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The Sound Of Music (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 85
Thread Starter 

The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 1965
MPAA Rating: G
Feature running time: 175 minutes
Genre: Musical/Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.20:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, English 4.0 Dolby Surround, Spanish Digital 5.1, French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Richard Haydn, Peggy Wood, Eleanor Parker
Directed by: Robert Wise
Music & Lyrics by: Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II
Written by: Ernest Lehman based on the stage musical
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 2, 2010

"A classic is revitalized and comes alive on Blu-ray"

Film Synopsis:

Starring Oscar winner Julie Andrews in one of her most memorable roles, the film adaptation of Rodgers and Hammerstein's musical follows Maria, a spirited young woman who leaves a convent and becomes a governess to seven unruly children. Her charm and songs soon win the hearts of the children and their father but when Nazi Germany unites with Austria, Maria is forced to attempt a daring escape with her new family.

My Take:

The sound of music was a popular 1959 musical based on the memoir of Maria von Trapp, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. It featured the music and lyrics of the successful writing tandem of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. In 1965 it was adapted into the major motion picture that many of us know and love. According to Wikipedia The film premiered in the United States on March 2, 1965. It ultimately grossed over US$158 million at the U.S. and Canada box office, and displaced Gone with the Wind as all-time champion.[2][7] Adjusted for inflation, it made $1.046 billion at 2010 prices, putting it third on the list of all-time inflation-adjusted box office hits, behind Gone with the Wind and Star Wars. The soundtrack album on the RCA Victor label has sold over 11 million copies worldwide, and has never been out of print.


My early recollections of The sound of music aren't especially positive. I remember seeing it in the theater as a child (during a re-release I'm sure) and finding it long and boring. I can recall being shown the film in school and having it force fed to us for reasons that I don't really remember (music class?). As a teenager it re-ran all the time on TV and the image of Julie Andrews twirling around in the opening segment while belting out the title track brought back bad memories. It wasn't until I was an adult that I decided to give The sound of music another chance. My experience with it then was much different. It's funny but I remembered very little about the story but each of its classic songs came back in vivid detail (My favorite things being my personal favorite). I found the story which is part romance, part coming of age, part comedy and part drama to be engaging, spirited and emotive. Is it a bit corny with its gaiety and outward expression of song/dance? Yeah, but the film is richly rewarding for its sublime musical set pieces which are built around a wonderfully derived story about an Austrian family that is won over and taken from the doldrums by a vivacious and endearing woman who sees life from an entirely different perspective. The amazing cast led by Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer are marvelous. It has been a long time since I have watched it and seeing it again during this review proved every bit as satisfying and probably more thanks to 20th Century Fox pulling out all the stops on this 45th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition. The film has been newly re-mastered for audio/video (with spectacular results, see below) and includes an outstanding bonus features set that shouldn't be missed. Seeing it now was almost like seeing it for the first time which made it all the better.

Parental Guide:

This film is appropriate for all ages.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 90

  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

Video: 100

(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

The sound of music comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 22 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4.8 Mbps.


Fotokem did an outstanding job with the recent re-mastering The sound of music. It was created by doing an 8k scan of the original 70mm print to generate a 4k master which appears to have beautifully preserved the high resolution elements contained within. Looking at the results it is readily apparent that a lot of care went into the restoration. Grain is intact across the board and I saw no sign of digital noise reduction or image degrading manipulation. This is a flawless and film like video presentation that delivers exquisite high level detail and rich, deep, image penetrating colors that look gorgeous in high definition. The video has incredible depth and dimension that is rarely limited by the camera's perspective. The level of resolution present produces imagery that in many cases has a near infinite visual acuity that draws out the finest details in close ups while enhancing the delineation and textural nuance within objects and backgrounds. Wide angle shots of the von Trapp compound and the village of Salzburg reveal the varied and rough texture in the surfaces made of stone and wood while the beautifully framed shots of the landscapes look stunning. Flesh tones exhibit lifelike textures with natural color and vibrant complexions. Blacks exhibit exemplary dynamic range and appear deep and rich without compromise.


Shadow detail is impressive and readily conveys strong dimensionality during the scenes shot in darkened areas and uneven light. The two segments shot at night in/near the glass enclosed gazebo look fabulous. A great example of the film's marvelous cinematography and its use of shadow and light can be seen during chapter 39 in the Reverend Mother's office. The varying gradational stages visible within the frame as Maria and the Reverend Mother visually step in and away from the light will test your display's contrast and capability of shadow detail reproduction. Contrast and brightness work in tandem so that dark scenes exhibit good dynamic range and bright scenes are vivid without loss of detail. It should be noted that there are sequences in the film that utilize filtering to generate an intended softening/haze in order to create a mood/thematic visual effect. This is innate to the photography and should not be mistaken for noise reduction etc. I tip my hat to 20th Century Fox. This is one of the most impressive high definition presentations I have seen to date. It is an immaculate and faithful reproduction that befits one of the most beloved films of all time.


I sometimes receive queries from readers with regard to audio ratings where some feel that a particular title may or may not fit into my rating scale as it coincides with either my description of its elements or perhaps the nature of the soundtrack compared to other films that have received a similar score. I think as enthusiasts we tend to attribute high ratings with bombast, lots of surround activity/effects, and of course powerful dynamics/bass. In many cases that is true however there are cases of exemplary audio expression that can be found in the subtleties and nuance within a soundtrack. The sound of music is a perfect of example of this and I will be sure to preface future reviews where applicable with this brief overview.


The films originally recorded soundtrack has been re-mastered into a lossless 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio surround mix. Similar to the film restoration it is readily apparent that plenty of care went into the redesigned audio. The mix retains a front oriented perspective and features sparkling clarity and imaging. Dialogue is refined and tonally distinctive as it seamlessly blends with the front three channels. The vocal performances are sibilant free with smooth transitions and opulent texture. Excellent channel separation enhances the discerning of sound effects and the orchestrated elements present in the music as the sound field in the front of the room bristles with sonic detail. The surrounds are utilized for atmospheric extension that creates an enveloping presence that appreciably enhances the film's superlative music. Good dynamic range and low frequency effects combine to provide good solidity and weight to the audio without sounded unnatural. These primarily come in the form of bass content associated with the music score and to a lesser degree in support of recorded elements (such as the cathedral's pipe organ during the wedding sequence) that contain lower bass response. I was extremely pleased with the outcome of this audio presentation. It highlights the strengths of the source material without ostentatious display and sounds great.

Bonus Features:


Disc 2:

Disc 3:

  • Your favorite things: An active celebration - A rewarding interactive movie mode that includes picture-in-picture images, a sing-along, facts & trivia and an interactive quiz.

  • (HD) Music machine - a Jukebox style feature that allows direct selection of the music sequences in the film

  • (HD) Sing-along

  • Audio commentary by Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Charmian Carr, Dee Dee Wood and Johannes Von Trapp

  • Audio commentary by director Robert Wise

  • BD-Live: Live extras - Live lookup powered by IMDB, What's new, Exclusive: Laura Benanti on The sound of music

  • (HD) Musical Stages (featurettes):

    1. Shaping the story
    2. The Von Trapps today
    3. Climb ev'ry mountain
    4. Stage vs. screen
    5. Maria
    6. The sound of music
    7. Maria and the musical
    8. Cutting room floor
    9. Restoring a classic: Bloom & grow forever
    10. Edelweiss
    11. I have confidence
    12. My favorite things
    13. Sixteen going on seventeen
    14. After the escape
    15. R&H: Partnership at its peak
    16. Something good
    17. The lonely goat herd
    18. Do-re-mi
    19. So long farewell
    20. A generous heart
    21. Final dream: Oscar Hammerstein remembered
    22. Stories from Broadway

  • (HD) A city of song - Interactive feature about the City of Salzburg

  • Vintage programs (Previously released supplements with 3 headers that break down into 13 total featurette):

    1. The sound of music
    2. Rodgers and Hammerstein
    3. Audio interviews

  • Rare treasures:

    1. Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall: The Pratt Family Singers
    2. The Julie Andrews Hour: Julie Andrews and Maria von Trapp
    3. Screen Tests
    4. 40th Anniversary DVD Introduction by Julie Andrews
    5. (HD) Pre-production, Production, and Publicity Galleries

  • Publicity - Fox Movietone news, trailers, TV Spots, Radio Spots

  • Bonus DVD of the newly re-mastered The sound of music

Final Thoughts:

The sound of music is one of the most popular films of all time and features some of the most recognizable music ever associated with a film/musical. It is a classic piece of American Cinema that is beloved by people the world over. This 45th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition from 20th Century Fox is a magnificent achievement that revitalizes and aggrandizes the scope of the film's original elements. The re-mastered high definition video presents this film in an entirely new light with results that are simply incredible. The lossless 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio surround sound remains faithful and adds vitality and dimension without overstatement. The almost overwhelming assortment of bonus supplements is spread over two discs and contains an abundance of information including interactive content, trivia, cast/crew interviews, history and more. If you're a fan of The sound of music I can't recommend this exquisite Blu-ray offering highly enough.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-83 Universal disc/Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Samsung BD-C7900 Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Better Cables, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

Gear mentioned in this thread:

post #2 of 85
I also hated this movie at first. I remember watching it in high school (it seems like this was every girlfriends favorite move) and wishing the Germans would catch them so the damn thing would end. As I got older the movie grew on me and now I enjoy watching it. Great review.
post #3 of 85
Contrary to your experience, I saw this film during its initial release, and, being 5 years old (and apparently always musically inclined), I absorbed the music instantly. Add to the fact that my parents bought the soundtrack, which I played over and over again, this music has been a part of my life for almost as long as I can remember. I know almost all the lyrics by heart, and some songs, like Edelweiss, have strong emotion attached to them, especially as the family is seen at the ending.

I've owned this movie in its two previous DVD incarnations, and happily ordered it on Blu-ray, knowing I'd enjoy it even more in high definition. But as usual, your review, Ralph, simply justifies my purchase, and now makes me really happy that I bought it. I truly love this movie, one that I see almost yearly, and since it arrived yesterday, I might just have to pop it in tonight! Thanks for a high rating on a wonderful movie.
post #4 of 85
Total guilty pleasure, this one! Also a day-one purchase.

post #5 of 85
Wow! OI am ecstatic! got my copy with booklet from target.

could not be happier! I heard Chitty Chitty is great transfer too
post #6 of 85
Now I just might have to change my plans and get a Blu-ray Disc player!

Which means a worthy modern surround sound system to replace mine from 2001!!

Which means a dedicated projector like the Epson 8500UB instead of a first-timer's entry-level all-in-one like the Moviemate 85HD!!!

If they keep releasing the good stuff, packed with extras, instead of just bare-bones shlock like superhero movies, I'm going to really regret making cautious conservative purchases!!!!
post #7 of 85
This is indeed a very good transfer. Video quality easily beat some blu-ray movies today.
The only gripe I had is in the extra. On the blu-ray, the sing-along feature does not work (at least with me using PS3). It basically is the same as in the music machine. The idea of the sing-along is to have subtitles and you can sing along with the words and the color of the word will guide you along.. This does not happen in the blu-ray disc. However, when I put in my DVD copy in the same pacakge, the sing-along function works as expected!!
If anyone try this and get this to work on the blu-ray, please let me know.
Otherwise, this is a great disc and all my family members enjoy it.
post #8 of 85
Originally Posted by fight4yu View Post

It basically is the same as in the music machine. The idea of the sing-along is to have subtitles and you can sing along with the words and the color of the word will guide you along..

Funny, the reviewer at Blu-ray.com mentioned that the bonuses seemed the same and it didn't really occur to me that the dynamic subtitles were the missing ingredient. Maybe only certain types of players (with certain firmware?) are playing this correctly? or maybe it's encoded wrong...
post #9 of 85
Ralph - is this the first BD you've given a video rating of 100? If not, what are some others that compare so well to this one?
post #10 of 85
Toy Story3 is another one that Ralph gives 100 to both audio and video
post #11 of 85
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by R o d View Post

Ralph - is this the first BD you've given a video rating of 100? If not, what are some others that compare so well to this one?


No it isn't the first. Speed racer was the first 100 for video. Since then there have been a few non-animated titles that have received the elusive "100".

- Sin City
- Home
- Avatar
- Beverly Hills Chihuahua

Animated titles:

Kung Fu Panda
Toy Story 1,2,3
How to train your dragon
Beauty and the Beast
A bug's life

post #12 of 85
I will just say:

one of the few that Ralph has given a 100 for Video
AND not too many BRs with 7.1 Audio
and having visited some of these locations in Salzburg:

>> I am out the door now to my Local Frys to buy it. It helps that the story has grown on me over the years.

Thanks Ralph!
post #13 of 85
this bd does indeed look astoundingly good, and I only pray that Fox does a similar job on "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World", "The Agony and the Ecstasy" and "Those Magnificent Men in the Flying Machines".
Great job Fox!
this has clearly been the best season yet for high quality classic film releases on blu-ray.
post #14 of 85
Thanks ralph.
post #15 of 85
Mr. Potts,

I only logged in to thank you for this review...

By far one of my favorite childhood movies.

Thanks a million.
post #16 of 85
Great review as always, Ralph!
I went to BB today for White Christmas, and lo and behold, they had SOM in the collector's edition ($60).
I'm a BIG fan of the collector's sets, and this one doesn't disappoint!
There are two programs on Friday nights that my wife and I watch, so I was planning this one for tomorrow night.
However, after reading your review, I may watch it tonight after our second show.
That show ends at 11 pm.
This movie is long.
Which means I'll be VERY tired tomorrow!
Thanks again for a great review Ralph!
post #17 of 85
I believe the secret to the box office success and evergreen appeal of The Sound of Music is the way it wins you over with its absolute top shelf major studio blockbuster professionalism from the opening scene to the last shot. There is not a misstepped edit, camera angle, production decision, orchestration, performance, not a line that is supposed to be funny falling flat or an emotional payoff that doesn't deliver. It is thrilling to watch for its professionalism on all levels alone. Granted, this is not great cinematic "art" of the kind Kubrick, Bergman or Lean produced, but I doubt any other director, screenwriter, actors or anyone else working in movies could have done a better job of bringing this material to the screen.

I was 12 years old when it came out and I first saw it. I loved movie musicals but, like many others, there was just something about a movie called "The Sound of Music" that didn't grab me. But 3 minutes in and that resistance was roundly defeated. btw, I remember the network television screenings being horribly edited. In order to fit a 175 minute movie into a 180 time slot with about 45 minutes of commercials, they edited out two lines of dialogue here, three there, a transition here and so on. Nothing made emotional sense. Anyone who has only seen this movie in those network television screenings in the 70s and 80s has not really seen it.

The winning way it defeats your resistance to it is never more evident, imo, than in the handling of "Do-Re-Mi". That was a song I truly hated and maybe a reason I had to be dragged to the theater to see the movie the first time. We were forced to sing it in grade school. I even remember a young woman sittng behind me in the theater whispering to her boyfriend how much she hated that song right as Julie Andrews was tuning her guitar for it. You could almost feel a group "ugh" in the audience in less-than-extatic anticipation for a song I don't know if anybody really liked outside of the movie.

But by the time that sequence was over everybody in the audience, the lady behind me included, had been so utterly won over by the clever, sharp, fun, charming, beautifully "musical" and conceptually perfect way it was handled we not only liked the people on screen even more, we wanted to hang out with them, wanted them to do the song and the sequence again.
post #18 of 85
For live feature 100 is amazing
post #19 of 85
Great review Ralph! And couldn't agree more with your scores... I saw it last night and was very impress with the transfer.....
post #20 of 85
Also, great review, Ralph.

Just wondering if you or anyone else found a glitch in the "5. (HD) Pre-production, Production, and Publicity Galleries" section of the bonus material. In the publicity section where the trailers are contained, there is no titling for the different trailer versions. The "window" is just blank. You have to guess what you're clicking on. Did I get a weird copy or is it my Insignia blu-ray player having fun?

Another curiosity. I got the blu-ray combo set and the running time for the standard DVD is listed as "175 minutes" but the blu-ray DVD version is listed as "174 minutes." Just a typo or is there any reason the standard DVD version would be one minute longer than the blu-ray?
post #21 of 85
all BD should be done like this
post #22 of 85
Oh sure, "The Sound of Music" comes out before "The Great Escape" there is no justice.

but I'll buy it anyway.
post #23 of 85
In 1965 when I was thirteen, my parents went out on a rare "date night" without us kids to see The Sound of Music. They loved it so much that the very next night they went again - this time with me and my two brothers. It has been my favorite movie ever since. I don't how many times I've seen it since then, but there have been many times when I really need to see The Sound of Music, so I watch it again. I pre ordered the SoM Blu-ray months ago on Amazon and now I have the Limited Edition 45th Anniversary Collector's Set in my possession. I'm looking forward to watching it this weekend. After reading Ralph's review, I'm even more excited about seeing The Sound of Music on Blu-ray than I was before, if that's possible. Thanks, Ralph!
post #24 of 85
Did u get River kawai for review Ralph.
post #25 of 85
Originally Posted by UofAZ1 View Post

Oh sure, "The Sound of Music" comes out before "The Great Escape" there is no justice.

but I'll buy it anyway.

Well, there is an "escape" from the Nazis in it...
post #26 of 85
If TSOM gets a 100 on video and it's how many year old movie, the studios should pay attention and quick! Great review Ralph as always!

post #27 of 85
Any one having problem playing this bluray on ps3 slim? I have a 320 gb slim, pre loaded with 3.5 firmware. Please advise?
post #28 of 85
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by zoro View Post

Did u get River kawai for review Ralph.


Lee has it and will be covering..

post #29 of 85
Chick flick.
post #30 of 85
Well, we didn't watch it last night, so it's on for tonight.
But, I did spend a few minutes skipping through it just to see what it looks like.
Ralph is spot on with his review.
It's stunning!
Can't say yet about the sound, as it was 1AM and my wife was sleeping.
But I have no doubt that the sound is also terrific.
For those who haven't as yet decided on this one..........
RUN, don't walk, and go get it!

Thanks once more for a great review, Ralph!
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