generation.
As for the film, I have watched and owned various incarnations of this film on video and I have purchased the five star edition of the movie on DVD in 2000 and I clearly felt that the 40th Anniversary 2005 release was just unprecedented. I felt that it was the ultimate release and I figured, if it was on Blu-ray, it would be an HD version of the film and the same special features. But I was wrong. Twentieth Century Fox has given fans of the film the ultimate release with "The Sound of Music: 45th Anniversary Edition".
Not only do we get another restoration of the film using the original 70 mm negative and now presented in 1080p High Definition, we get a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless soundtrack which sounds incredible! Just the fact that the film looks and sounds better is significant. The colors just pop! It's hard to describe of how awesome this film looks on Blu-ray compared to previous video releases. In the past, there was always this dreamy, hazy look to the film. Though it was colorful, I have always thought that was how the film was shot. And the opening scene with Julie Andrews on top of the hill spinning around, I always thought that was a beautiful shot... that was until I saw this 45th Anniversary Edition and everything that I have thought about the look of the film has went out the window because this presentation is just amazing! I felt the old colors always had a greenish/pinkish tinge but now, the colors look accurate. Blue skies look vibrantly blue and no pinkish haze on the background. Grass and hills are still green but now we can see the strands of grass quite clearly, more than ever before.
The blues of Julie Andrews and Charmian Carr's eyes just captures your attention, the detail of Captain von Trapp's home or the clothing is detail that is much more cleaner and more evident than ever before. Only one time in the film is where things do look a bit faux is when the Captain, the Baroness and Uncle Max are driving and of course, you see the usual fake background and that scene, you're not going to get much realism but for the most part, the film looks amazing.
And as mentioned, the sound...I've listened to this soundtrack so many times but to hear it in 7.1 and hear of how the instruments were carefully selected for various channels, for those who have a 7.1 setup, you can't help but be happy of how nice this soundtrack comes in DTS-HD! Again, awesome!
And just when you think that was it, there are literally hours and hours of special features included in this release of "The Sound of Music: 45th Anniversary Edition". It took me two days or so just to go through everything and watch everything and once again, I thought the 40th Anniversary Edition was significant, but this 45th Anniversary edition just blows it out of the water. Various documentaries, commentary, various featuretttes, audio interviews and more! And I can't even imagine what 20th Century Fox will do for the 50th Anniversary Edition but I do have one request and that would be to record the live sing-along for the film and give people a chance to select it as an optional soundtrack to watch the film and sing-along with those thousands of people (like the 18,000 or so that showed up to the Hollywood Bowl). That would be awesome!
And I need to go back to the restoration and to say that if Twentieth Century Fox now has the technology in 2010 to take damaged negatives and are able to repair it to the point where they can re-use the film for a master in a Blu-ray release, that literally makes me extremely giddy and happy because that means a lot of those wonderful classic films in their catalog can receive a wonderful Blu-ray release using this technology. I'm very impressed with this release and I look forward to the potential of what this can mean for classic films on Blu-ray from Twentieth Century Fox.
With that being said, for the very hardcore fans of "The Sound of Music", for this 45th Anniversary release, you also have the opportunity to get the Limited Collector's set packaged in a keepsake box and features a 100-page "My Favorite Things" scrapbook, a 45th Anniversary Soundtrack, a reproduction of the original 1965 souvenir program, an exclusive handpainted "My Favorite Things" music box and more. And for those people who prefer all things digital, on November 2nd will also include a digital release on iTunes of "The Sound of Music: 45th Anniversary Edition" which includes a sing-along version of the movie and 180-minutes of behind-the-scenes material.
Once again, I was shocked when I watched this release because I had no idea how much went into the restoration of the film for this 45th Anniversary edition because they just did one for the 40th Anniversary. But the fact that they have the technology and that they were given a chance to do give this film a new restoration using the latest technology was impressive. The addition of all this bonus material for the Blu-ray release is magnificent and the fact that this entire Blu-ray release of "The Sound of Music: 45th Anniversary Edition" just raises the bar of what a studio can accomplish for a classic film.
Overall, this is a fantastic release of "The Sound of Music" and if you are a big fan, whether you get this version or the Limited Edition version, all I can say is that this is the definitive version to own that just stands out from its previous video releases in quality and quantity. Great music, great story, musical performances, cinematography and just a wonderful family film. Sure, it may be a bit too saccharine sweet for today's audience (or too long) but for those who have never watched this film ever, please give it a try.
This is a perfect release in every category and easily deserving of five stars! "The Sound of Music: 45th Anniversary Edition" is highly recommended!
on November 2, 2010
WOW...that's all I can say. I've been waiting for this one to come out on Blu-ray for quite awhile...and I can truly say, it was worth the wait. Finally, this movie looks like it did in the theater...the colors, details and clarity are amazing...This movie has never looked good on VHS, Laserdisc OR DVD...Finally Blu-ray does it justice. Kudo's to FOX for giving this such a nice treatment. I just bought my copy and watched it all the way through...was only going to watch bits but got caught up all over again in the magic. I even put in the DVD and jumped back and forth to compare...and there just wasn't anything to compare...the Blu-ray blows the old copy away. Just watch the scenes of Do-Re-Mi or the Church Wedding scene and be amazed by what Blu-ray can do...the details in the church are stunning...every detail from the carpet to the candles and gold backgrounds just stand out perfectly...looks as close to the print I saw in the theater last year as I've ever seen...For all those that think only new movies can look good on blu-ray, just look at how wonderful this 45 year old movie looks!!! If you have any doubts about this one...Don't...Run right now and pick it up...you will be glad you did.
on September 7, 2000
Reviled by some, beloved by many, consistently referred to as the most popular movie musical ever made, THE SOUND OF MUSIC more than fulfills the promise of its beautiful visuals and expert song numbers on home video via DVD. This edition tops the 1995 laserdisc by allowing the sparkling, exemplary design of its 70mm. Todd-AO frame to be exhibited with increased sharpness and resolution. The 4.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack is powerful and clean, but since this film was originally mixed for six-track magnetic stereo, it's curious why the effort wasn't made by Fox to split the surrounds! Nonethless, the film sounds terrific. The extra features make this package a bargain at the price. Full length commentary by director Bob Wise, with the musical numbers presented sans vocals, is a great touch. And the two documentaries are beautifully presented; full of facts and bits of arcane information that any fan will truly enjoy. A great movie, and a great DVD rendition. More like this, PLEASE!
on September 7, 2000
Although this picture has had numerous home video releases over the years from tape to laserdisc, this new DVD version is easily the best to date, offering a crisp, clear, pristine wide screen transfer that looks like it was filmed only hours ago, along with an excellent surround sound mix that is far superior to any previous release, 70mm six track theatrical prints included. The supplemental disc offers documentaries and enough extras to satisfy any Sound of Music junkie.
The feature disc offers an audio commentary by director Robert Wise that is quite interesting and informative, but repeats much of the same information included in the documentary. Parts of it seem a bit rushed, perhaps because he doesn't speak over any of the musical sequences, which are presented without vocals to highlight the orchestral arrangements and allow one the opportunity to sing along. Wise points out where songs that were deleted or moved would have gone as compared to the original stage show, and one can see how such changes made the film adaptation superior. He also explains the technical aspects of shooting on location and how location shots were seamlessly matched with footage shot back in L.A. on stages. There were also a couple of scenes that were shot but later cut--it makes you wish they had included these outtakes on the supplemental disc of extras. There are some gaps in the commentary where only the movie plays--leaving you a bit hungry for more interesting anecdotes from Mr. Wise, but after over 35 years I guess his memory is as good as can be expected.
The French audio track is fun--How strange to hear the familiar songs in French--not an easy task to translate a song like Do Re Mi which seems it wouldn't make sense in any language other than English. They did an excellent dubbing job--the voices are quite similar to the original actors' voices, and the woman dubbing for Julie Andrews holds her own.
The 35 minute audio spot by screenwriter Ernest Lehman is extremely interesting, giving you a taste of what went on behind the scenes in the development of the production, from William Wyler's indifference to the film he agreed to direct despite hating the Broadway show, and prospective director Gene Kelly kicking Mr. Lehman out of his house and telling him to "shove" his screenplay.
Actor Dan Truhitte also provides an "audio telegram" detailing his experience winning the part of Rolf and some personal anecdotes. But all we hear is his voice--a still picture of his present-day self would have been a nice touch.
We also get some sound bytes of old radio interviews that are typical PR fluff but still an interesting time capsule. The video of theatrical trailers and TV spots is interesting but repetitive. They are almost all the same, with only subtle changes. For those interested in the location there is even a brief but detailed written history of Salzburg.
All in all, this has to rate as one of the best and most complete DVDs ever released (despite those missing outtakes!) Fox did a terrific job, and should be commended for NOT offering the inferior pan and scan version of the picture usually shown on TV. This is one of those wide screen masterpieces that lose a lot when the original aspect ratio is altered. A must for all film collectors and Sound of Music fanatics alike.
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.
This lovely new 40th Anniversary 2-disc edition of THE SOUND OF MUSIC is a real treat. But, for those in a quandry about buying yet another DVD release of the film (following the "Five Star" 2-disc edition), I say, buy this version but keep the old one too, because it has some great extras that were not ported onto this new edition (more about that later).
THE SOUND OF MUSIC is of course based on the long-running 1959 hit Broadway musical that originally starred Mary Martin. The musical was inspired by a Geman film called "Die Trapp Famile", based on the book by Maria Augusta Trapp. The story is as well-known as those hills that truly did come alive with the sound of music: Maria (Julie Andrews) is a postulant nun at the Nonnberg Abbey in Salzburg circa 1938. The Mother Abbess (Peggy Wood) becomes well-aware that the spirited Maria is hardly suited to the cloistered life of a nun. So Maria is assigned as governess to the seven children of an autocratic widower, Captain Georg von Trapp (Christopher Plummer). Like a breath of fresh mountain air, Maria transforms the children and eventually steals the Captain's heart away from a worldly Baroness (Eleanor Parker). But the Nazi Anschluss is coming, and the family's safety is under threat...
This new DVD contains a wealth of new bonus material including :
"Audio Commentary" - brand new commentary track with Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, choreographer Dee Dee Wood and Charmian Carr amongst others. The Robert Wise director commentary (from the "5 Star" release) is also included.
"A Few of My Favourite Things" - Julie Andrews hosts this generous-length documentary which features new interviews with key cast and production team members, some rare photos, footage from behind the scenes and more.
"Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer: A Reminiscence" - Julie and Chris sit down and share their memories from the film.
"From Liesl to Gretl: A 40th Anniversary Reunion" - This is something truly special. This segment reunites all seven von Trapp children to share their own memories and talk about the film. With Charmian Carr (Liesl), Nicholas Hammond (Friedrich), Heather Menzies (Louisa), Duane Chase (Kurt), Angela Cartwright (Brigitta), Debbie Turner (Marta) and Kym Karath (Gretl).
"On Location with The Sound of Music" - Charmian Carr takes us on a personally-guided tour of Salzburg, taking in the historical sites as well as the locations featured in the film. This is a cute update on "Salzburg Sights and Sounds", which Carr made as a featurette during production of SOM in 1965 (and which can be found on the "5 Star" release).
"When You Know the Notes to Sing: A Sing-Along Phenomenon" - This takes a look behind the scenes during the 40th Anniversary "Sing-Along a-Sound of Music" screening held at the Hollywood Bowl with an audience of over 18,00 people. The "Sing Along" version of the film has taken off all over the world, and this featurette gives you a definite flavour of one.
"The von Trapp Family: Harmony and Discord" - This is the fantastic `Biography' episode which takes an in-depth look at the real von Trapp clan. We learn that the real Maria was a far more flawed and fallible human being than we ever saw in "Sound of Music", and also the shocking fact that infamous Himmler took over the von Trapp villa shortly after their exit from Salzburg. Featuring interviews with several of the real von Trapp children.
"Mia Farrow screen test" - A fascinating look at the girl who might have played Liesl if Charmian Carr was never cast in the role. Farrow sings a brief section of "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" in a blonde wig. Lesley Ann Warren also auditioned for the role (she appeared in the title role of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" instead), but it might have been nice to have had Lesley's screen test also. Oh well...
"Restoration comparison" - Compares a 1993 print of the film with the new 40th Anniversary restored print.
There are also copious trailers and galleries to watch and explore.
The "Five Star" double disc set also included the fabulous doco "From Fact to Phenomenon", and that is the main reason why I'll keep my old DVD alongside this new version. I recommend that all fans purchase this new edition, if only for the reunion featurette. For those who have yet to buy SOM in digital format, this release is a no-brainer.
on November 3, 2010
This Blu-ray edition is simply the best the film has ever looked on disc. For the Blu-ray the makers went back to the original negative, which was too damaged to use previously, using new restoration techniques. The detail in the picture is just amazing, it's a whole new experience. The sound restoration is remarkable, it's deep and rich and full. Fox have really gone to town with the extras not only do we get all the extras from previous editions but a host of new and rare items to make an astonishing collection. This is one of the best Blu-ray editions yet.
The Sound of Music has always been a superlative film. Every aspect of the film work. The locations, the music, the script the direction and the acting all came together at just the right time to create this film. The jewel in the crown is Julie Andrews, one of the greatest musical performances ever.
A magnificent film presented in a breathtaking edition.
on November 4, 2010
As a big fan of the movie I waited a bit nervously to see the results of the latest restoration of the Sound of Music. Past restorations have fallen quite short, slapping this classic in the face with everything from horrible skin tones to seemingly "jumping" color palettes mid-shot.
It's truly breathtaking the images, clarity and vividness they were able to restore from not just the picture, but the audio as well. The small details that really come through now let you get fully immersed in this film. Even the standard DVD included, while obviously not as sharp or stunning as the blu-ray, is a far better release then the last restoration. This latest edition finally does the justice this classic film deserves.
Do yourself a favor and add this to your movie library.
on March 6, 2000
While I greatly appreciate it for its superior cinematic qualities, The Sound of Music is also special to me for other reasons. I first saw it as a six-year-old in New Zealand in early 1966; it was the second full-length feature film that my parents had taken me to see (the first having been what could be considered its twin, Mary Poppins). My impressions of the film back then were so vivid that even today I can still remember exactly what I felt during most of it. I remember seeing the backdrops of Salzburg and the Alps hugely sprawled across the cinema screen and wondering where these fantastically beautiful places were, and whether one day I would be able to see them for myself. My father bought the soundtrack LP, and of course the songs inevitably became ingrained in my memory. Years later, I felt the desire to tour Europe, as Australasians do, and was unexpectedly offered work near Munich. Since then, I have often hiked in the Bavarian and Austrian Alps and made the day trip from Munich to Salzburg, and, not surprisingly, my thoughts drifted back to the film that first drew my attention to the region long ago.
When I see SoM today, I am struck by its epic sweep, stunningly beautiful photography and lighting, those somehow unforgettable songs, and its intense, sometimes pensive loveliness and sweetness of tone, something that has become increasingly rare in modern cinema. True, the film is perhaps a bit too sugary at times, but, in view of its overwhelming positive attributes, not enough to really matter. I was surprised to see that it is unavailable to buy in the U.S. just now - so here are two tips in the meantime for true devotees, just for fun:
1) For the sake of sheer curiosity, try to see the original German film on which SoM is partially based, Die Trapp Familie (1956). At the least, excerpts of both this film and its sequel, Die Trapp Familie in Amerika (1958), are available in the U.S. as a dubbed compilation (which, like the sequel, I haven't seen), although I strongly suspect a full-length, subtitled version of the original would be preferable. It is a fascinating experience to watch this modest, but quite well written and acted, pleasantly old-fashioned "Heimatfilm" ("heartland" film), little known abroad, when you know what it helped to inspire. (Georg Hurdalek, who wrote the screenplay, is given due credit in SoM's opening titles.) It is very different in style to SoM. Strictly speaking it is not a true musical, though there are the expected traditional folk songs instead of Rodgers and Hammerstein. Its tone is much more restrained and naturalistic, really quite underwhelming by comparison. Many of the characters, including the children, are different, although some still have their obvious counterparts in SoM. To be fair, as might be expected, Die Trapp Familie is more authentically Central European. SoM, while to my mind far superior and infinitely more spectacular, is unavoidably anglicized to an extent, with its mostly British or North American actors (manner and body language!), and, as a musical, its story line is in any case more stylized. It is especially fascinating to see how many sequences, camera shots, and even pieces of dialogue in Die Trapp Familie were later used in SoM with comparatively little modification. The line "When the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window" (in German) is just one example, and numerous sequences, including Maria's scenes with the Mother Abbess, her departure from the Abbey and first meeting with the family, and the wedding will be instantly familiar to anyone who has seen SoM. In particular, the scene in which the children come into Maria's bedroom, frightened by the thunderstorm, is almost identical in both films.
If you see Die Trapp Familie, ponder the bewildering fact that this, if any, and not SoM, is the film that a great many Germans associate with the story of the Trapps. Unlike Die Trapp Familie, at the time of its release Germany's most successful postwar film at the box-office, SoM flopped here and now never even seems to be shown on national television - presumably, the Germans were too fond of their own film and couldn't relate to a "Hollywood remake." When talking to people here, I have generally met with the same response: most of whom I've asked (even in Bavaria) had never even heard of SoM before (!), let alone seen it, although the film is known to some enthusiasts and to those who have otherwise come across it by chance, and is occasionally mentioned in the press. Given its truly universal renown elsewhere, and the Germans' enthusiasm for Hollywood movies in particular, this is quite remarkable, even considering that Rodgers and Hammerstein aren't as well known here either. SoM has an understandably higher profile in neighboring Austria though, since the film was set and partially made there and draws many tourists to Salzburg each year. Here, I have shown SoM to a number of unsuspecting German friends who I thought might enjoy it and have watched their eyes glued to the screen growing wider and wider and wider and wider and wider... (For some reason, the puppet theater and the song "Edelweiss" go down particularly well...)
2) The official SoM website is a mine of information, but for an extra treat, don't miss Angela Cartwright's (Brigitta) own delightful and very personal website. Look at page 2 of her scrapbook (be sure to click on "What are the `Sound of Music kids' doing now?") and her December 1998 news update in particular.
I am fond of many different film genres, but for me, The Sound of Music remains unquestionably one of the most consistently entertaining, enjoyable, and enduring of all the big Hollywood classics, despite some excessive sentimentality. Now, it is a fond childhood memory come back into the present; looks like I'll still be watching it when I'm old and gray.