Blu-Ray Review: Beautiful HD Release of Beloved ‘The Sound of Music’

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CHICAGO – “Gone With the Wind” and “Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope” have reportedly sold more actual tickets than any other films in history. What’s in third place? The answer may surprise you: Arguably the most popular musical of all time, “The Sound of Music.” Fox has meticulously restored and remastered the bronze medal-winner of all time in a way that makes it look new even to those of you that know all of the words to the beloved soundtrack by heart. Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0

It is admittedly a bit odd to celebrate a 45th anniversary of anything but that subtitle for this release is merely an excuse to get what will surely be a bestseller on the format in time for the holiday season. The result is a beautiful release that’s not only bursting with special features but includes the best presentation of the film to date. “The Sound of Music” has never looked or sounded better and it’s the quality of the actual transfer itself that should make this an easy purchase decision for even casual fans of the film. I’m not a huge “Sound of Music” fan but loving classic film and the genre in general combined with the quality of this release make it something that I believe could work for everyone.

I know it’s blasphemous in some circles but I find “The Sound of Music” too long and half the songs forgettable. Give me “Singin’ in the Rain,” most of the Disney classics, or even some other Rodgers & Hammerstein musicals (“Oklahoma!,” “The King and I”). Perhaps it’s simply because “The Sound of Music” is SO popular that I almost feel like it’s been overexposed. It’s one of the most still-current classics out there with regular TV airings and theatrical screenings, which have even reached the point where people dress up like the characters and sing along with the music. This is no mere movie fan base. It borders on a cult.

The Sound of Music was released on Blu-ray on November 2nd, 2010
The Sound of Music was released on Blu-ray on November 2nd, 2010
Photo credit: Fox

Despite it not being in my personal top ten musicals, I always love it when a beloved property like this one treats its fans with the respect they deserve. The fact is that a BD release of “The Sound of Music” would have sold well even with a lackluster restoration and mediocre special features. People love the movie enough that the studio could have easily cut corners, but they went in the opposite direction, giving fans more than they could have ever expected.

Of course, it’s primarily about the movie and it looks and sounds amazing. Of particular note is the new 7.1 audio track which allows you hear the tunes in a way that was previously unavailable. And the Best Picture-winner looks stunning with perfectly-master video.

As you’re being impressed by the 7.1 track, sing along to the music with a subtitle track that plays like a karaoke version of the film or watch a number of BD functions through the amazing “Your Favorite Things: An Interactive Celebration.” The mega-feature allows for Sing-Along, behind-the-scenes images, trivia and a location quiz all while the film plays. And that’s just the beginning. The release also includes a virtual map of the film’s locations, a full-length documentary about Rodgers & Hammerstein, an interview with the real Maria Von Trapp, audio commentaries, and a DVD version of the movie. It’s intense, thorough, and a lesson in how these kind of special editions should be done with perfect picture & sound and bonus material that feels designed with the film’s fans in mind not merely as filler.

For a limited time, the film is also available in a Limited Collector’s Set package with a keepsake box that features a 100-page “My Favorite Things” scrapbook, a 45th Anniversary Soundtrack, a reproduction of the original 1965 souvenir program, an exclusive hand-painted “My Favorite Things” music box and more. The hills are alive with the sound of cash registers.

Special Features:
o “Your Favorite Things: An Interactive Celebration”
o Music Machine Sing-Along
o Audio Commentaries with Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer and Director Robert Wise
o BD-Live: Live Lookup
o “Musical Stages: Creating The Sound of Music”
o “A City of Song”
o Vintage Rodgers & Hammerstein and “The Sound of Music” Programs
o Screen Tests, Rare Treasures, Interviews, Photo Galleries & More!

‘The Sound of Music: 45th Anniversary Edition’ stars Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. It was directed by Robert Wise. It was released on Blu-ray on November 2nd, 2010. It is rated G and runs 174 minutes. content director Brian Tallerico

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