The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 1965
MPAA Rating: G
Feature running time: 175 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.20:1
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"
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.
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. 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.
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)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
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.
- 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):
- Shaping the story
- The Von Trapps today
- Climb ev'ry mountain
- Stage vs. screen
- The sound of music
- Maria and the musical
- Cutting room floor
- Restoring a classic: Bloom & grow forever
- I have confidence
- My favorite things
- Sixteen going on seventeen
- After the escape
- R&H: Partnership at its peak
- Something good
- The lonely goat herd
- So long farewell
- A generous heart
- Final dream: Oscar Hammerstein remembered
- 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):
- The sound of music
- Rodgers and Hammerstein
- Audio interviews
- Rare treasures:
- Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall: The Pratt Family Singers
- The Julie Andrews Hour: Julie Andrews and Maria von Trapp
- Screen Tests
- 40th Anniversary DVD Introduction by Julie Andrews
- (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
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.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
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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