Film Reviews

The Sound Of Music 50th Anniversary Soundtrack Review

81VVfMkdQXL._SL1500_“The hills are alive with the sound of music”. Or so the song goes.

The Sound of Music is a staple – its popularity still endures, unlike other such great classic and hugely popular Broadway musicals turned into epic features in the 1960s: West Side Story and My Fair Lady included which are less so than they were in the 1960s. Still today The Sound of Music singalong is a popular feature at the Prince Charles off Leicester Square. Even children today know such songs as ‘Do-Re-Mi’. The original soundtrack album was rarely out of the charts between 1965 – 1967. Indeed in 1967 it was one of 4 albums to hit the coveted number one spot in that year, sharing most of the year with The Beatles ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ with the year book ended with a Monkees album at each end of the year.

But what of the 50th Anniversary edition? The cover is the old classic image of Julie Andrews with guitar and luggage skipping through an Alpine meadow with the Von Trapp girls and boys joyously following behind and a disapproving Captain Von Trapp looking on. Being that this is the anniversary edition, following on from a 25th Anniversary re-release, a 35 year, 40 and 45th Anniversary version it does have a well-illustrated and complete booklet to accompany it. The booklet includes words written by Julie Andrews herself about how she was approached by Messrs. Rodgers and Hammerstein who having seen Julie in ‘The Boyfriend’, another Broadway hit in 1957. They were impressed. Later she would appear in the Broadway hit ‘My Fair Lady’ before it too became a Hollywood success. This Broadway musical grabbed the attention of many and once again they were impressed. After director Robert Wise was taken on board to direct the film version of ‘The Sound of Music’ after it too became a Broadway hit, Wise too was searching around for the right person to be cast as Maria. It seems crazy today to think that there could have been anyone else. Considered for the role was among others Audrey Hepburn and Mary Martin the original star of the stage production – but they just didn’t seem right. Then as if a light bulb went *ping* Julie Andrews seemed the right choice. And she had the perfect voice; having as she did that magical je ne sais quoi that she had in the Disney hit Mary Poppins.

Her voice is still magical on ‘record’ as she works her way through the standards. Yet the album, as big a hit as it was produced no singles, no hits and like The Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ the album had to sell itself without singles. Some songs did become hits for other crooners such as the (unarguably) best song of the album, ‘Edelweiss’ which of course was not sung by the films co-star Christopher Plummer but was sung by the man who mimed him, Bill Lee. ‘Edelweiss’ would become a hit for the likes of Vince Hill who reached #2 in the charts with his version in 1967. The goat song is another popular song from the film. There are so many well-known tunes such as ‘Climb Every Mountain’, ‘Maria’ and the very Alpine ‘So Long, Farewell’. On the CD, however, some of those popular and great songs are too camouflaged in with so much incidental music it becomes difficult to listen to the music without visualising or seeing the majesty of the Salzburg Alpine surroundings and would probably be better suited in its kitsch setting on a Salzburg ‘Sound of Music’ tour – which I must say is highly recommended.

Chris Hick

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