The Sound Of Music 50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Review

As a kid growing up, my father would play the soundtrack (in record format) to THE SOUND OF MUSIC regularly. While I always enjoyed the movie and music, I kept my cool, holding the singing to a minimum. It wasn’t until I was older where I found myself unknowingly singing the songs aloud on a regular basis freaking out friends and roommates. Fast forward to recently watching THE SOUND OF MUSIC 50th Anniversary Ultimate Collection Edition with my one-year old daughter and my love increases even more. My daughter, who for the most part thankfully, hasn’t paid much attention to the television set, became entranced. We had started it as she was going through her bedtime routine, she stopped eating and stared at the TV. She didn’t laugh, cry or smile, but she did focus. The hypnotic voice of Julie Andrews pleased my daughter and has now become a go to for relaxing a cranky baby. My wife and I have made it a regular practice to theatrically sing “Do-Re-Mi” or “The Lonely Goatherd” (quite poorly I might add) in order to keep our little firecracker calm while changing her diaper.

Julie Andrew in The Sound of Music

Clearly, the film has affected my life personally but that is an attribute to the quality of the story and music. Loosely based on the true story of the Trapp Family Singers who fled from Austria as the German Nazi’s marched through their home country, THE SOUND OF MUSIC was first a broadway musical. Maria (Julie Andrews) is in the early stages of becoming a nun but despite her good-natured personality, Maria’s imaginative free spirit conflicts with the structured works of the convent. Mother Abbess (Peggy Wood) sends Maria to be a governess to the seven children, Liesl (Charmian Carr), Louisa (Heather Mezies-Urich), Friedrich (Nicholas Hammond), Kurt (Duane Chase), Brigitta (Angela Cartwright), Marta (Debbie Turner), and Gretl (Kym Karath), of a Naval officer widower, Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer). His rigid rules keep the kids emotionally estranged from their father and a terror for every short-lived governess prior to Maria. But Maria is sure that God put her there for the sole purpose to help the children and to once again bring music into their lives. However, God’s perfect will for Maria will play a much larger role than she suspects.

Julie Andrew in The Sound of Music

The greatest aspect of the film might be the strong faith-based material, providing love through kindness during hardships. Ultimately, outside of the Nazis, the characters are honest and good even when they might be the cause of conflict. While the story is naturally miraculous like so many great ones we’ve heard and seen before, THE SOUND OF MUSIC credits the hand of God in a way that can reach everyone without being preachy. The overall positive feeling from the Robert Wise directed film can be accredited to the beautiful locations, the exquisite Julie Andrews and the marvelously singable music from Rodgers and Hammerstein, perfectly represented in the song, “I Have Confidence.”

Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music

Nominated for ten Academy Awards and winning five for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Sound, Best Editing, and Best Score, THE SOUND OF MUSIC was also number 55 on AFI’s top 100 Years… 100 Movies in 1997 and then bumped up to number 40 in AFI’s updated 10th Anniversary Edition in 2007.

Needless to say, I have very fond memories of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, which might make me a bit biased. However, watching the 1965 musical again in all its digitally remastered glory, I can safely say it holds up amazingly well as a truly great film with strong moral themes and quite possibly as the best musical in history. Perhaps even as one of “My Favorite Things.”

BLU-RAY REVIEW

Video: (MPEG-4 AVC, 1080p 2.20:1) An amazing transfer that perfects the image of the film in the clean colorful way it was meant to be viewed.

Audio: (DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1) Again, the audio is absolutely pristine and sounds beautifully.

DISC 1

Your Favorite Things – An Interactive Celebration: Three options to play while watching the film: Making Music: A Journey in Images, which consists of storyboards and pictures. The Sing-Along Experience, which works as a karaoke-style viewing. Where Was it Filmed?, which is a fun little multiple choice quiz.

Music Machine (58:02): This features allows you to skip ahead to all the musical moments.

Sing-Along (54:22): Similar to Music Machine, you can sing along with the songs as they play consecutively.

Audio Commentary with Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Charmian Carr, Choreographer Dee Dee Wood, and Johannes von Trapp: These are separate interviews that are spliced together and put over the top of the film to give the feel of a commentary, while not actually being a true commentary. They do give interesting anecdotes about making the film, the most coming from Julie Andrews.

Audio Commentary with director Robert Wise: A much more in depth view of the film giving technical recounts while also highlighting all the wonderful background sound effects and instrumental music without any dialogue or vocals. The commentary comes in and out through sections so you can have the opportunity to listen to the beautiful sounds from the film.

BD-Live Exclusive: Laura Benanti on The Sound of Music (3:33)

Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music

DISC 2

Musical Stages: The menu explores the foyer of the Von Trapp home. From here you can choose from a variety of insightful featurettes covering the music and production of the film.
• Maria in the 21st Century (6:52)
• Restoring a Classic: Bloom and Grow Forever (5:54)
• Edelweiss (2:28)
• I Have Confidence (3:09)
• My Favorite Things (2:47)
• Sixteen Going on Seventeen (2:20)
• After the Escape (8:43)
• R&H: Partnership at its Peak (3:43)
• Shaping the Story (4:50)
• The Von Trapps Today (5:48)
• Climb Ev’ry Mountain (2:07)
• Stage vs. Screen (3:12)
• Maria (3:03)
• The Sound of Music (2:32)
• Maria and the Musical (5:06)
• Cutting Room Floor (2:50)
• Something Good (2:17)
• The Lonely Goatherd (2:30)
• Do-Re-Mi (3:31)
• So Long, Farewell (1:11)
• A Generous Heart (3:54)
• Final Dream: Oscar Hammerstein Remembered (5:51)
• Stories from Broadway (4:19)
• Restoring a Classic: A Glorious Sound (5:31)

A City of Song: The interactive menu is a map of Salzburg where you choose an area and access, video clips, fascinating facts, and photos from each location.
• Mellweg: Maria’s Mountain (2:26)
• Nonnberg: Maria’s Abbey (2:42)
• Residenzplatz: Scenes of Joy and Sorrow (2:23)
• Siegmundplatz: The Horse Pond (1:26)
• von Trapp Villa: A Place of Harmony (:43)
• Frohnburg: A Facade Fit for Hollywood (1:36)
• Gazebo: A New Home at Hellbrunn (1:48)
• Mozartsteg – A Bridge to the Past (1:19)
• Werfen: Planning a Picnic (1:39)
• Winkler Terrace: The Ultimate View (1:29)
• Mirabell Gardens: Do-Re-Mi-rabell (2:10)
• Leopoldskron: Story of a Lake (1:49)
• Salzburg Marionette Theatre: Pulling Strings (2:54)
• Mondsee Cathedral: A Marriage of Fact and Fiction (2:27)
• Rock Riding School: Staging a Festival (2:23)
• St. Peter’s Cemetery: Safe Haven (1:33)
• Rossfeld: A Dangerous Escape (1:02)
• The Sound of Music Tour: A Living Story (2:40)

Vintage Programs: These are far more extensive documentaries and features that have appeared on previous DVD releases. Lengthy inside looks at many aspects from the making of the film.
• The Sound of Music: From Fact to Phenomenon (1:27:22)
• My Favorite Things: Julie Andrews Remembers (1:03:18)
• Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer: A Reminiscence (19:24)
• From Liesl to Gretl (33:33)
• Salzburg Sight and Sound (13:04)
• On Location with The Sound of Music (22:33)
• When You Know the Notes to Sing: A Sing-Along Phenomenon (12:50)
• Rodgers and Hammerstein: The sound of American Music (1:23:25)
• Rodgers and Hammerstein: The Sound of Movies, 1996 (1:36:36)
• Location Interviews (audio only, 11:49)
• Reissue Interview with Julie Andrews and Robert Wise, 1973 (audio only, 7:46)
• A Telegram from Daniel Truhitte (audio only, 33:56)
• Ernest Lehman: Master Storyteller (audio only, 34:56)

Rare Treasures
• Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall: The Pratt Family Singers (6:41)
• The Julie Andrews Hour: Julie Andrews and Maria von Trapp (16:33)
• Screen Tests (26:13)
• 40th Anniversary DVD Introduction by Julie Andrews (2:10)
• Pre-production, Production, and Publicity Galleries

Publicity
• Fox Movietone and News Academy Awards (2:46)
• Trailers and Teasers (20:35)
• TV Spots (1:23)
• Radio Spots (1:00)

DISC 3

The Sound of a City: Julie Andrews Returns to Salzburg (49:47): Hosted by the always enchanting Julie Andrews, this is a tour of sorts of many of the film’s locations and places visited by the real Von Trapp family. Andrews explores the places, providing interesting information and her thoughts as she goes along.
• Welcome to Salzburg
• From Broadway to Salbzurg
• Mirabell Gardens
• Nonnberg Abbey
• Winkler Terrace
• Frohnburg
• The Real von Trapps
• Leopoldskron / The Venetian Room
• Conversation by the Lake
• Salzburg Marionette Theater
• Touring Salzburg
• The Gazebo
• Mondsee
• Meeting Maria
• Hotel Sacher / Julie Looks Back
• Final Thoughts

DISC 4

DVD Feature Film and Special Features
• The Sound of Music Tour – A Living Story
• Sing – Along
• Music Machine

Disc 5

CD: 50th Anniversary Soundtrack: An excellent and very useful addition as I have already played the soundtrack several times over. I am so very thankful of the inclusions of the CD as it is an easy way to distract my child and is enjoyable for the whole family.

OVERALL 5
    MOVIE REVIEW
    BLU-RAY REVIEW

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