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KPmusmag

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I watched the blu-ray this afternoon and I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is very much in the style of the MGM musical biopics, which are a glossy, fictional overview. Grieg's life was darker and more interesting (including his own illnesses) than depicted here. The attempt to emulate The Sound of Music in certain respects is obvious (stunning scenery; Florence Henderson taking the children around town with a lighthearted song) is obvious. Nonetheless, IMO it is not the disaster that has been portrayed over the years. Sometimes, when an opinion is repeated often enough, it becomes "true". Not a great movie, no. But I enjoyed it and IMO it has merit. The sound at times seemed a bit thin to me, but during the wedding scene, the subwoofer kicked in big time with the organ bass pedals. I had not seen this movie for 50 years; my Grandmother took me to see it in 1970 with the promise that this movie "picks up where The Sound of Music left off." As a 6 year old who lived and breathed The Sound of Music, this movie made no sense at all. So I was pleased to be able to experience it again, projected at 100 inches with 5.1 sound, to give it another chance. One great pleasure was seeing and hearing Frank Poretta on screen, whom I knew only as a voice; Charlie on the Shirley Jones recording of Brigadoon and Lun Tha on the Risë Stevens recording of The King and I. In Song of Norway, he gave a joyous performance as Rikard Nordraak, who wrote the Norwegian national anthem and was Grieg's best friend. I also enjoyed the troll sequence - Grieg was telling a story to children, so it made sense and illustrated his Peer Gynt music. I suspect the troll sequence was intended to mirror the marionette sequence in The Sound of Music - except - in SOM that song did two things - one, it celebrated the marionettes that Salzburg is known for, and it demonstrated the close bond that had developed between the children and Maria and showed that The Baroness was the outsider and not the right choice for The Captain. In Song of Norway, the troll sequence does not make any comment on the story, except as an attempt to illustrate an inspiration for Grieg to write a piece of music (although Peer Gynt has a different genesis). I thank Kino for this opportunity to revisit this film in a high quality format.
 

PAUL ASKEDAL

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I watched the blu-ray this afternoon and I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is very much in the style of the MGM musical biopics, which are a glossy, fictional overview. Grieg's life was darker and more interesting (including his own illnesses) than depicted here. The attempt to emulate The Sound of Music in certain respects is obvious (stunning scenery; Florence Henderson taking the children around town with a lighthearted song) is obvious. Nonetheless, IMO it is not the disaster that has been portrayed over the years. Sometimes, when an opinion is repeated often enough, it becomes "true". Not a great movie, no. But I enjoyed it and IMO it has merit. The sound at times seemed a bit thin to me, but during the wedding scene, the subwoofer kicked in big time with the organ bass pedals. I had not seen this movie for 50 years; my Grandmother took me to see it in 1970 with the promise that this movie "picks up where The Sound of Music left off." As a 6 year old who lived and breathed The Sound of Music, this movie made no sense at all. So I was pleased to be able to experience it again, projected at 100 inches with 5.1 sound, to give it another chance. One great pleasure was seeing and hearing Frank Poretta on screen, whom I knew only as a voice; Charlie on the Shirley Jones recording of Brigadoon and Lun Tha on the Risë Stevens recording of The King and I. In Song of Norway, he gave a joyous performance as Rikard Nordraak, who wrote the Norwegian national anthem and was Grieg's best friend. I also enjoyed the troll sequence - Grieg was telling a story to children, so it made sense and illustrated his Peer Gynt music. I suspect the troll sequence was intended to mirror the marionette sequence in The Sound of Music - except - in SOM that song did two things - one, it celebrated the marionettes that Salzburg is known for, and it demonstrated the close bond that had developed between the children and Maria and showed that The Baroness was the outsider and not the right choice for The Captain. In Song of Norway, the troll sequence does not make any comment on the story, except as an attempt to illustrate an inspiration for Grieg to write a piece of music (although Peer Gynt has a different genesis). I thank Kino for this opportunity to revisit this film in a high quality format.
BRAVO! I THOROUGHLY ENJOYED YOUR REVIEW OF "SONG OF NORWAY"; YOU HIT IT RIGHT ON THE HEAD! thank you very much, as I totally agreed with you in all your stated. I, LIKE YOU, ALSO SAW THIS MOVIE ON THE BIG SCREEN IN NOVEMBER 1970, AT SYOSSET CINEMA 150 ON LONG ISLAND NY, AS MY UNCLE, WHO WAS ORIGINALLY FROM BERGEN, NORWAY, BOUGHT TICKETS FOR MY PARENTS AND FOR ME AND FOR MY AUNT (HIS WIFE) AND FOR MY GRANDPARENTS (MY FATHER'S PARENTS WHICH ONE CAME FROM NORWAY ALSO ORIGINALLY); EVEN THOUGH SAME AGE AS YOU, I STILL REMEMBER, VENTURING TO THIS THEATER TO SEE THIS MOVIE (IT WAS THE BEST MOVIE THEATER TO SEE ANY "BIG PRODUCTION OF A MOVIE", HAD THE BEST SOUND, THE BEST SCREEN, ETC., MODERN FOR ITS TIME, BUILT IN 1969 CIRCA; I SAW "TITANIC" IN 1997 AND "INDEPENDENCE DAY" IN 1996 AND "EARTHQUAKE" IN 1974 AND ":MAN OF LA MANCHA" IN 1972 AT THIS EXCELLENT THEATER, HENCE, A 'SPECIAL, ONLY FOR MAJOR BIG MOVIES, MOVIE THEATRE'. I HAVE WAITED 50 YEARS FOR THIS MOVIE TO BE ON VIDEO (FIRST ON DVD AND THEN BLURAY, BUT ONLY NOW HAS COME TO FRUTATION; I THINK I HAD WRITTEN TO FLORENCE HENDERSON ONCE ONLINE, TO GET SOMEONE TO PUT ON BLURAY-DVD, AND FOR HER TO DO COMMENTARY; ONLY 2 ARE STILL LIVNG: THE 2 MAIN ACTORS, CHRISTINA SCHOLLIN AS THERESE BERG AND TORAVL MAURSTAD AS GRIEG, ARE STILL ALIVE (HE IS LIKE 93 YEARS OLD NOW, AND SHE IS IN HER EARLY 80s); IT IS TOO BAD THAT KINO LORBER OR SOMEONE-SOME COMPANY DID NOT GET THEM TO DO THE COMMENTARY, OR EVEN DO A FEATURETTE AND INTERVIEW THEM. I WATCHED THE MOVIE AS SOON AS IT ARRIVED (ORDERED FEBRUARY 2020, AND TOOK 2 MONTHS BEFORE I WAS ABLE TO RECEIVE AND WATCH). GREAT SOUND (5.1), GREAT ACTING, GREAT CINEMATOGRAPHY, SOUNDED FANTASTIC ON THE SOUND SYSTEM, WITH THE SUBWOOFER -BASS- KICKING IN. THE ENDING JUST ENDS, WISHING IT HAD A "WRAP-UP", STATING WHAT HAPPENED AND WHEN HE DIED, JUST "THE END". AT LEAST HAS THE EXIT MUSIC; I DO NOT REMEMBER IF THERE WAS AN OVERTURE OR NOT, BUT DO REMEMBER AN INTERMISSION (I REMEMBER IT CAME AFTER THE WEDDING, WHEN FADES OUT, BETWEEN WEDDING OF GRIEG TO NINA, AND "BE A BOY AGAIN" NUMBER, WHICH STARTS THE SECOND PART AFTER INTERMISSION. DO NOT ASK HOW I REMEMBER; BUT EVEN ON VIDEOTAPE, THATS HOW FIRST CASSETTE ENDED AND SECOND VIDEOCASSETTTE STARTED; TECHNICALLY THIS FIRST TIME SEEN IT IN ALMOST 50 YEARS (50 YEARS BEING THIS NOVEMBER SINCE PREMIERED), EVEN THOUGH I DID RENT IT ON VIDEOCASSETTE IN EARLY 1980s, AND THEN OWN THE VIDEOTAPE WHICH SUCKED, AS IT WAS NOT WIDESCREEN-LETTERBOX, BUT FULL SCREEN. AND SOUND NOT AS GREAT AS TODAY. THAT WAS IN 2.0; 5.1 PUTS THAT TO SHAME. I AM VERY ECSTATIC THAT I BOUGHT THE BLURAY OF "SONG OF NORWAY". ANYWAY, THANKS FOR REVIEW, AND THANK YOU FOR ALLOWING ME TO POST. HOPE YOU ALL ARE STAYING SAFE AND HEALTHY. HEJ HEJ, AS THE SCANDINAVIANS SAY.
 
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PAUL ASKEDAL

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In 1968 the Warner Cinerama theatre was tripled.

ctwarnernyadt.jpg


ctwarnernyadb.jpg



Cinerama theatre
mph0911683.jpg
THOSE WERE THE DAYS, WHICH I MISS, EVEN THOUGH I WAS STILL VERY YOUNG, LIKE 8 YEARS OLD, BUT STILL, THOSE TIMES HAD CLASS, as were the movie theaters also, and, WERE CLASSY, AND MOVIE PREMIERES WERE REAL GREAT MOVIE PREMIERES, AND MOVIE THEATERS WERE GREAT, WELL BUILT, HAD CLASS, HAD A DISTINCTION, AND LOVED GOING TO THE THEATER TO SEE MOVIES ON A BIG SCREEN IN A FANCY THEATER. I TRULY MISS THOSE DAYS AND TIMES. "THOSE WERE THE DAYS". NOW, THEY BUILD "BOXES", BEGINNING IN MID-1970s, CINEMAPLEXES, NO MORE GIGANTIC SINGLE MOVIE THEATERS, WHICH THE BEST SINGLE BUILT MOVIE THEATER, WAS "SYOSSET CINEMA 150" ON LONG ISLAND IN NEW YORK IN SYOSSET ON JERICHO TURNPIKE AT ROUTE 135 (SEAFORD-OYSTER BAY EXPRESSWAY; NOW TORN DOWN, OR ACTUALLY KEPT BACK OF THE CIRCULAR PART OF THE THEATER WHERE SCREEN WAS, AND NOW TURNED IT INTO AN OFFICE BUILDING; I SAW "BIG" MOVIE PRODUCTIONS THERE, LIKE HELLO DOLLY/MAN OF LA MANCHA/INDEPENDENCE DAY/MacARTHUR/FUGITVE/EARTHQUAKE/TITANIC all played, and saw all those there; the sound and the enormous screen really 'made' a movie...A MOVIE EXPERIENCE like no other). THOSE DAYS ARE LONG GONE.
 

PAUL ASKEDAL

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Song Of Norway was shown at the Warner Cinema before it was changed into a multiplex. Saw Finian's Rabow after they made it into 3 theaters. Terrible. Both the movie and the ruination of one of the finer theaters in Times Sq.
THOSE WERE THE DAYS, WHICH I MISS, EVEN THOUGH I WAS STILL VERY YOUNG, LIKE 8 YEARS OLD, BUT STILL, THOSE TIMES HAD CLASS, as were the movie theaters also, and, WERE CLASSY, AND MOVIE PREMIERES WERE REAL GREAT MOVIE PREMIERES, AND MOVIE THEATERS WERE GREAT, WELL BUILT, HAD CLASS, HAD A DISTINCTION, AND LOVED GOING TO THE THEATER TO SEE MOVIES ON A BIG SCREEN IN A FANCY THEATER. I TRULY MISS THOSE DAYS AND TIMES. "THOSE WERE THE DAYS". NOW, THEY BUILD "BOXES", BEGINNING IN MID-1970s, CINEMAPLEXES, NO MORE GIGANTIC SINGLE MOVIE THEATERS, WHICH THE BEST SINGLE BUILT MOVIE THEATER, WAS "SYOSSET CINEMA 150" ON LONG ISLAND IN NEW YORK IN SYOSSET ON JERICHO TURNPIKE AT ROUTE 135 (SEAFORD-OYSTER BAY EXPRESSWAY; NOW TORN DOWN, OR ACTUALLY KEPT BACK OF THE CIRCULAR PART OF THE THEATER WHERE SCREEN WAS, AND NOW TURNED IT INTO AN OFFICE BUILDING; I SAW "BIG" MOVIE PRODUCTIONS THERE, LIKE HELLO DOLLY/MAN OF LA MANCHA/INDEPENDENCE DAY/MacARTHUR/FUGITVE/EARTHQUAKE/TITANIC all played, and saw all those there; the sound and the enormous screen really 'made' a movie...A MOVIE EXPERIENCE like no other). THOSE DAYS ARE LONG GONE.
 

PAUL ASKEDAL

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The VHS does the same thing and there is a reel change marker at the end of the fade, so I assume that is the way it was released.
THE Intermission comes between (*after) WEDDING SCENE BETWEEN Grieg AND NINA -and- SECOND PORTION OF THE MOVIE -after the intermission- STARTS WHEN HE SINGS THE SONG "BE A BOY AGAIN". I still remember that from seeing it in theater in 1970. I do not remember if there was an overture or not; Kino Lorber did not utilize the INTERMISSION sign on the bluray, BUT, if remember correctly, the videocassette had INTERMISSION, BUT, kino Lorber DOES have the EXIT music, as music continues to play after end credit of "THE END"; it just fades to black screen but can still hear the music for 2 to 3 minutes.
 

PAUL ASKEDAL

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Is this as good as The Great Waltz or The Slipper and The Rose- 2 movies that no one really has ever seen? ]
I would think more people saw Lost Horizon and A Little Night Music more than these 3.

Wow- no one in the 70's really knew how to make a musical and let's forget the Vietnam War- at least we had Cabaret, Grease, Rocky Horror, Fiddler, JC Superstar, Tommy, A Star is Born-all hits. Well Rocky Horror delayed into the '80's.
I think the 80's were worse.
Believe it or not, as I love musicals, I DO OWN ALL THOSE MUSICALS ON DVD (and couple of those I re-bought ON BLURAY, and 1 I even originally bought on laserdisc); only ones I do not have are LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC (but did see that in the movie theater, in Hicksville twin theater on Long Island NY) and GREAT WALTZ..
 

PAUL ASKEDAL

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The Slipper and the Rose was a pretty good telling of the Cinderella story actually and if you haven't seen it, give it a go.
I saw "slipper and the Rose" originally in December 1976 at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, loved it, and then had it on videocassette VHS tape, and then bought the dvd, and now also own the bluray. I Love the movie, and met Chamberlain twice (1983 and again circa 2004) and I also own the LP album of "Slipper and the Rose". The movie was excellent to me.
 

roxy1927

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Finian's Rainbow was '68. Norway was '70. Therefore Norway played in the Cinerama after it was triplexed. I was never in the theater before the slicing and dicing but thought the Cinerama was the retained orchestra with no modification but the balcony cut off.
Anybody who was in the theater before it became a triplex have any thoughts about what was done to the orchestra and balcony? I was in the Penthouse and it was very big. Deep and wide stadium seating as a former huge balcony would be.
 

RolandL

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Finian's Rainbow was '68. Norway was '70. Therefore Norway played in the Cinerama after it was triplexed. I was never in the theater before the slicing and dicing but thought the Cinerama was the retained orchestra with no modification but the balcony cut off.
Anybody who was in the theater before it became a triplex have any thoughts about what was done to the orchestra and balcony? I was in the Penthouse and it was very big. Deep and wide stadium seating as a former huge balcony would be.


Cinerama - former orchestra, about 1,200 seats
mph0911683.jpg



Penthouse - former balcony, about 1,000 seats
mph0911682.jpg
 

usrunnr

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Florence Henderson appeared in "The King And I" with Ricardo Montalban at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Los Angeles Music Center. It was the inaugural event at that theater, which eventually became Center Theater Group and included the Ahmanson Theater and the Mark Taper Forum. I remember enjoying Henderson's singing and charm very much.
 

KPmusmag

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Florence Henderson appeared in "The King And I" with Ricardo Montalban at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion of the Los Angeles Music Center. It was the inaugural event at that theater, which eventually became Center Theater Group and included the Ahmanson Theater and the Mark Taper Forum. I remember enjoying Henderson's singing and charm very much.

My parents took me to see that. Thank you bringing up a very nice memory!
 

rsmithjr

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My copy of Norway just arrived and I will be watching it this weekend. Much appreciate getting this, even though it is missing the overture and intermission as I understand it.

As a lover of musicals, onstage and onscreen, I love the musicals of the late 60s and early 70s. They are beautifully produced and hold up very well. I was in grad school during that period and missed many good films but I did try to see most of these musicals.

My story about Norway is this. I worked at a theater in high school starting in 1961 before I became a projectionist in college. There was a lovely older woman who came frequently, and she always asked if we would play the Song of Norway. We tried to explain to her on numerous occasions that it had never been made as a film. Finally I found a book that talked about it almost being made and showed it to her, but I am not surely she accepted this explanation.

The owner of the theater, now nearly 100 years old and still sharp as a tack, and I have laughed about this every time we get together.

So I will be closing the loop shortly.
 

warnerbro

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Beautiful music and scenery. Not a good movie. The script and direction are poor. But it's a beautiful experience to watch the first 45 minutes or so. I'm glad it's on blu ray and Kino did a good job as usual. Kino is really working hard and producing a lot of outstanding product.
 

rsmithjr

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Ok, finally got to see this only 50 years after release!

It is different than I thought. It is largely a pretty serious biography with a lot of subtle emotions and issues. I gather that his life was actually worse in some ways. The music and songs work well.

I had expected largely awesome scenery and beautiful children awkwardly choreographed. Yes that is all there but does not predominate.

I spent a month in Oslo at the Norwegian Computing Center 40 years ago and can attest that everything about Norway is really beautiful. Very nice place with nice nice people. The stores close at about 3pm in the afternoon and there isn't a lot to do however. I got a lot of work done there since there were few distractions. They did have some nice old theatres in downtown Oslo. They were showing films in English without Norwegian subtitles.
 

TJPC

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I have always read that the problem with “Song of Norway” has always been that Grieg had an almost completely dull and uneventful life. Any drama must therefore be fictional.
 

OliverK

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Ok, finally got to see this only 50 years after release!

It is different than I thought. It is largely a pretty serious biography with a lot of subtle emotions and issues. I gather that his life was actually worse in some ways. The music and songs work well.

I had expected largely awesome scenery and beautiful children awkwardly choreographed. Yes that is all there but does not predominate.

I spent a month in Oslo at the Norwegian Computing Center 40 years ago and can attest that everything about Norway is really beautiful. Very nice place with nice nice people. The stores close at about 3pm in the afternoon and there isn't a lot to do however. I got a lot of work done there since there were few distractions. They did have some nice old theatres in downtown Oslo. They were showing films in English without Norwegian subtitles.

The Cinemateket in Oslo still has 70mm festivals in most years:
https://www.in70mm.com/news/2019/oslo/index.htm
 
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roxy1927

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Till the Clouds Roll By also has the completely dull and uneventful life problem as well. Though Kern did oversleep and miss his passage on the Lusitania. His traveling companion the producer Charles Frohman did make it and his punctuality cost him his life.
 

Paul Rossen

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Finian's Rainbow was '68. Norway was '70. Therefore Norway played in the Cinerama after it was triplexed. I was never in the theater before the slicing and dicing but thought the Cinerama was the retained orchestra with no modification but the balcony cut off.
Anybody who was in the theater before it became a triplex have any thoughts about what was done to the orchestra and balcony? I was in the Penthouse and it was very big. Deep and wide stadium seating as a former huge balcony would be.


Wow...memory plays tricks...I must have seen Norway and Finians Rainbow at two of the 3 theaters after the Warner was sliced and diced.

I had seen many Roadshow films at the Warner prior to the converting it into 3 theaters.
Exodus was my first followed by El Cid, Mad World and Greatest Story Ever Told, Grand Prix-among others ...

What I recall - that the projection booth was in the orchestra thereby partially blocking a full view of the screen even though the screen was quite large. Remember recall marveling that Mad World didn't have the seams in the screen that previous Cinerama films had.

Also, sometime in the early 60's I believe that the Warner went through a refurbishing and modernizing of the theatre. Perhaps prior to the Mad World run.

All the roadshow theatres in Times Sq of the 50's and 60's were really showcase theatre with great sound and projection.
 

MatthewA

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Robert Morley did get cast in another movie musical: 1981's The Great Muppet Caper as the first man Kermit, Fozzie, and Gonzo meet when they land — literally — in England.

I have always read that the problem with “Song of Norway” has always been that Grieg had an almost completely dull and uneventful life. Any drama must therefore be fictional.

I wouldn't necessarily say that; he dealt with some debilitating health problems over the years and refused to perform in France because of the Dreyfus trial. But this film and the play it was based on focused more on his trying to use his music to help create a sense of Norwegian national identity, including, apparently, a national anthem. The only problem with that is that Rikkard Nordraak actually wrote Norway's national anthem while someone else wrote the lyrics.

All the negative comparisons to The Sound of Music are ironic because Florence Henderson played Maria first in a national tour that predated the movie, and because both the play and film also took liberties with the Von Trapps' real-life story. They changed the children's names (one of them was also named Maria), the amount of time Maria and Georg Von Trapp were married (they met and married in the 1920s), Maria's maiden name (Kutchera in real life, Rainer in the play, unspoken in the movie), the timeline of the Anschluss, and their means of escaping occupied Austria afterward (they went in a train because Georg Von Trapp was born in a part of Tyrol that was then part of Italy, so they got Italian visas). Even Uncle Max was a fictitious creation when the family actually learned to sing from an anti-Nazi priest named Franz Wasner, who lived with them when he rented out a room when they were dirt broke from a bank failure. The movie makes you think they were still living high on the hog right before they left. So historical inaccuracy is not why Song of Norway wasn't a moneymaker. It was only a moderate success on Broadway if it ran 860 performances compared to the 2,212 performances of the original run of Oklahoma! which was running concurrently.
 

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