J! ENT, Dennis Amith
October 31, 2010

I can confidently say this is the definitive edition to own of "The Sound of Music"! The restoration of this film for the 45th Anniversary is incredible and this Blu-ray release is just loaded with special features. Twentieth Century Fox has literally raised the bar of what can be accomplished on Blu-ray for a classic film release. A magnificent, five-star release that is highly recommended!

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.

Simply a magnificent Blu-ray release of "The Sound of Music", restored and remastered and an abundant amount of special features. This 45th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray release is the definitive version to own!

"The Sound of Music", the 1965 20th Century Fox musical which would capture the world with its memorable music and it's touching storyline and continues to have thrived through various generations and will continue to thrive for many generations hereafter.

The film is an adaptation of a popular Broadway play which is based on the memoir "The Story of the Trapp Family Singers" written by Maria von Trapp. The von Trapp family are known for escaping from the Nazis in Austria after the Anschluss (the annexation and occupation of Austria by Nazi Germany in 1938).

The original musical based on the book featured music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II (both Rodgers and Hammerstein were known for their music for "Oklahoma!", "Carousel", "State Fair", "South Pacific", "The King and I" to name a few) which led to the book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. The Broadway production began in 1959 starring Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel and would later inspire a film adaptation in 1965 which was loosely based on the Broadway production and memoir.

The film would become an ultimate success as director Robert Wise (known for "West Side Story" and "The Haunting") would win five Academy Awards for Best Director, William Reynolds for Best Film Editing, Irwin Kostal for Best Music, Scoring of Music, Adaptation or Treatment, Best Picture and Best Sound.

The film would be best known for its wonderful location of Salzburg, Austria (which has inspired an actual "Sound of Music" tour which has been functional for the last 30-years) but most of all, known for its music which include "The Sound of Music", "Edelweiss", "My Favorite Things", "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" and "Do-Re-Mi".

The film which was budgeted at $8.2 million would go on to gross $163 million worldwide. The film would break the record held by "Gone with the Wind" for box office revenue and would also be a film that would be in circulation in theaters for three straight years.

"The Sound of Music" would also continue to become a hit on video as it was released as a five star DVD release in 2000 to celebrate the film's 35th Anniversary, released in 2005 to celebrate the film's 40th Anniversary and now in 2010 on Blu-ray, a limited edition box set and a digital iTunes release to celebrate the film's 45th Anniversary.

As for the film, "The Sound of Music" is 174 minutes long and is broken down in three arcs (the original intermission is also provided in this Blu-ray release).

The film takes place in Salzburg, Austria and focuses on Maria (played by Julie Andrews, "Mary Poppins", "10″ and "The Princess Diaries" films), a woman who is a nun at a convent who loves to go up the hills which overlooks Salzburg and loves to sing. But because she loves to sing, she is often late, she is often in trouble at the convent and is thus given a new task to find her way and to see if her life is in monastery. So, Mother Abbess (played by Peggy Wood), sends Maria to become the Governess of the vonTrapp family.

When Maria arrives to the home of Captain George von Trapp (played by Christopher Plummer, "The Insider", "The Last Station", "Full Disclosure", "Up"), a man who runs the home with an iron fist and has seven children which include his teenage daughter Liesl (played by Charmian Carr), son Friedrich (played by Nicholas Hammond), daughter Louisa (played by Heather Menzies), son Kurt (played by Duane Chase), daughters Brigitta (played by Angela Cartwright), Marta (played by Debbie Turner) and Gretl (played by Kym Karath). Maria learns quickly that the family is ran through discipline and that she is another Governess, the previous women have not stayed long enough and were driven away.

Since the death of their mother, his wife, the decorated war veteran of World War I, Captain von Trapp has treated his family like the military. He summons each child by whistle and each child wears a uniform and immediately, Maria disapproves of the Captain's militaristic approach. But she learns from the housekeeper that when his wife was alive, the house used to be filled with happiness, laughter and music. But since her death, he has treated his own family like the military.

But as the kids try to use tricks to scare their new Governess, Maria is not phased and in fact, is more complimentary to the children, which catches them off-guard. Meanwhile at dinner, eldest teen daughter Liesl sneaks out of the house to visit the messenger boy named Rolfe (played by Daniel Truhitte). Rolfe is an older teenage boy who fancies Liesl and she fancies him but both know they must be careful because of her strict father.

Meanwhile, her father, the Captain is very true to his country Austria and with word that Nazi Germany may occupy his country makes him feel uneasy. But for him, fortunately he has another woman in Berlin, the Baroness (played by Eleanor Parker) and while he leaves to visit her, he expects Maria to take care of the children.

The children begin to bond with Maria and because they have been sheltered inside the home, she takes them out for fun and to the hills up in Salzburg where she teaches them music and how to sing with each other and to perform the songs for the arrival of the Baroness.

But unbeknown to Maria and the children, Captain von Trapp plans to return with the Baroness that same day they are returning and when he finds out they were having fun and are not wearing their uniforms, he becomes ballistic and is very angry at Maria. Maria tries to defend the children and tell him that they want to be closer to him, happy and not treated in that manner but will not have anything of it. He is upset with her and tells her that she's fired from her job.

But then he hears music in the house and is shocked to find out that the children are singing and their voices have thawed out the coldness in his heart and he finally sees how much good Maria has brought to the family.

Without spoiling too much of the film, the second arc deals with Maria leaving the von Trapps after being conflicted with her own emotions as she finds herself caring for the Captain but also knowing her responsibilities as a nun. The third arc deals with the Nazi occupation of Austria and how life for the von Trapp family will never ever be the same again.

"The Sound of Music: 45th Anniversary Edition" is presented in 1080p High Definition (Widescreen 2:20:1), AVC@22 MBPS. This is where "The Sound of Music: 45th Anniversary Edition" literally looks amazing. For those who have owned previous versions of the film on DVD, back in 2005, the film went through restoration using a backup negative of the original 70 mm print. At the time, the original 70mm 6-Track print was so damaged, there was no way to even use the original negative at that time and most of us who watched the 40th Anniversary Edition felt that the film looked absolutely beautiful compared to it's earlier 2000 DVD release.

With that being said, technology has changed within the last five years since the release of the 40th Anniversary. The damaged original 70 mm print that couldn't be used in the restoration of the film in 2005 can now be used for the film with new hardware and software and is now receiving 8K digital scanning by 20th Century Fox for perfect restoration.

No longer is the film hazy, no longer is the film more on the pinkish side. "The Sound of Music: 45th Anniversary Edition" is vibrant. The grass…you can see the various grains of grass, the strands in green, yellow and detail of the mountains over looking Salzburg. I was amazed! Another example, Maria splashing the water before she heads to the von Trapps, you can see the water droplets flying in the air, another one is the von Trapp's uncle and his coat, you can see the wool in his jacket. There is so much detail in this latest version of "The Sound of Music", it's incredible! I am literally speechless because I own previous versions of this film on video and never before have I seen this much clarity in the film ever!

Once again, the crew who restored this film…I give your crew a standing ovation…what you were able to accomplish in this film is absolutely fantastic!

"The Sound of Music: 45th Anniversary Edition" is presented in English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 4.0 Dolby Surround, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital and French 5.1 DTS. Because the film was shot with a 6-track and because they were provided with the audio without the dialogue, for this 2010 edition, they were able to remove all noise but also making sure to utilize a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track and as mentioned, I've owned several versions of this film and I even own the soundtrack to this film.

The way this music was handled through the surround channels was amazing. The music and the instruments playing on individual channels was well done. The first thing that came to my mind during sequences of the sisters singing "Maria" to the wedding sequence, the sounds that were utilized through those channels were amazing. Also, they were able to isolate the sound of Salzburg up the hills, the sound of wind, the birds… I was in awe with the lossless soundtrack.

Similar to the video restoration, the audio restoration for this 45th anniversary is fantastic!

Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles.

"The Sound of Music: 45th Anniversary Edition" comes with the following special features from the 35th and 40th Anniversary DVD versions of the film but also newer special features that just literally packs this 45th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray release:

DISC 1:

Your Favorite Things: An Interactive Celebration - A new way to watch "The Sound of Music". If you select this option for viewing the movie, you have four categories which you can select interaction with the viewer. One is behind-the-scenes images, the other is viewing with on-screen lyrics, the other is trivia and location quiz. You can select one or all four.
Audio Commentary: Director Robert Wise - The following audio commentary was originally included in the Five Star Collection (2000) for the 35th Anniversary DVD release. Informative commentary by Wise who gives details on the challenges they had in shooting this film. It's important to note that Wise doesn't do much talking and only does when it is necessary.
Audio Commentary: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Charmian Carr, choreographer Dee Dee Wood, and the youngest son of Maria von Trapp, Johannes von Trapp - A lively commentary by the five individuals. Although these are separate commentaries recorded in separate times but Julie Andrews definitely gives us a good idea of the sets and various shooting locations. Also, hearing from Plummer of how he doesn't like to work with children but in this case, he got a long with the children quite well. Charmian Carr who plays the character of Liesl talks about playing the oldest teenage daughter at the age of 21.
Music Machine Sing-Along - Sing-along subtitle tracks which can be seen while watching the film or giving the viewer the ability to select various tracks with the sing-along subtitles.
Musical Stages: Creating the Sound of Music - This first special feature is actually an interactive "backlot tour" with plenty of in-depth featurettes on the songs, the stage show, the movie, the film and sound restoration and getting to know the real life von Trappfamily. Included are:
Music in the 21st Century - (8:52) A featurette on the popularity of the film and how the film has influenced pop culture from pop artists such as Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguillera to shows like "The Family Guy" and how many various interpretations of the film have made it onto stage and children's books.
Restoring a Classic: Bloom & Grow - (5:44) A featurette on the 8K digital restoration of the film. How during the 2005 45th Anniversary Edition, they were not able to use the original 70 mm negative but in 2010, with new technology they were able to. Before and after scenes and more. Awesome featurette!
Edelweiss - (2:28) How the song was created and how Christopher Plummer wanted to sing the song and not be dubbed. We get to see footage of Plummer singing and the dubbed over version.
I Have Confidence - (8:06) How the lyrics were changed from the original Rodgers & Hammerstein version by Saul Chaplin and constructing it for the film adaptation.
My Favorite Things - (2:47) Why the song was fun and the popularity of the lyrics.
Sixteen Going on Seventeen - (2:20) Because Rodgers & Hammerstein know that their lyrics deal with sex, for this film, they had to carefully craft lyrics with slight undertones.
After the Escape - (8:43) The true story of how the von Trapps escaped Austria and interviews with Maria von Trapp and the grandchildren.
Rodgers & Hammerstein: Partners at it's Peak - (3:53) The popularity of Rodgers & Hammerstein and how they crafted hit after hit.
Shaping the Story - (4:50) The original screen adaptation of the von Trapp and the differences between stage and the film adaptation.
The von Trapp's Today - (5:48) - How the von Trapp's continue with their grandchildren who have a lodge in Vermont.
Climb Ev'ry Mountain - (2:07) The difficult of the lyrics of the song and singing it.
Stage vs. Screen - (3:12) A more thorough featurette on the differences between the stage and film adaptation.
Maria - (3:03) - The making of the song.
The Sound of Music - (2:32) The popularity of the song, how it was Oscar's idea and what inspired him.
Maria and the Musical - (5:06) The real life Maria von Trapp and how she got involved with the musical and trying to take a hands off approach to the film (since it differed from the real life story).
Cutting Room Floor - (2:50) Three songs from the stage production that were not used on the film.
Something Good - (2:17) Rodgers wrote to more songs for the film.
The Lonely Goatherd - (2:30) How the song was used in the stage production and how it was incorporated into the film.
Do-Re-Mi - (3:31) The popularity of the song and how different it was from the stage production compared to the film version.
So Long, Farewell - (1:11) How the song was used in the film.
A Generous Heart - (3:54) The life of eldest daughter Maria von Trapp who like her mother, went on to do great things with her generous heart in other countries.
Final Dream: Oscar Hammerstein Remembered - (5:51) How "The Sound of Music" was the final show Rodgers & Hammerstein would work together and how he handled his cancer and the short time he had left in the world and how he said goodbye to family and friends and how the song "Edelweiss" was literally Hammerstein's song saying goodbye.
Stories from Broadway - (4:19) Stories from the Broadway cast.
Restoring a Classic Glorious Sound - (5:31) - Using the 6-Track Master and creating the lossless 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack.
A City of Song - (34:38) This feature adds an interactive map of Salzburg, Austria. Because so many people have traveled to Salzburg for "The Sound of Music" Tour or to visit the locations shown on the film, this special feature is great as you can select a map and get video to know about the locations, photos and fascinating facts of the area.
Vintage Programs - Featuring featurettes and documentaries included in the 35th and 40th Anniversary of "The Sound of Music" (note: Most of the special features are in 480p, standard definition):
The Sound of Music: From Feat to Phenomenon - (1:27:22) A documentary on the real von Trapp story and how the the film received the green light. Robert Wise talks about casting and cast talk about their involvement in the film and what they wanted for the film.
My Favorite Things: Julie Andrews Remembers - (1:03:18) A documentary featuring Julie Andrews remembering "The Sound of Music". From the original pre-production, filming on location, the music and working with the cast and crew. Also, featuring Christopher Plummer, Charmian Carr and those who worked with Julie Andrews as they reminisce about working on "The Sound of Music".
Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer: A Reminisce - (19:24) Both Julie Andrews and Christopher Plumber reminisce 40 years later about their involvement in the film and working together.
From Liesl to Gretl - (33:33) A reunion of the seven talents who play the Von Trapp children in the film talking about their experience working on the film, hijinks behind-the-camera and mistakes they made that are on the film.
Salzburg Sights and Sound - (13:04) Narrated by Charmian Carr. A documentary on her arrival to Salzburg and filming for "The Sound of Music".
On Location with the Sound of Music - (22:33) Charmian Carr hosts a documentary on Salzburg and visiting the locations where the film was shot.
When You Know the Notes to Sing - A Sing-Along Phenomenon - (12:50) The 40th Anniversary sing-along screening at the Hollywood Bowl for "The Sound of Music".
Rodgers and Hammerstein: The Sound of American Music, 1985 - (1:23:25) Popular Broadway talent Mary Martin hosts a documentary on Rodgers and Hammerstein, the history and hits of this dynamic duo and their work on "Oklahoma", "Carousel", "Flower Drum Song", "The King and I" and "The Sound of Music".
Rodgers and Hammerstein: The Sound of Music, 1996 - (1:36:36) A documentary on Rodgers and Hammerstein's successful music in film hosted by Shirley Jones and guests Rita Moreno, Nancy Kwann, Charmian Carr and Julie Andrews as they comment on the films they worked on that featured music by Rodgers and Hammerstein.
Audio Interviews: Location Interviews - Featuring audio interviews with Julie Andrews (11:48), Christopher Plummer (5:15) and Peggy Wood (8:34)
Audio Interview: Reissue Interview with Julie Andrews and Robert Wise from 1973 - (7:48)
Audio Interview: A Telegram from Daniel Truhitte - (13:02) Daniel Truhitte reminisce about playing the part of Rolfe.
Audio Interview: Ernest Lehman: Master Storyteller - (34:56) An audio interview with Ernest Lehman.
Rare Treasures - Featuring programs from TV shows related to"The Sound of Music":
Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall: The Pratt Family Singers - (6:41) A parody of the musical shown on the 1962 CBS special starring Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett.
The Julie Andrews Hour: Julie Andrews and Maria von Trapp - (16:33) A segment from 1973 featuring Julie Andrews and Maria vonTrapp. Featuring performances by both women and also Julie Andrews interviewing Maria von Trapp.
Screen Tests - (26:13) The 1999 AMC "Hollywood Screen Tests" of The Sound of Music. Various screen tests featuring auditions for "The Sound of Music" in which talent such as Richard Dreyfuss, Mia Farrow, Leslie Ann Warren, Kurt Russel and more auditioned but Robert Wise talks about what he wanted and that was more family quality and the family becoming believable.
40th Anniversary DVD Intro by Julie Andrews - (2:10) The original DVD intro by Julie Andrews included in the 2005 40th Anniversary DVD release.
Galleries - Featuring concept art, storyboards and still photos from the film. Using your remote, you can cycle through images for "What Will My Future Be? (Pre-Production)", "Facing Adventure (Production) and "A Grand and Glorious Party (Promotion and Publicity)".
Publicity - Featuring various publicity, trailer and TV spots for "The Sound of Music":
Fox Movietone News Academy Awards Footage - (2:45) Featuring Julie Andrews on the red carpet of the 38th Annual Academy Awards and footage of Andrews and the Academy Award winners for the film.
Trailers and Teasers - Featuring the following trailers: Teaser Preview (1:28, Dec. 1964), General Release Preview (4:00, 1965), Academy Awards Preview (4:24, April 1966), First Anniversary Preview, :50, May 1966), Release Preview (4:01, Dec. 1972), Release Preview - Alternate Soundtrack (4:01, Dec. 1962), Testimonial Trailer (2:22).
TV Spots - (1:23) Featuring the 60-second reissue TV spot (March 1973), 30-second Reissue TV Spot (March 1973).
Radio Spots - Featuring the following radio spots: 60 Second Reserve Seat Engagement, 60 Second 1973 Reissue, 30 Second Reserve Seat Engagement, 30 Second 1973 Reissue. EXTRAS:

"The Sound of Music: 45th Anniversary Edition" comes with a DVD version of the feature film which is presented in 2:20:1, widescreen. Audio in English 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound, English 4.0 Dolby Surround, Spanish Dolby Surround and French Dolby Surround. Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish. Also, included is a slip-over cover case.

I literally grew up in a household where "The Sound of Music" played and to tell you the truth, when I was younger, I really couldn't stand the musical as my mother would sing the songs over and over again. But as I got older and I began watching more classic films, I found myself watching "The Sound of Music" around 1990 or so and I ended up purchasing the soundtrack for the film on cassette. When I visited my mother, I ended up playing the cassette and in a very long time, I heard her sing the songs once again.

When I got married, I was amazed that my wife knew the lyrics also by heart and by the birth of our son, to help calm him, she would sing "My Favorite Things". Needless to say, the music of "The Sound of Music" has been part of me during my childhood and I have no doubt that with my wife and son, it will continue on to the next generation.

As for the film, I have watched and owned various incarnations of this film on video and I have purchased the five star edition of the movie on DVD in 2000 and I clearly felt that the 40th Anniversary 2005 release was just unprecedented. I felt that it was the ultimate release and I figured, if it was on Blu-ray, it would be an HD version of the film and the same special features. But I was wrong. Twentieth Century Fox has given fans of the film the ultimate release with "The Sound of Music: 45th Anniversary Edition".

Not only do we get another restoration of the film using the original 70 mm negative and now presented in 1080p High Definition, we get a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless soundtrack which sounds incredible! Just the fact that the film looks and sounds better is significant. The colors just pop! It's hard to describe of how awesome this film looks on Blu-ray compared to previous video releases. In the past, there was always this dreamy, hazy look to the film. Though it was colorful, I have always thought that was how the film was shot. And the opening scene with Julie Andrews on top of the hill spinning around, I always thought that was a beautiful shot… that was until I saw this 45th Anniversary Edition and everything that I have thought about the look of the film has went out the window because this presentation is just amazing! I felt the old colors always had a greenish/pinkish tinge but now, the colors look accurate. Blue skies look vibrantly blue and no pinkish haze on the background. Grass and hills are still green but now we can see the strands of grass quite clearly, more than ever before.

The blues of Julie Andrews and Charmian Carr's eyes just captures your attention, the detail of Captain von Trapp's home or the clothing is detail that is much more cleaner and more evident than ever before. Only one time in the film is where things do look a bit faux is when the Captain, the Baroness and Uncle Max are driving and of course, you see the usual fake background and that scene, you're not going to get much realism but for the most part, the film looks amazing.

And as mentioned, the sound…I've listened to this soundtrack so many times but to hear it in 7.1 and hear of how the instruments were carefully selected for various channels, for those who have a 7.1 setup, you can't help but be happy of how nice this soundtrack comes in DTS-HD! Again, awesome!

And just when you think that was it, there are literally hours and hours of special features included in this release of "The Sound of Music: 45th Anniversary Edition". It took me two days or so just to go through everything and watch everything and once again, I thought the 40th Anniversary Edition was significant, but this 45th Anniversary edition just blows it out of the water. Various documentaries, commentary, various featuretttes, audio interviews and more! And I can't even imagine what 20th Century Fox will do for the 50th Anniversary Edition but I do have one request and that would be to record the live sing-along for the film and give people a chance to select it as an optional soundtrack to watch the film and sing-along with those thousands of people (like the 18,000 or so that showed up to the Hollywood Bowl). That would be awesome!

And I need to go back to the restoration and to say that if Twentieth Century Fox now has the technology in 2010 to take damaged negatives and are able to repair it to the point where they can re-use the film for a master in a Blu-ray release, that literally makes me extremely giddy and happy because that means a lot of those wonderful classic films in their catalog can receive a wonderful Blu-ray release using this technology. I'm very impressed with this release and I look forward to the potential of what this can mean for classic films on Blu-ray from Twentieth Century Fox.

With that being said, for the very hardcore fans of "The Sound of Music", for this 45th Anniversary release, you also have the opportunity to get the Limited Collector's set packaged in a keepsake box and features a 100-page "My Favorite Things" scrapbook, a 45th Anniversary Soundtrack, a reproduction of the original 1965 souvenir program, an exclusive handpainted "My Favorite Things" music box and more. And for those people who prefer all things digital, on November 2nd will also include a digital release on iTunes of "The Sound of Music: 45th Anniversary Edition" which includes a sing-along version of the movie and 180-minutes of behind-the-scenes material.

Once again, I was shocked when I watched this release because I had no idea how much went into the restoration of the film for this 45th Anniversary edition because they just did one for the 40th Anniversary. But the fact that they have the technology and that they were given a chance to do give this film a new restoration using the latest technology was impressive. The addition of all this bonus material for the Blu-ray release is magnificent and the fact that this entire Blu-ray release of "The Sound of Music: 45th Anniversary Edition" just raises the bar of what a studio can accomplish for a classic film.

I admittedly have no intention of purchasing this handsome-looking Blu-Ray DVD edition of The Sound of Music, first because I'm not much of a TV-watcher, secondly because I've always preferred to see classics such as TSOM on the great, big wide movie theatre screens, as they're meant to be viewed, and thirdly, I do not have a Blu-Ray DVD player (or any DVD player, for that matter), and have no intention of purchasing one, but I did see the 45th anniversary re-release of TSOM in a movie theatre not far from where I lived, and had a wonderful time.

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