Thursday, November 18, 2010
The Hills are Alive!
When I was a child, my favorite movie was The Sound of Music. I loved the songs, the story, and the children, especially being an only child. I loved everything about the movie. I looked forward to seeing it every year on TV, except my parents would never let me stay up and watch the end. As an adult, the movie is a bit saccharine and it's been on my list to buy, but I hadn't gotten around to it.
On the way to violin lessons last month, Adam and Dova wanted to hear the Do-Re-Mi song. I immediately pulled up the The Sound of Music soundtrack on my iPod and we started to sing along. And then I played them all the good kid tunes from the soundtrack, My Favorite Things, The Lonely Goatherd, and So Long, Farewell. Every ride to violin lessons was accented by yodeling and belting out of high notes (especially by Adam). It was a musical lover’s dream. Thankfully, Adam and Dova are still at an age where there is still magic in these songs and not everything is spoiled.
To add to the magic, since Dova was a baby, I have sung her a “Dova Bea” song based on the melody to Edelweiss. And we also have a cuckoo clock that plays Edelweiss. So to her, this is a magical song that our whole family revolves around. The song is also magical to Austrians everywhere, even though it never existed before Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote it for the movie. This musical duo is simply one of the best of all time.
When the Blu-Ray edition was released earlier this month, I knew it was time to get the movie. The kids knew all the songs by heart, and I knew the high definition digital restoration would be stunning. And it was simply glorious to watch as a family. My eyes were popping out just from the opening sequence in the mountains. The detail of the trees and the sparkle of the water was spectacular. And when Julie Andrews came into view through the crispy clear blades of grass, I got chills down my spine. Even by today’s standards, the cinematography in this movie is still first class. Later, the color and texture of the fabrics were brilliantly rendered. After watching the video restoration featurette, you can see that things like the white balance correction makes this version the best version of The Sound of Music that anyone has ever seen.
There were parts of the story that I had forgotten, thanks to editing from the network TV versions. The Edelweiss duet between the Captain (sung by Bill Lee) and Liesl (Charmian Carr) was very charming. This version of the song doesn’t appear on any of the soundtracks except on the 40th Anniversary Special Edition with extra tracks, so I’ll have to add this soundtrack to my collection as well.
I’ve also soaked up the extras on the Blu-Ray edition. There is a wonderful sing-along where I’ve finally learned all the words to I Have Confidence ("Strength doesn't lie in numbers", not "Strength the lion numbers"!). Each song has a featurette, and there is even a clip of Christopher Plummer singing Edelweiss before Bill Lee was dubbed over. The musical numbers take up a full 58 minutes of the nearly 3 hour film, and it is wonderful to have them all back to back to watch. The kids were mesmerized by these old school music videos. It was also cool to have the original intermission with the entr'acte music intact.
I was disappointed when I learned that I missed the special Oprah show where the cast of The Sound of Music reunited. Still, there are enough video tidbits to make a visit to this site worthwhile. The video of the Von Trapp great-grandchilden singing Edelweiss is moving and beautiful and the behind the scenes video and trivia photo montage are priceless.
If you’re looking for a great family movie for this holiday season, I can’t recommend this Blu-Ray edition of The Sound of Music enough. Layee-o-dl layee-o-dl lay-ee-o!