Friday, November 11, 2005

Rodgers & Hammerstein Anniversary DVDs

There are some wonderful DVD releases coming next Tuesday which Rodgers and Hammerstein musical lovers may want to put on their Christmas lists.

A 40th anniversary edition of THE SOUND OF MUSIC (linked above) contains a great deal of new material which wasn't in the last two-disc release, including a commentary track by Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. It was a treat to see Julie Andrews and the "children" this morning on GOOD MORNING, AMERICA!

The 50th anniversary edition of OKLAHOMA! is of note as it contains not one but two versions of the film. The movie was shot in both Cinemascope and Todd-AO, and each disc contains one of the versions, with a commentary by Shirley Jones accompanying one and musicals expert Hugh Fordin on the other.

I once saw OKLAHOMA! and couldn't figure out why it felt just a bit "off" -- I later realized I'd seen a version I hadn't previously seen before!

(SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS is another film which was filmed twice; both Cinemascope and "flat" versions are included in the two-disc DVD which came out last year. It's fascinating to compare the slight differences.)

The charming STATE FAIR is being released in a 60th anniversary edition which includes the inferior 1962 version on the second disc. STATE FAIR is unique in that R&H wrote it directly for the screen rather than the Broadway stage. Jeanne Crain was dubbed singing "It Might As Well Be Spring," but she's always been one of my favorite actresses, and the score also includes one of my favorite R&H songs, "It's a Grand Night for Singing."


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