Strengths: Great pictures, facsimiles of tickets, scripts, diaries and a DVD.
Weaknesses: Several typos – for example, ‘Julia’ Andrews.
Why I read it: I love The Sound of Music.
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
Rating: 9 out of 10
If you liked this, try: watching the movie!
Now you know my secret – I am a long time, hard core fan of The Sound of Music. I own the LP and CD; DVDs in three languages (do check out the Japanese version – ‘delicious noodles’ are one of the favourite things) and have seen several stage versions. Nothing can compare to the original movie though. Because it was filmed pre-DVD extras (goodness, even before DVD and video invention), there has not been that much ‘extra’ information out there, although the most recent DVD release is very, very good. That is why we need this book – written by the seven actors who played the von Trapp children. The book focuses on the children’s experience – so you will find little from Julie Andrews or Christophe Plummer.
The book contains many photographs that I’ve never seen before – behind the scenes shots and photos lovingly taken by the parents who accompanied them to Austria (except for Charmian Carr, who played Liesl – she was 21 at the time). Considering this was pre-digital cameras and pre-mobile phone cameras, there’s a lot of material. Each of the ‘children’ (naturally all adults now, doing a range of things – not all involving acting) has a section of their own, explaining their lives pre and post The Sound of Music. It’s fascinating to think that little Kym Karath (Gretl) is now all grown up and that Nicholas Hammond (Friedrich) now calls Australia home! There are also sections on how certain scenes were filmed (e.g. The ‘Do-Re-Mi’ montage) and the premiere. Did you know Charmian Carr got to travel the world for 2 years promoting the movie? Now I know definitely that I would like to be Liesl!
But wait – there’s even more for fans. There are several sections containing facsimiles of items to do with the movie – from Angela Cartwright (Brigitta) and Heather Menzies’ (Louisa) secret club rulebook, Nicholas Hammond’s (partial) script and premiere tickets. There’s also a DVD of home movies taken in Austria and beyond – but please remember that camcorder technology wasn’t as developed in the 1960s. While interesting, there’s a buzzing sound which is kind of annoying (I suggest you turn the sound down) and some blurred footage. It’s still a lot of fun though, from the beautiful landscapes to the gorgeous 60’s wardrobes.
There are several typos in the book – the last page has a caption for ‘Julia’ Andrews for example and there’s a few full stops missing. That shouldn’t detract you away from this gorgeous book though. It’s definitely something to treasure for fans.