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The Sound Of Music (2 Disc Special Edition) [1965] - £6.98

Customer reviews (av rating: 4.5):

Rating: 5:
40 years on and they're still alive with the sound of music : Maria and the Von Trapp children still sound good after all these years. There can hardly be a person on the planet who either owns a television or lives within 20 miles of a cinema and who doesn't know the story of The Sound of Music. Although I haven't been a fan of musicals until quite recently, I did watch and enjoy this film when I was a child, several decades ago. It's great fun and I can quite understand its popularity. Watching it again was lovely and very nostalgic. The restoration people have made a fine job so that the picture and sound quality are excellent. The special features are a considerable bonus and there's a long list of them as you can see from Amazon's 'Product Details' section above. The item on disc 2 that I found especially interesting was the 'Biography' programme about the real Von Trapp family. The real Maria was an astonishing character and far more complicated than the film version. It seems that she had an absolutely hellish childhood and the horror of it furnished her with a couple of darker facets to her personality than might be guessed from a familiarity with the film version of Maria - which all just adds to the fascination of the Von Trapp story.

If you haven't seen the film or haven't watched it for some years, give yourself a treat: watch it and get soppy, sentimental and uplifted ... and have a bit of a sing too.

Rating: 5:
A timeless classic - digitally remastered! : The Sound of Music needs no introduction but this 40th anniversary DVD might do. If you are like me and you probably own quite a few DVDs and videos of the Sound of Music, the obvious question will be `why should I buy this new version?' Well this new version has been digitally remastered for starters and has 2 discs packed with special features. The 1st disc is introduced by Julie Andrews and contains the movie which can be viewed with or without sing-along subtitles, then it has as special features which include feature commentary by the director Robert Wise, feature commentary by Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Charmian Carr, Dee Dee Wood and Johannes von Trapp and songs only chapter list i.e if you want to listen to any of the songs you can just click on that song from the chapter list and voila it plays without having to forward or rewind the movie to find the song. The second disc is even more awesome. Once again introduced by Julie Andrews, introducing all the special features which includes: My favourite things -Julie Andrews remembers in which she recalls her fond memories of the making of the sound of music; there is the 40TH anniversary reunion of the 7 Von Trapp children from the movie( from Liesl to Gretel), they discuss their favourite memories and what they are all doing now; there is the moving and beautiful reminiscence by Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, also included in the special features is a 50 minute biography of the real Von Trapp family, a featurette of Charmian Carr returning to Salzburg for the 40th anniversary, a documentary on the making of the sound of music with Julie Andrews and lots more.
Last but not the least a booklet of all the songs and the lyrics for the sing-along are included in the DVD. This is a great DVD to own for all lovers and fans of the Sound of Music.

Rating: 5:
Alright, I'll admit it: Maria ... makes me ... laugh ... : I LIKE THE SOUND OF MUSIC ...!!! There, happy now?

Have never wanted to be a von Trapp kiddie, no - so it's not that bad. But what is there not to like about the fantastic Salzburgerland scenery, the great - yea unforgettable - Rogers & Hammerstein-based songs, and the perennially-watchable romantic drama of lonely and unhappy man-with-seven-children (Christopher Plummer, who chose this rôle over that of Harry Palmer in THE IPCRESS FILE) meets happy and scatter-brained novice nun (Dame Julie Andrews) whose clothes were rejected by the poor ... plus the added bonus of those asinine Nazis crapping-out - as they deserve - at the hands of two mechanically-savvy nuns, ho ho ho!!!

Uncool? Soppy? Dweebish? Well, perhaps. But just because it's on the telly so often does not diminish its enjoyability - after all, DAD'S ARMY, ONLY FOOLS & HORSES and STAR TREK are endlessly repeated, and we still love them ...! I unashamedly like both watching this film and singing along with it with my god-daughter! And for you audiophiles out there - try cranking up the volume during the wedding scenes: that organ is floor-shakingly powerful, man ... now that is the sound of music!

Rating: 3:
Nice colour, some annoying features… : Nice colour. Some annoying features:
• There's a lengthy and tedious copying-is-a-crime notice before you get to the root-menu.
• The sound-track of this re-master attempts to match where the voice comes from, to the speaker's position on the screen. Trouble is, you hear other things move across; e.g. the rustling of the captain's clothing moves to Maria's position when she begins to speak. This is very noticeable when listening with headphones.

Rating: 5:
A restored version & mondo extras of the best movie musical : As far as I am concerned there are two reasons to pick up "The Sound of Music (40th Anniversary Edition)" DVD is you already have the movie on DVD. First, the movie has been digitally restored and if you look at the examples of the restoration on Disc 2 where they the right half of the frame has been cleaned up you can see that they really got the red out (seriously; the old version does not look so much washed out as it does rather reddish to me). Consequently, the movie looks a lot better. The change is not as thrilling as when I got to first see it in the letterbox format at home on the laser disc version and realized that on pan and scan we were missing literally half the picture (my kids still remember the shot where they could finally see the massive fountain on the left half of the scren), but if you really love this movie then you want a copy of the new print because the difference is so noticeable.

Second, if the first reason is not strong enough, they have loaded up on extras for this DVD. You have a commentary track by the late director Robert Wise and another with Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Charmian Carr, choreographer Dee Dee Wood, and Johannes Von Trapp (the 10th and last of the Von Trapp kinder). If you think listening to songs on the DVD is better than listening on the CD (I often find that to be the case), then you can play only the songs or play the songs with sing-a-long subtitles in three languages. I especially liked the retrospective documentary "A Few of My Favorite Things" because it talks about the way the Broadway musical was turned into a Hollywood film by shifting songs and setting them up differently (see below). The reminiscence by Andrews and Plummer is worthwhile as well and the "Biography" episode "The Von Trapp Family: Harmony and Discord" will certainly open your eyes to the "true" story behind it all.

Watching the film again and learning about how the film was created from all of the DVD extras got me thinking about why this is the most popular movie musical of all time. The first thing that works is that Robert Wise frontloads this movie big time. We begin with the wonderful descent of the camera from the clouds until it finds Maria on top of the mountain, where she bursts into the title song and makes it clear that the beautiful vistas of Austria are integral to this film (it did for Salzburg, Austria what "The Lord of the Rings" did for New Zealand). After the overture during the title credits we have the "Preludium (Dixit Dominus)," during which Wise presents us with some stunningly beautiful shots of nuns at prayer, establishing weight to the religious elements of the film. Then when we get to "Maria" the Mother Superior and the rest of the nuns strike absolutely the right tone for singing a cute song while dressed in habits. There is not a moment in this film where Peggy Wood's Mother Superior does not seem like an absolutely real person. By the time Maria runs past them and does the big double take at having been caught, the film's first big joke, Wise has already established an extremely serious tone for a movie musical.

What impresses me about this film is that if you take out the songs I think it still works as a drama and the only reason Julie Andrews did not win an Oscar for the best thing she ever did on film was that she had won the year before for playing the title role in the Dick Van Dyke film "Mary Poppins" (you have to be Katharine Hepburn not to overcome this sort of liability). The only musical number that is in danger of going too far is the new "I Have Confidence," but that is because Andrews plays it as bluster on Maria's part (e.g., the stumble on the last run). Once we get past the opening of the movie where Wise so beautifully sets the stage for the film, the person who deserves a lot of the credit is screenwriter Ernest Lehman. Pay attention to how he sets up the songs so that the seque from dialogue to singing is more naturalistic ("My Favorite Things" is a prime example of this in the film). Lehman's script also turned the Captain into a more of a fully developed human being than the martinet of the Broadway version.

Of course, if you have seen the show performed on stage you know that some of the songs have been put in different contexts. For example, "My Favorite Things" was originally sung by Maria and the Mother Superior on stage and now becomes the song Maria sings with the kids to establish a report with them instead of "Do Re Mi." That, of course, becomes the show piece of the film as Maria and the children tour Salzburg and the countryside singing, which gets us back to the wonderful scenery that Wise highlights from the opening moment of the film. There are few Broadway musicals that have been transformed rather than ending up being merely translated when they are brought to the screen. Some take advantage of more locations (e.g., "Camelot," "Evita"), but all things considered no musical has been upgraded on the big screen as much as "The Sound of Music," which is why it remains on the top of the mountain forty years down the road.

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