Sixty years have passed this year since Rodgers & Hammerstein’s timeless musical The Sound Of Music made its stage debut. The timeless musical, which was based on the memoir of Maria Von Trapp went on to earn five Tony® awards. This is despite the historical inaccuracies in the story. The story won the awards — and went on to spawn an equally famed big-screen musical in 1965, that starred actress Julie Andrews – because of its musical numbers and performances by its cast. 20th Century Fox’s 1965 film adaptation of the play was just one of countless adaptations of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s timeless work that have been crafted on stage and screen around the world. British broadcasting network itv produced its own TV take on the play in the form of The Sound of Music Live in 2015. Its broadcast was followed early last November with a Blu-ray home release of the production, courtesy of Shout! Factory. The presentation is one that any die-hard fan of The Sound of Music will appreciate. That is due in part to its story, which will be discussed shortly. Its very presentation also plays into its appeal, and will be discussed a little later. The bonus content included with the show’s home release is important to its appeal, too, and will be discussed later as well. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the home release of The Sound of Music Live. All things considered, they make The Sound of Music Live a good addition to the library of any musical fan’s library and to that of any devotee of The Sound of Music.
British broadcaster itv’s 2015 small-screen take of The Sound of Music is a work that is certain to appeal to musical theater fans just as much as devotees of The Sound of Music. That is thanks in part to its story. The story presented here uses Rodgers & Hammerstein’s original musical, which made its stage debut in 1959, as its source more so than the 1965 big screen adaptation, which starred Julie Andrews as Maria. However, much of what is included in the cinematic take is also included in the stage version, so audiences get here, the best of both worlds. Given there are some slight alterations between the 1965 version and this take, such as how the Von Trapp family ultimately escapes the Nazis (not to give away too much) and the initial ‘Do-Re-Me’ scene. That number’s setting is different in the two versions. The execution of the ‘Edelweiss’ number is also slightly different between the two versions, especially considering that in itv’s take, there is only one performance of the song while in the 1965 version, the song is performed twice in two separate settings. This is just one of the few differences that exist between itv’s live version of The Sound of Music and 20th Century Fox’s 1965 presentation of the story. There are other minute variances between each take. The fact that the differences are so minute ensures even more, that this version will still appeal to fans of the original play and those who are more loyal to the story’s cinematic standard. The story is just one part of what makes this performance of The Sound of Music so widely-appealing to audiences. The show’s very presentation adds to its appeal even more.
The presentation of The Sound of Music Live is important to address in examining the movie in that it adds to the ability of audiences to suspend their disbelief. This includes the sets and cinematography. Audiences get a behind-the-scenes look at the sets in the presentation’s bonus material. This will be discussed a little later. The sets give the feeling that they could just as easily have been used in an actual stage presentation of the classic musical, yet are just enough to give the show a little bit of a cinematic feel at the same time. That attention to detail and balance makes the show’s set designers worthy of their own share of applause. The equally sharp camera work throughout gives even more, that feeling of a stage presentation on screen without being too much over the top. The movements and the shots themselves couple with the sets to give audiences the best seat in the house. It’s like being in a theater watching the musical take place, but not having to deal with the noise and congestion created by other people. In other words, the sets and cinematography presented in The Sound of Music Live do just as much for the show’s overall presentation as its story. That collective is not the last of the presentation’s most important elements. The bonus content featured in its Blu-ray release is key in its own way to the whole package.
The bonus content featured as part of The Sound of Music Live’s home release is made up of a full-length audio commentary track featuring lead stars Kara Tointon and Julian Ovenden, as well as the previously noted behind-the-scenes featurette. The behind-the-scenes featurette is enlightening in its own right, as it shows viewers the intensity of the preparations for the show (roughly two months worth of preps to be exact). It also shows how hard it was to actually put on the show once the proverbial curtain lifted. That alone makes for more appreciation for the show. The bonus feature-length commentary adds its own share of enlightenment and interest. That is thanks to the variety of items that Tointon and Ovenden discuss. The pair addresses items, such as Tointon’s lack of knowledge about playing guitar, thee difficulty of shooting a stage presentation for the small screen and commentary that the cast and crew received from audiences in Austria. They note that the noted audiences were not happy with The Sound of Music in general because of the story’s historical inaccuracies. That’s just a sampling of what was discussed in the commentary. The pair also talks briefly about the use of the stock footage as part of the show, the humility of the younger cast members and the success of the casting for other parts, just to name a little bit more. Between all of this and the items not mentioned in reference to the bonus commentary (and the behind-the-scenes featurette), the bonus content featured in this Blu-ray adds even more appeal for the overall presentation. When it is considered along with the story and the show’s aesthetic elements, the whole proves to be a presentation that will appeal to plenty of audiences.
itv’s small-screen iteration of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic musical The Sound of Music Live is a work that will appeal easily to musical fans in general as well as to devoted fans of the noted musical. That is due in part to the show’s story with includes elements of the 1965 cinematic adaptation from 20th Century Fox and of the original stage musical. The sets and cinematography presented in the show collectively add more interest and appeal to the presentation. The bonus content featured in the show’s Blu-ray release adds its own share of interest to the presentation, too. Each item noted here is important in its own right to the whole of The Sound of Music Live. All things considered, the show is one that, again, is certain to appeal to musical devotees across the board. The Sound of Music Live is available now. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:
To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.