December 6, 2013

"The Highs and Lows of The Sound of Music Live."

Including: "HIGH: The many, many instances of Rolfe's shorts."


Deirdre Mundy said...

We didn't see it. Seriously, who watches live TV anymore? If I can't stream it, it didn't happen!

Ann Althouse said...

I didn't watch, but it got excellent ratings. Sometimes retro works.

I've never seen the attraction of Carrie Underwood. Might have set the DVR to watch Audra McDonald though. But I didn't.

Patrick said...

Audra McDonald was brilliant, as was Laura Benanti. Carrie Underwood is a much better singer than actor, but I thought she did very well.

Mostly I just enjoyed watching it with my wife and kids. Just a fun night.

Irene said...

We enjoyed it. Carrie Underwood sang well. It would have been better if Hugh Jackman had played Captain Von Trapp. The Max character wasn't dry enough.

I think Rolf's shorts fall under some exception: lederhosen/folk costume/uniform. He also wore the shorts during physical activity (dancing and rolling in the grass).

bwebster said...

My wife and I enjoyed it. Happy to see how well it did in the ratings; I'd love to see some more live Broadway on TV (e.g., "Anything Goes").

FWBuff said...

Julie Andrews has nothing to worry about. Audra McDonald was great.

Ambrose said...

I enjoyed it. Yes, Julie Andrews was better, but we have to move on. We can't stop singing and enjoying songs because 50 years ago some sang them well.

Bob R said...

I didn't watch it, but I talked to a guy today who watched it. He and his wife and daughters were really looking forward to it. They panned it. These are people who are fans of musicals and live musical theater.

He did not mention the shorts, but I will be able to talk to his wife and daughters on Sunday. I'll report any interesting comments.

Bob R said...

On the subject of remakes - Check out James Lileks' blog on Monday. He refers to a movie based on a book that was remade three times. The third time was the charm - it was a classic. The first two attempts are largely forgotten. (I had didn't know they existed.) But the second and Bette Davis.

I have not talked to anyone who can guess the movie.

Titus said...

One of the original Van Trapp kids have a fab Inn in Vermont.

Go, if you have a chance!

Vermont and the Northeast in general is to die for.


Titus said...

I have been to most states in this country and Vermont is my all time fave. So fucking beautiful and organic and very rural yet so fucking liberal. Mountains, skiing, rivers, gay marriage, coops, farms with no cages. Expat NYC's and Bostonians and Canadians for days too!

Vermont is an unusual place. You don't expect such a rural state with a small population to be so gay and liberal. You can't swing a cat without hitting a lesbo B&B.

Love Vermont.

The Green Mountains are to die for.

Stowe, Waterbury, Bennington, Brattleboro, Burlington, Middlebury, Woodstock, Rutland, St. Albans totally delish.

Vermont is really an extension of Canada.

And a huge Euro vacation destination!

tits and thanks Vermont!

SOJO said...

And Vermont is on track to go single payer by 2017.

I wonder what that will do to residency requirements?

People all over the place culturally love Vermont. I admire them advancing and evolving beyond the call of duty.

And on the libertarian tip, New Hampshire has the Free State Project - the courage of their convictions - good to see.

Renee said...

Everyone in Vermont is on medicare/medicaid due to high elderly population and poverty. No jobs or industry for young adults. It is already 'single pay'.

Renee said...

It was a fun TV special. My kids liked it.

Can't afford to go to a musical.

Renee said...

In VT if you go beyond the tourist traps that Titus mentioned, they like their guns/hunting.

Don't brother with the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream tour.

The Drill SGT said...

Remakes just demonstrate that the Media are out of ideas.

Sound of Music? Julie and the Kids did it right the first time. Salzburg's scenery is tough to top

Ann Althouse said...

"Sound of Music? Julie and the Kids did it right the first time. Salzburg's scenery is tough to top."

The first time was a theater musical, and Julie's movie changed the story in a lot of ways, "opening it out" the way they do in transitioning to film, with that scenery you're characterizing as original.

This TV production returned to the original theater script (I think), and by doing it in real-time, it honored the theater experience.

Looked at that way, it's the Hollywood movie that's the travesty.

The movie has taken on an air of authenticity over the years perhaps.

Ann Althouse said...

Reviving old Broadway musicals is as legitimate as doing another production of "Hamlet." We're talking about doing a new live performance, not making another movie when we still have the old one.

Movie remakes are justified sometimes. My favorite example: "The Fly."

But I think it's great when they redo something like "Carousel" or "South Pacific." Operas are redone constantly, and no one is too interested in getting new operas.

I think the biggest problem with this "Sound of Music" was that Carrie Underwood had no experience as an actress and couldn't possibly pull off the performance that was demanded of her, even as the whole thing was built around her. But others were good or even great (like Audra McDonald), and Underwood drew in a big audience. Give her credit for having the nerve to do that, knowing her acting would be trashed.

Jason said...

Much respect for all involved. It was a gutsy project to even attempt.

I hope television studios do more like this.

Dan from Madison said...

Exactly what Patrick said above. Plus everyone seems to be comparing this live production to the movie, which is not fair.

Dan from Madison said...

Exactly what Patrick said above. Plus everyone seems to be comparing this live production to the movie, which is not fair.

MadisonMan said...

I thought Rolfe looked too old for his part.

Carrie can sing well. (I'm forgetting althouse -- who did you like in AI Season 4? Constantine? Bo?) I think the CD of this may sell pretty well. I didn't watch it though. I like the movie version because of the awesome scenery.

Deirdre Mundy said...

I thought the people who wrote the highs/lows article were wrong about the songs-- (Didn't see the show)--

The one they call the 'appeasement song' is actually hilarious, and a great illustration of how 'decent people' can talk themselves into cooperating with great evil. I've always loved that one.

And the "Oh, we're so rich' song is ALSO quite hilarious. With references to operas and novels and all sorts of fun. I mean, just the line "You're fond of bonds, and you own a lot...." is a hilarious way of phrasing the problem.

I was disappointed to see "I Must Have Done Something Good" included. It's sappy and bad theology, IMO.

I prefer "An Ordinary Couple" from the original Broadway production.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I suppose it's too much to ask that in reviewing a story that is primarily about religious faith they refrain from making vulgar and offensive nun jokes.

Oh how I hate Internet Snark®.

paminwi said...

Confession: We did the Sound of Music Tour when we were in Europe about 25 years ago. Of course, the only people on it were Americans. I learned that the house in the movie the VonTrapps lived in is actually owned by Harvard to host conferences and that at the end of the movie when they head off into the hills if they really went they way they showed them to go the would have headed straight into Germany.

I am still a sucker for the movie when my daughter and I get together along with the Hailey Mills movie of Pollyanna.

David said...

Apparently Carrie Underwood did not give the Screeching Diva treatment to any of the songs. That alone makes the entire production worthwhile.

I am so tired of the Screeching Divas.

David said...

Remember that Christopher Plummer referred to the film as "The Sound of Mucus."

Jane said...

Everyone rips Underwood's acting, but what was the alternative? -- A-list actors who have to learn to sing (as in Les Miserables) wouldn't have been an improvement. And the statement I've read elsewhere -- "they should have gotten Broadway performers" -- fails to recognize that they needed A-list (or believed they did, and likely were right) to get the viewers to make the project financially feasible. Is there an A-list female performer who is both a top singer and an accomplished actress?

On the other hand, the reports were that Underwood worked extensively with a voice coach to eliminate the Southern twang -- one wonders whether some of this time could have been spent with more work on acting -- or whether, even, the focus on "must not twang" caused the acting to be more stilted than it otherwise would have been. At the same time, how would audiences (and critics) have reacted to a Southern-twangy Maria? (Which in its own way, would have been authentic -- if she grew up in a small village in the mountains she would have had a "hillbilly" dialect relative to the educated Von Trapps.)

Bob R said...

"Movie remakes are sometimes justified."

My nominee for best example: The Maltese Falcon. The justly famous version was the third attempt. The second attempt was titled Satan Met a Lady and had Bette Davis in the Mary Astor role.

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

That's my cousin Ariane Rinehart as Liesl:

"Ariane Rinehart was particularly appealing as the puppy-lovestruck Liesl." The New York Times.

Deirdre Mundy said...

We saw the original Maltese Falcon by mistake one time... it was actually a lot of fun.... more of a comedy adventure than film noir, though. And tons of sexual innuendo that would never have flown a few years later. (It was pre-code.)

I mean, not "A film for the ages", but a fun afternoon diversion.

eddie willers said...

I am so tired of the Screeching Divas.

Lord knows I am too. And I was pleased to find out there was an actual word to describe this dubious "talent".


It should not be attempted by anyone not named Aretha Franklin.

averagejoe said...

I loved this show- so different from the usual offering of roommate sitcoms and reality show bilge that suffuse broadcast television today.
Underwood was fine- Those knocking her acting are either hyper-sensitive Broadway buffs, or just haters hating her because she's country.
Finally, the biggest fail in the show was the black nun. In Nazi germany? Ridiculous casting. I thought it was Sister Act for a minute. But of course, all the liberals have to show how color-blind they are by effusively praising her- even AA, who in one post admits she didn't watch it, and in the next criticizes the show except for McDonald who she claims was "great", even though she didn't see the show. Yeah, we get it liberals, You love you some black folk- Look everyone, I'm enlightened, I hate the country white one, but I liked the black one!... That pretty much is the tenor of the show's liberal critics.

Ann Althouse said...

"That's my cousin Ariane Rinehart as Liesl: "Ariane Rinehart was particularly appealing as the puppy-lovestruck Liesl." The New York Times."

Wow! I'll check it out on On Demand.

Would have watched if I'd known.

Mike said...

Wife and I watched together on a rainy Saturday morning and it was good. Not great but very good family entertainment.

I sympathize with families who have to navigate the open sewer that is Television in this age. Even movies made for children are full of unnecessary sexual innuendo, and other acts of sabotage that detract from the experience.

So the performance was quite pleasing in it's wholesomeness and fidelity to the original Broadway production. Live TV is cool. NBC deserves some praise for attempting it and I hope they do more -- along these same lines. I like Carrie and thought she did fine. I've paid a lot of money to see actresses do a worse job in theatres. Hell, I once watched Broadway Joe Namath play Li'l Abner in a musical. The only good part was drinking with him afterward along with a buddy of mine who played opposite Joe.