Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Rodgers & Hammerstein Collection

The Rodgers & Hammerstein Collection (The Sound of Music / The King and I / Oklahoma! / South Pacific / State Fair / Carousel)




Get The Rodgers & Hammerstein Collection at Amazon.com

The Rodgers & Hammerstein Collection contains film versions of the five major works by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, who helped define the American musical landscape and rewrite the direction of musical theater. After enjoying extremely successful careers working with others, Rodgers and Hammerstein first teamed up in 1943 for the prairie tale Oklahoma!, with songs including "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'" and "People Will Say We're in Love." The subsequent 1955 film starred Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones, who teamed up again for 1956's Carousel. While that film's dark nature made it less popular than its predecessor, the score ("If I Loved You," "You'll Never Walk Alone") was Rodgers's favorite. The King and I (also 1956) featured stage star Yul Brynner as the King of Siam and Deborah Kerr as schoolteacher Anna Leonowens, who must learn Asian customs even as she tries to instill some of her Western ones. The somewhat bloated version of South Pacific (1958) follows two couples during World War II and features standards such as "I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair" and "Some Enchanted Evening" from stars Mitzi Gaynor and Rossano Brazzi. The last film, The Sound of Music (1965), proved to be the most popular, with Julie Andrews winning the hearts of seven children and their father with her blissful songs. And if the perhaps saccharine music and plot may test the patience of some, there's no doubt that songs such as "My Favorite Things" and "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" have charmed audiences around the world for decades. Accompanying the Big 5 in this set is the relatively minor State Fair from 1945 (though it does have "It Might as Well Be Spring" and "It's a Grand Night for Singing"). Some may expect and prefer other entries in the R&H canon such as Flower Drum Song or the television production Cinderella, but those were produced by different studios.

This 12-disc set from 2006 includes the two-disc special editions of each film, remastered and anamorphically enhanced for widescreen TVs (except State Fair, which was shot in traditional 1.33:1 aspect ratio). Bonus features include the Todd-AO version of Oklahoma! (which should look better than the CinemaScope version but doesn't); 40th-anniversary bonus material for The Sound of Music, including a commentary track by Julie Andrews; Lilliom, the 1934 film based on the same story as Carousel; and the 1962 version of State Fair starring Pat Boone and Ann-Margaret.

Disc 1: Carousel Special Edition Disc 2: Carousel Special Edition-Bonus Disc Disc 3: King and I Special Edition Disc 4: King and I Special Edition-Bonus Disc Disc 5: South Pacific Special Edition Disc 6: South Pacific Special Edition-Bonus Disc Disc 7: Sound of Music Special Edition Disc 8: Sound of Music Special Edition-Bonus Disc Disc 9: State Fair Special Edition Disc 10: State Fair Special Edition-Bonus Disc Disc 11: Oklahoma Special Edition Disc 12: Oklahoma Special Edition-Bonus Disc

Oh, what a beautiful collection! These 6 films from the most successful writing team in the American musical theater have been available on DVD for years--but not like this! All 6 have now been fully remastered to meet the demands of the latest TV and computer equipment. They have always been great, but they've truly never looked and sounded better than they do now.

But wait--there's more! This package includes a generous bunch of extras: documentaries, deleted material, alternate versions, interviews, running commentaries, soundtrack albums, performances by stars from the original stage productions, even a remake of STATE FAIR from 1962. The extras alone are a good reason to upgrade your copies--or to get them for the first time.

If you're looking for colorful, romantic stories with brilliant performances and a virtual catalogue of nearly 100 of the very best show tunes in history, you couldn't make a better purchase. These are, quite simply, the finest films of their kind. No serious DVD collection is complete without them. Watch. Listen. Enjoy!

This is one of the finest DVD collections ever produced. Fox has added the same three anniversary editions from last year--"Oklahoma," "State Fair," and "The Sound Of Music"--to a thin-pack set with this year's bonanzas: "Carousel," "The King And I," and for good measure, although it's not an anniversary, "South Pacific." Extras abound here with such delight that it should take the dedicated viewer many nights to fully appreciate all the contents. For example, the 1934 "Liliom," the French film based on Ferenc Molnar's play, that establishes the story of "Carousel" as a drama, is a special gift from Fox. The 55mm and Todd- AO versions of several films are now fully available and the Road Show version of "South Pacific" is presented. Richard Barrios, one of our major experts in film musicals provides the commentary (with others) for "State Fair," "The King And I," and "South Pacific." There are excerpts from TV and Broadway versions of songs and numerous other bonuses that are exhilarating.

Remember, too, that "South Pacific" had what was in 1958 considered by many in the industry to be the finest example of sound design and engineering to that time, and it won the Oscar for Best Sound.

The compact set, which is apparently the new industry standard, also features a short but very useful booklet. If you love Richard Rodgers and his second partner, Oscar Hammerstein II, this box set should be number one on your list right now.

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