February 7, 2019  (Web Review)

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music Live

Shout! Factory, 119 min., not rated, DVD: $16.99, Blu-ray: $22.99

Reviewer rating: 3.0/4

Two years after NBC’s 2013 Carrie Underwood-starring live TV broadcast of The Sound of Music, the U.K.’s ITV performed a live in-studio version of the 1959 hit musical based on the true story of the von Trapp family in pre-WWII Austria. Drawing almost four million viewers, this production is an odd duck visually, a throwback to the days of stage-y sets and no sense of intimacy. Still, the elaborate camera movements create a feeling of limited majesty, and the cast of TV and theater veterans proves strong and delightful. More emotionally measured than the NBC take, the ITV version eschews sappiness to make room for lighter moments, comedy, and memorable character turns. Alexander Armstrong is a standout as Max, the impresario pal of Captain von Trapp (Julian Ovenden, who is in fine voice), and Kara Tointon brings something fresh to her portrayal of Maria—the young postulant who leaves the convent to in order to take charge of widower von Trapp’s sprawling brood—coming across as both streetwise and slightly feral in her love of the mountains. Extras include an audio commentary track and a behind-the-scenes featurette. Recommended. (T. Keogh)