Monday, November 1, 2010

The Sound of Music Blu-ray Review

Disc 1 Size: 43.1 GB
Disc 2 Size: 44.3 GB
Film Size: 42.1 GB
Film Rating: G
Release Date: November 2nd, 2010
Region: A
The Video
The Sound of Music’ debuts on Blu-ray with a newly restored 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The film was shot in 70mm TODD-AO, which I knew would always make for quite the demo material upon release. To say that Fox has done an incredible job with this presentation would be an understatement.

The film has never looked so good, nor has ever come close. Even previous HD broadcasts of the film on television can’t compare, this is by far one of the biggest upgrades if not the biggest to release on the format. The detail and clarity has never been so strong.

I have had a couple of sneak peeks of the release before, each time I was amazed, but something about seeing it on my high-def projector made the experience even more incredible than it already was. I have put up with the DVD releases of the film long enough; this is another title which would make anyone a high-def believer.

Every scene is thoroughly impressive; the amount of detail found on screen is truly a revelation. There are so many little details that can now be seen with such amazing clarity. Detail is incredible, from the textures of the clothing and skin, to the detail in the grass and the flowers.

Colors are also remarkable, so rich and vibrant like never before. Blacks are impressive and inky as well. The film truly leaps off the screen and almost looks three-dimensional. I always knew ‘The Sound of Music’ would shine on Blu-ray, but I honestly could not have seen this coming.

The film also features a very beautiful layer of grain throughout. Fox has definitely done the right thing and left grain intact, while carefully removing dirt and specks. This is certainly the cleanest the film has ever looked, and fortunately the DNR route was not taken.

Blu-ray was made for ‘The Sound of Music.’ Everything about the presentation is a drastic improvement. This is one high-def presentation that you just have to see to believe. I can’t put into words just how amazing the quality of this transfer is. 10/10.

The Audio
The hills are alive with the sound of 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. Yes, that is correct. Fox has included an English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, which has been a dream of mine to hear. Also included is an English 4.0 Dolby Surround, Portuguese 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 DTS and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital audio track. Optional subtitles include English SDH, French, Portuguese, Danish, Finnish, Spanish, Dutch, Norwegian and Swedish.

The English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track provides the best listening experience the film has ever had. The film’s music is beautiful enough, but the clarity is of everything is very impressive. I have never heard the dialogue in the film sound so clear.

I was also expecting the mix to sound much more dated, with constant hissing or cracking. Amazingly, that is not the case. The audio has been newly restored with some the newest and best technology. The surround use is certainly minimal, as it should be. Dialogue and audio effects are front heavy, but there are some nice surprises thrown in that expand the experience.

Musical moments such as ‘The Lonely Goatherd’ are aggressive and lively, making the film feel as it were produced much more recently than 45 years ago. The mix really is incredible; the quality of the mix is superb and is one of the best sounding catalog releases. A great level of care clearly went into the audio restoration. 10/10.

The Extras

Disc 1 (Blu-ray Disc):

Your Favorite Things: An Interactive Celebration
Star by choosing which of the following types of content you’d like to see during the movie. You can use the four color keys on your remote, or press ENTER to choose between ON and OFF. Then just hit PLAY for the celebration to begin:

Making Music - A Journey in Images: This picture-in-picture includes many never-before-seen images,
The Sing-Along Experience: Sing along with the movie’s classic songs
Many a Thing to Know: Discover amazing facts about making the movie and the real Maria.
Where Was It Filmed?: Put your knowledge to the test with this interactive quiz.

Music Machine (58:03) (HD)
Have a favorite song, but don’t want to go through the film to find it? Select the song to view the scene via play all or specific selection listed below:
• The Sound of Music
• Preludium: Dixit Dominus (Psalm 110), Morning Hymn (Rex Admirabilis) and Alleluia.
• Maria
• I Have Confidence
• Sixteen Going on Seventeen
• My Favorite Things
• My Favorite Things Conclusion
• Salzburg Montage
• Do-Re-Mi
• The Sound of Music Reprise
• The Lonely Goatherd
• Edelweiss
• So Long, Farewell
• The Sound of Music Reprise
• Climb Ev’ry Mountain
• My Favorite Things Reprise
• Something Good
• Processional
• Maria Reprise
• Sixteen Going on Seventeen Reprise
• Do-Re-Mi Reprise
• Edelweiss Reprise
• So Long, Farewell Reprise
• Climb Ev’ry Mountain Reprise

Sing-along (HD)
Select the song you would like to sing-along with, the list of songs are listed above.

Audio Commentary
By Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Charmian Carr, Dee Dee Wood & Johannes von Trapp.

Audio Commentary
By Director Robert Wise.

Save your favorite scenes and return to them later.

Live Lookup (Powered by IMDB) (BD-Live)
Use Live Lookup during the film to load a specific cast characters film and TV credits via IMDB. This is a neat feature, which may likely not be used by many, but I love the look of it.

What’s New (Powered by BD-Live)
Download the latest trailers from Fox Home Entertainment.

Disc 2 (Blu-ray Disc):

The Songs (HD)
Learn how the following songs came to be with newly recorded HD interviews with Theodore S. Chapin, President of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization and Laurence Maslon, author of The Sound of Music Companion.
• The Sound of Music
• Maria
• I Have Confidence (3:10)
• Sixteen Going on Seventeen (2:20)
• My Favorite Things (2:47)
• Do-Re-Mi
• The Lonely Goatherd
• Edelweiss (2:29) (HD)
• So Long, Farewell
• Climb Ev’ry Mountain
• Something Good
• Cutting Room Floor

The Show (HD)
This is a collection of featurettes which discuss many different aspects of production, including the differences between the stage adaption and the film adaption.
• R&H: Partnership at its Peak (3:44)
• Shaping the Story (4:51)
• Stories from Broadway (4:19)
• Final Dream: Oscar Hammerstein Remembered (5:52)
• Stage vs. Screen (3:12)
• Maria in the 21st Century (6:53)

The Family (HD)
This is a collection of featurettes which visits with von Trapp family members and children today. We learn about the escape as well as the place to learn more about the family history.
• After the Escape (8:43)
• Maria and the Musical (5:06)
• A Generous Heart (3:55)
• The von Trapps Today (5:49)

The Restoration (HD)
Learn about the restoration process, scanning the film at 8K and mastering at 4K to preserve all the original detail in the original negative. The behind-the-scenes footage is very neat to see.
• Restoring a Classic: Bloom and Grow Forever (5:44)
• Restoring a Classic: A Glorious Sound (5:32)

A City of Song (HD)
This is a collection of location featurettes which revisit areas where scenes were filmed. The list of locations can be found below:
• Mellweg: Maria’s Mountain (2:27)
• Nonnberg: Maria’s Abbey (2:42)
• Residenzplatz: Scenes of Joy and Sorrow (2:24)
• Siegmundplatz: The Horse Pond (1:27)
• von Trapp Villa: A Place of Harmony (0:43)
• Frohnburg: A Facade Fit for Hollywood (1:37)
• Gazebo: A New home at Hellbrunn (1:48)
• Mozartsteg: Bridge to the Past (1:20)
• Werfen: Planning a Picnic (1:40)
• Winkler Terrace: The Ultimate View (1:29)
• Mirabell Gardens: Do-Re-Mi-rabell (2:11)
• Leopoldskron: Story of a Lake (1:50)
• Salzburg Marionette Theatre: Pulling Strings (2:55)
• Mondsee Cathedral: A Marriage of Fact and Fiction (2:28)
• Rock Riding School: Staging a Festival (2:24)
• St Peter’s Cemetery: Safe Haven (1:34)
• Rossfeld: A Dangerous Escape (1:02)
• The Sound of Music Tour: A Living Story (2:40)

Vintage Programs: The Sound of Music (SD/HD)
This is a collection of bonus features from previous home video releases. Surprisingly, ‘Salzburg Sight and Sound’ is included in high-def, which includes behind-the-scenes footage from production and is narrated by Charmian Carr.
• The Sound of Music: From Fact to Phenomenon (1:27:23)
• My Favorite Things: Julie Andrews Remembers (1:03:19)
• Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer: Reminiscence (19:25)
• From Liesl to Gretl (33:33)
• Salzburg Sight and Sound (13:04) (HD)
• On Location with The Sound of Music (22:34)
• When You Know the Notes to Sing: A Sing-along Phenomenon (12:51)

Vintage Programs: Rodgers and Hammerstein (SD)
The features from 1985 and 1996 are included in whole:
The Sound of American Music, 1985 (1:23:25) (SD)
• Part 1: Oklahoma and Carousel
• Part 2: South Pacific
• Part 3: Flower Drum Song and The King and I
• Part 4: The Sound of Music
The Sound of Movies, 1996 (1:36:36) (SD)
This is a lengthy featurette about how film adaptations of Rodgers and Hammerstein productions were made to preserve some of these musicals that would otherwise be forgotten after closing on stage.

Audio Interviews (Audio with images)
Location Interviews: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Peggy Wood,
• Reissue Interview with Julie Andrews and Robert Wise, 1973
• A Telegram from Daniel Truhitte
• Ernest Lehman: Master Storyteller

Rare Treasures (SD)
• Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall: The Pratt Family Singers (6:41)
• The Julie Andrews Hour: Julie Andrews and Maria von Trapp (16:34)
Screen Tests: Hollywood Screen Tests, Mia Farrow, Marni Nixon Foreign Dubbing Test (26:13)
• 40th Anniversary DVD Introduction by Julie Andrews (2:11)
Galleries: What Will My Future Be? (Pre-Production), Facing Adventure (Production), A Grand and Glorious Party (Promotion and Publicity).

Publicity (SD)
Fox Movietone News Academy Awards (2:47)
Trailers and Teasers: Teaser Preview (December 1964), General Release Preview (February 1965), Academy Awards Preview (April 1966), First Anniversary Preview (May 1966), Reissue Preview (December 1972), Reissue Preview (December 1972 with alternate audio track), Testimonial Trailer.
TV Spots: 60 second Reissue TV Spot (March 1973), 30 second Reissue TV Spot (March 1973).
Radio Spots: 60 second Reserve Seat Engagement, 60 second 1973 Reissue, 30 second Reserve Seat Engagement, 30 second 1973 Reissue.

Disc 3 (DVD):

DVD copy of the film
Newly restored version of the film on DVD with select bonus features found on the Blu-ray discs.

The extras included on this release are extensive and simply exhausting from a reviewer’s point of view. One day I hope to view all of the features in whole, I was very impressed by the amount of newly produced high-def features as well as the inclusion of previous DVD features.

The additional DVD copy of the film (although I don’t think I could ever watch it on DVD again) is a nice addition. I have been watching features all weekend and will continue to do so throughout the week. I also loved the interactive menus created for the extras. 10/10.

The Movie
The Sound of Music’ has been my most anticipated release of the year. The musical classic is now celebrating its 45th anniversary with a special edition Blu-ray release that shines in every way. ‘The Sound of Music’ is a film we would see quite constantly growing up and has really given me a love for movie musicals.

The incredible Julie Andrews stars with the talented Christopher Plummer in a musical which is truly timeless. There are very few people I know who have never seen the film, but I suspect most of you have (if not, what are you waiting for?!)

The film is based on the Broadway musical of the same name, which is based on the memoir ‘The Story of the Trapp Family Singers’ written by the real-life Maria von Trapp. What I love about ‘The Sound of Music’ is its ability to bring viewers into another world with such ease. The film’s characters and story are very good, with some of the most memorable musical moments of all time.
I do think Julie Andrews plays the biggest part in making the film what it is. She is simply remarkable and can do no wrong. Her performances are always warm and enjoyable, creating characters that are easy to love and impossible to hate.

Revisiting the film several times already on Blu-ray has given me chills each time. The film is still so incredible and well done. I never grow tired of the film and the runtime just flies by, despite being nearly three hours in length.

‘The Sound of Music’ is simply movie magic. This is a heart-warming story with beautiful numbers and terrific actors/singers to make the film even stronger. I find it hard to write about a film I love so very much, to me the film is terrific just the way it is that I cannot find anything negative to say.

‘The Sound of Music’ is a film which will be loved by generations to come. The story is just as enchanting today as it has ever been before. I love everything about ‘The Sound of Music’ and I am sure many of you feel the same way. ‘The Sound of Music’ is timeless and certainly one of my favorite things. 10/10.

The Blu-news Summary
‘The Sound of Music’ is one of my favorite films ever made. The Blu-ray release is incredible, featuring an upgrade in video and audio that has to be seen and heard to realize is possible. The extras are extensive and exhaustingly good. This Blu-ray release is the ‘Must Own’ release of the year.

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