dedicated fan of THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965), it takes more than a bit for a new book on the subject to impress me.
THE SOUND OF MUSIC FAQ by Barry Monush did just that. It truly is, as the subtitle says, "All that's left to know about Maria, the Von Trapps, and our favorite things."
I previously reviewed Monush's 2010 book on WEST SIDE STORY (1961), and I liked this one, timed to coincide with THE SOUND OF MUSIC's 50th anniversary, even better.
THE SOUND OF MUSIC FAMILY SCRAPBOOK before it, is a "must own" for SOUND OF MUSIC fans. It exhaustively details an amazing variety of SOUND OF MUSIC factoids, while at the same time it's written in an engaging fashion so that it's not simply a "book of lists."
One of the most interesting chapters, for instance, breaks down how Maria's autobiography influenced the musical, and another chapter chronicles the history of the movies DIE TRAPP-FAMILIE (1956) and DIE TRAPP-FAMILIE IN AMERIKA (1958), West German productions I've always wanted to see.
Want to know which extras appear on which DVD editions? It's all laid out in the chapter "Bringing Home THE SOUND OF MUSIC: Video, Laserdisc, DVD, and Blu-ray." For someone such as myself who owns more editions of the movie than I probably want to admit (grin), it's been a most helpful chapter as I decide whether to buy the movie's 50th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition on Blu-ray.
"THE SOUND OF MUSIC on Television" chronicles the movie's broadcast history, including NBC's memorably awful hacking of half an hour out of the movie, resulting in a jumpy print that played more like "Highlights from THE SOUND OF MUSIC." As I remember all too well, NBC even edited verses and instrumental passages out of the middle of musical numbers! Air dates, ratings, and a description of the competition airing on other networks during the original broadcast evenings are included as well.
THE WORLD OF THE TRAPP FAMILY to memoirs by everyone from Saul Chaplin to Charmian Carr to Anna Lee and more. Monush gives the reader an idea of how much of each book is devoted to the film, ranging from entire books to just a few pages, and gives a flavor of what the author had to say.
Additional chapter topics include changes from play to film, the movie's location schedule, roadshow exhibition schedule, and awards, what the cast has done since making the film, and a look at some additional productions, including the recent live TV version of the play starring Carrie Underwood. In a word, the book is exhaustive, and a real treasure for those who love the film, providing both interesting reading and a "go to" reference book which will be useful for years to come.
This book is most highly recommended for fans of THE SOUND OF MUSIC.
Thanks to Hal Leonard Corporation for providing a review copy of this book.