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The Sound of Music (SE)
DVD disk
Nov 4, 2005 By: JaneBlo
The Sound of Music (SE) order
Director:
Robert Wise

Actors:
Julie Andrews
Christopher Plummer
Richard Haydn.

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
The tomboyish novice nun Maria often gets into trouble at the Abbey so to tame her and to let her discover her true self, the Reverend Mother sends her out to become the governess to seven motherless children of a retired widowed Naval officer, Captain Von Trapp. In time, the Captain and Maria fall in love, but he is engaged to the Baroness, a manipulative woman who dislikes the children and they her. The story takes place in the time of the 1938 Anschluss which makes Austria part of the growing Nazi empire. Based on real life events of Austria's Von Trapp family, who fled their Nazi-occupied country by walking over the Alps, this movie was 1965ís monster hit making huge money and winning five Oscars in the process. Also made into a hit Broadway musical.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
This is definitely my favorite musical ever, and I only like 3 (Grease and Hair being the others). Itís nostalgic for me, itís part of my childhood and the songs I used to sing as a child in choir class. Itís a heart-warming story of love and music, two things I am very fond of. What stands out is the music, of course, and The Sound of Music has some of the best songs ever including Edelweiss, my personal favorite which rips my heart out every time I hear it, but also of course, the Sound of Music, My Favorite Things and So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye. The second element that makes this such a gem of a film is the acting. The cast is superb starting with the two main characters, Maria Von Trapp (Julie Andrews) and Capt. Georg Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer, a Montreal native) and going on down to the children who are quite adorable especially the smallest, Gretl. Friedrich and Liesl are quite stunning as well.

Combined with a great soundtrack, this film works largely based on the wonderful chemistry between Andrews and Plummer. They know how to push each otherís buttons and there are some very funny scenes between Maria and the Captain such as the whistle scene for one. Plummer is so incredibly handsome and gives a fascinating performance in his role as the very patriotic, rich and grieving Captain who runs his home like a naval ship with no music or warmth in it ever since his wife died. Julie Andrews is perfect in her role as the free-spirited novice nun turned governess to the motherless children who havenít played like children do, or had real affection from their dad in years. The cast of young actors playing the children will impress anyone. The interaction between them and Maria is sweet as she literally wins them over, and them her, with love. But not before they play a few pranks on her first. There are some very funny moments between them initially, but after she tames them with love and music, there are very tender moments between them.

The only thing I found a bit boring was the scene where the Abbess sings to Maria, it was a bit slow. And the thing that grabbed me the most was the patriotism theme of the film as itís Captain Von Trappís patriotism that makes them escape their country, sad as they are to leave. As a citizen of the world with no real home, issues of patriotism and love of homeland always make me sad and I could relate to that element of the film. When I was small, my late grandfather once gave me a photo of an Edelweiss (means noble and white in German) flower and so itís been a favorite of mine ever since he told me itís one of the rare flowers that thrives and blooms in the cold climates. Its woolly, white flowers have for some reason become prized above all other mountain plants. Some education for you.
THE EXTRAS
Disc 1:

Audio Commentary by Director Robert Wise: As far as these commentaries go, Iím not usually a big fan of them, but this one was not bad at all, and many fascinating facts were shared.

Audio Commentary by Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer and more of the cast: I found this commentary more fun than the previous one simply because they include the comments of the two main characters in the film as well as a few of the children. I enjoyed the humor of it and I learned quite a few interesting cool facts too.

Singalong: All 24 songs from the film to sing along to, with a choice of individual selections or as part of the film. A fun feature available in English, French & Spanish.

Songs Only Chapter List: All 24 songs from the film to watch, by scene selection. I found this feature fun and worthwhile to have on the DVD because I myself have often gone to the musical number scenes.

Disc 2:

My Favorite Things: Julie Andrews Remembers: An hour-long extensive documentary on what else, Julie Andrewsí memories of making this classic film. I enjoyed it because I like her, but it was quite long and extensive. Many others are included such as Mr. Plummer, Johannes Von Trapp and Robert Wise, the director.

Julie Andrews & Christopher Plummer: A Reminiscence: Interspersed with scenes from the film, the two main stars chat about the making of the scenes, as well as sharing laughs and many sweet memories together. Set in the present time so we see what they both look like now. Approx. 20 minutes.

On Location with The Sound of Music: Charmain Carr (Liesl Von Trapp) takes us on tour in Austria where a lot of the scenes of the film where shot. Forty years after the film, she still has the same gorgeous eyes that first got my attention so long ago. Very beautiful images of Salzburg, the Alps and more set to music from the film. We also get to see the original Von Trapp villa which was not used in the film. A very cool and fascinating 20 minute long featurette.

From Liesl to Gretl: A 40th Anniversary Reunion: All seven actors playing the Von Trapp children are reunited and joke around, talk about old times and share memories of making the film. Itís cool to see what they look like now. If this feature was not on this edition, I would have been quite disappointed.

When You Know the Notes to Sing: A Singalong Phenomenon: Highlights from the unprecedented Singalong held at the Hollywood Bowl where 18 thousand people sang songs from the film. About 15 minutes and the best part was seeing the Von Trapp children, all grown up, sing Edelweiss together on stage.

The Von Trapp Family: Harmony and Discord (as seen on the Biography channel): An extremely fascinating look at the real-life family who inspired the movie. I adore biographies anyway, but itís especially nice to learn about the Von Trapps as I always loved their story.

Restoration Comparison: As the name says, this technical feature shows juxtaposed images of the before and after look of the images. I enjoyed comparing them and found this short feature a good addition on the DVD package.

Mia Farrow Screen Test: A very short, minute and a half feature but cool anyway for it shows Farrow auditioning for the part of Liesl when she was very young.

Trailers & TV Spots: A fifteen minute look at many of the different trailers, seven in total.

Still Galleries: Divided into three sections which are Storyboard Gallery, Behind-the-Scenes Gallery as well as the Lobby Cards and One Sheets Gallery.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Although Iím a huge fan of this film, that does not imply that itís for everybodyís taste. I realize some people donít like musicals, I generally donít and have not even seen Moulin Rouge yet, so that may be one issue. The film is also three hours long which may or may not wash for some people. Also, for some that donít have the nostalgia feeling, it wonít seem as special even though it is well-written and fun, but it would lack those memories. This 2-disc 40th anniversary edition of the Rodgers & Hammerstein hit is very complete, covering almost every aspect of the film and its history and influence. I was loking forward to seeing a reunion of the Von Trapp children and I was not let down. I would recommend this film to anyone who has children or who is a child at heart. Itís a true, timeless treasure.
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