Which "Sound of Music" DVD to get?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Trevor Harrison, Dec 27, 2003.

  1. Trevor Harrison

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    When I did a search on Futureshop's site for The Sound of Music, I see multiple versions.

    I know there was a 35th anaversery edition done a couple years back. I heard about it on the "DVD Discoveries" DVD.

    They have a 2 disc version which was just released in October. Is that the right version just repackaged? It has a 86 minute documentary and a couple 36 minute segments.

    So which version to I tell my mom to get?
     
  2. BrianP

    BrianP Supporting Actor

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    Get the newer 2 disc version over the single disc. It's the same release as the older but now discontinued 5 star collection released several years ago. Unfortunately the movie could use a new transfer but that's a different topic.
     
  3. Donnie Eldridge

    Donnie Eldridge Supporting Actor

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    There is no question it requires a new transfer. It should have been done with the 5 star edition. What a ashame.[​IMG]
     
  4. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Slightly off topic, I was inspired last night to pull out my 5 Star SOM 2 disc DVD.

    What I had never done before, as I only watch this on special occasions, was listen to the audio commentary. (And I always listen to them!) But firstly, what I never noticed before was how great this sounds. I knew it sounded great, but there was stuff I forgot about. Mainly the two big parts I think make it a demo or test disc for audio systems is the opening sequence when Julie Andrews is singing the title track. As she’s walking back to the convent, you see her coming up to the trees and her voice is panning from left to center and then back and forth all over the front. I have a very good system and recently added new speakers, so it was a great test of the speaker matching up in front. I can hear her voice pan and pause in between the speakers, or more precisely, the audio imaging worked for me.

    The second sequence was the wedding portion. When I finally build my new subwoofer, I will use this sequence to check it out. How many here actually use their sub for organ music? It’s not just for explosions! My old store bought sub did okay on it, but I am now excited to try this scene on a capable sub. The Dolby Digital track is very strong on the LFE channel during this scene. I’m actually appreciating the musical qualities of my system more and more these days and this disc is a good one. I‘m sure there are those that feel that not only the video needs improvement, but audio too. Perhaps, but as it is, it sounds great. Anyone else?

    As for the audio commentaries, which I listened to 90% to last night, what was cool was that Robert Wise had not only insightful comments but he also would stop talking to allow the isolated music only track to come in. So the score was there in 2-channel stereo. Kind of odd to see mouths moving, but no singing, fortunately you can turn on the subtitles on the fly via remote.

    The extra documentary on the real Von Trapp family was great as it tells you what really happened to them. Also on the commentary, Wise clearly tells the difference between Lehman’s screenplay and the stage play and how the changes for the film made the film version flow better and used the songs to better tell the story. But liberties were taken on the facts and compressed other facts to make the story more dramatic and build conflict and tension, as all adaptations do.

    My off the cuff thoughts.
     
  5. Ray H

    Ray H Producer

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    Really? I wasn't even aware there really was a Von Trapp family. But shamefully, I hadn't seen the movie until last night when it was shown on ABC.
     
  6. Richard Ruffner

    Richard Ruffner Stunt Coordinator

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    This is why I am hanging onto my 35th Anniv. box set LaserDisc. One of the best looking LD's IMO
     
  7. Brian W.

    Brian W. Screenwriter

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    If I were you, I wouldn't get any of them, because I would be willing to bet money there will be a newly remastered edition released within a year or slightly more -- 2005 is the 40th anniversary.
     
  8. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

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    Yes, the current DVD picture quality is a disappointment. Way too much edge enhancement among other problems.

    The ABC HD broadcast last night was not OAR, but looked better than the DVD otherwise, although there were noticeable blemishes. I'd like to see a full film restoration followed by a Lowry-type digital cleanup for DVD.
     
  9. jeff peterson

    jeff peterson Supporting Actor

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    Yes, they settled near Stowe, VT where they opened a successful (still in business) skiing lodge, the Trapp Family Lodge
     
  10. Brian W.

    Brian W. Screenwriter

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    Yes, the real Maria was sent from a convent to act as governess to Captain Von Trapp's ill daughter, and she did fall in love with him, leave the convent, and marry him. They did form a vocal group that performed around Austria.

    But in real life, this all happened several years before Hitler invaded Austria. Maria had had two children with the Captain by that time. And in a very close call, the borders were closed the day AFTER they left the country -- chilling, but not quite as suspenseful as portrayed in the film.
     
  11. Jeff Swearingen

    Jeff Swearingen Second Unit

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    The von Trapp grandchildren now tour and make money singing by way of the family name. I saw them in a production of the Sound of Music a few months ago - not an outstanding one in my opinion.

    For some reason I see more and more copies of Fox's one-disc P/S release of Sound of Music. Not sure if this means that people are buying it or if this is just sitting on store shelves collecting dust because some corporate guy ordered too many.
     
  12. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Nelson,

    what you're hearing is "directional dialogue" that was part of the mixing style for big-budget widescreen films from this era. The logic was that since the front speakers were placed behind the screen...that as the character moved accross the screen, the sound should follow their position to be more realistic.

    I love this effect and think it's one of the great things that distinguishes the audio for these historic films. Fox is generally very good about preserving the directional dialog and keeping the integrity of these historic sound mixes in tact. Warner, on the other hand, routinely mixes all dialog to "center" for their classic films (remixes them entirely paying no heed to the original sound design) and basically trashes the historic sound mix in the process (Ben Hur and Camelot are two examples where the sound mix on the DVD bears no resemblence to the original film).

    -dave
     
  13. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Thanks Dave- Too bad so many classic films original sound design is altered for DVD's today market. I'm glad TSOM is intact. It's fun to hear it, since it's so rare to find it.

    Nelson
     
  14. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    The real live Maria Von Trapp even has a cameo in the film. The documentary points it out in the 5 star edition. She's walking in the background when the family is wandering around downtown Salzburg.
     
  15. Brian W.

    Brian W. Screenwriter

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    Yeah, she heard through the grapevine they were shooting in Salzburg and dropped in unexpectedly one day, so they put her in the background. Unfortunately, the studio didn't even invite her to the premiere!

    She had complained previously about the embellishments in the Broadway show, and wanted things changed for the film -- mainly the Captain's harshness. She did meet with screenwriter Ernest Lehman before production to discuss it, but was not consulted after that. When she heard she hadn't been invited to the premiere, she called and requested an invite -- and was told there were no seats left! But she did request and receive a private showing.

    It's interesting to read her story on the Von Trapp Family web site, how the producer of the original German film tricked her into signing away her rights to the story. She was holding out for a royalty agreement, and the producer's agent told her (falsely) that it was illegal for a German company to pay out royalties to a foreigner. She foolishly took his word for it and sold her story outright for $9,000.

    Fortunately, when the rights for the Broadway show were purchased from the German producer, they agreed just on principal to give Maria 3/8 of a percent of the royalties. So at least she eventually saw some money from it. It doesn't say if she ever got any royalties from the film or not.
     
  16. Claude North

    Claude North Second Unit

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    Glad to read I'm not the only one who found the picture quality of the SOM DVD to be less than impressive. I thought perhaps my TV or DVD player was not working properly.

    Years ago, while working as an "800" operator for various mail-order catalog companies, I actually spoke to one of the Von Trapps. I don't remember which Von Trapp it was, or what she ordered, but it was still rather cool to be talking to an actual Von Trapp.
     
  17. TonyDale

    TonyDale Second Unit

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    Actually, her cameo is much earlier: Maria (the real one) can be glimpsed, and i do mean GLIMPSED, while Maria (Julie Andrews) is singing "I Have Confidence." The real Maria walks from left to right in the background, accompanied by another woman. I'll try to track down the exact time frame later today.
     

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