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The Sound of Music (Two-Disc 40th Anniversary Special Edition)
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Read our interview with
Charmian Carr, who played
Liesl von Trapp in The
Sound of Music.
As if the direct involvement of Julie Andrews weren't enough, the 40th Anniversary Edition of The Sound of Music is a must-have for fans because of the fond sense of nostalgia that will touch all but the worst cynic's heart. Andrews introduces both discs and contributes a commentary track on the film. It's a joy to hear her speak about the film (for example, she explains how she solved her dislike for the lyrics of "I Have Confidence"), and also heard are remarks by Christopher Plummer (who at one point refers to his being 48, which if true would mean his comments were made in about 1975), Charmian Carr (Liesl), choreographer Dee Dee Wood, and Johannes Von Trapp (the real-life Maria Von Trapp's youngest son, who admits that his father did have a whistle but claims that he was not as stern as portrayed in the film). Even with all those people involved, there are still significant gaps of silence, however. Retained from the previous two-disc editions is the commentary track by director Robert Wise, which during the musical numbers becomes an isolated score with no vocals. Also new are sing-along subtitles in English, Spanish, and French, which allow you to have your own sing-along at home. In addition, the film's remastering shows off a truer and much warmer sense of color.
On the second disc, Andrews participates in a new 63-minute documentary "My Favorite Things: Julie Andrews Remembers." But it's really a general making-of documentary with contributions from a number of principals, including director Robert Wise, who died in mid-2005 (not surprisingly, some stories are repeated from the commentary track and from the 87-minute documentary on the previous DVD). Andrews also shares a warm 19-minute sit-down with Christopher Plummer. Carr, who over the years has become the film's biggest advocate, narrates a new 22-minute documentary, "On Location with The Sound of Music," in which she revisits the places in Salzburg where the movie was filmed, and even joins one of the "Sound of Music tours" that have become a booming industry. And acknowledging another big industry, there's a 12-minute featurette on the sing-along phenomenon, focusing specifically on the audience, costumed and otherwise, that attended a sold-out Hollywood Bowl sing-along in 2005. Making special appearances at the event are four von Trapp great-grandchildren and all seven of the actors who played the children. Thankfully, those actors also appear in a 33-minute documentary "From Liesl to Gretl: A 40th Anniversary Reunion," in which they explain what they do now (many are still in show business) and share stories about the film, who was afraid of Christopher Plummer, and what they feel is their responsibility to the film's passionate fans. What's touching is how the group still considers themselves a family so many years later. Other material includes an A&E documentary on the von Trapps, Mia Farrow's screen test for the Liesl role, and a restoration comparison.
If you already own the previous two-disc editions, you'll want this 40th Anniversary Edition as well, but you might not want to toss those versions. Probably the most significant omission from this edition is the original 14-minute documentary Charmian Carr made in 1967, "Salzburg Sight and Sound." Carr's new documentary includes only a couple clips from the vintage piece. It's not a great work of art, but it's a notable loss and would have made a good contrast with the new documentary. In addition, the new making-of documentary is about 24 minutes shorter than the old one. Also missing are the audio-only features--the interviews, the radio programs, the Ernest Lehman spotlight--and the historical still gallery examining the history of Salzburg and the film. Granted, this material probably got the least play of any of the old features, but completists might want to hold onto their old discs for it. It would have also been nice to have screen tests other than Farrow's. Tests for all the children and for Christopher Plummer (including singing in his own voice before he was dubbed for the film) were included on Hollywood Screen Tests and Rodgers and Hammerstein: The Sound of Movies. Again, they're not critical but it would have been nice to have them all in one place. So maybe the 40th Anniversary Edition isn't the complete package on The Sound of Music, but it's the most satisfying edition yet, with enough new material to please even the veteran SoM DVD watcher. --David Horiuchi
Stills from The Sound of Music (Click for larger image)
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Top Customer Reviews
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 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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fantastic film, beautiful digital quality. It needs to be good because we are required to watch it at least once per week due to our 3 yr. Read morePublished 23 hours ago by Jansk
It's a classic. Bought the film to show my prek class. We've been watching it in 5-8 min intervals. We have a long way to go but I want to introduce them to the culture and wit and... Read morePublished 1 day ago by Avid reader
What more can be said about one of the finest family movies ever made. I still enjoy it after 50 yrs.Published 5 days ago by Amazon Customer
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