Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Hills Are Alive (and Thoroughly Fabulous) at 50

Now available on newsstands nationwide…Mark Griffin interviews the cast of the Oscar-winning blockbuster The Sound of Music for i-5 Publishing’s special edition magazine celebrating the 50th anniversary of the classic film. 

Starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer and directed by Robert Wise, The Sound of Music has been described as “the most mainstream cult film ever made.”  Released in 1965, this widescreen adaptation of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s hit Broadway musical won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture.  

In addition to exploring the production history of The Sound of Music, this collector’s edition magazine pays tribute to the glory days of the Hollywood musical and also features Griffin’s articles on the making of three other 60’s spectaculars: Mary Poppins (1964), Star! (1968) and Hello, Dolly!(1969).  

Julie Andrews won an Oscar for her film debut as the “practically perfect” nanny in Mary Poppins (1964).  While Andrews and co-star Dick Van Dyke were roundly applauded for their performances, neither actor was Walt Disney’s first choice in terms of casting.  The magazine reveals who Disney initially had in mind to play Mary Poppins and her friend Bert, the amiable chimney sweep and street performer.  

After their shared Sound of Music triumph, Julie Andrews and director Robert Wise reunited for an ambitious musical biography of the “thoroughly fabulous” theatrical legend Gertrude Lawrence.  Entitled Star!, the movie boasted elaborate production numbers built around songs written by Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin and Lawrence’s quick witted confidante, Noel Coward.  In the magazine, Griffin recounts how Star! was subjected to some studio tampering and reckless editing after its initial release in 1968.


Hello, Dolly! (1969) seemed to have it all...An impressive Broadway track record to build from, an infectious title tune and the most exciting musical star of the era.  With Barbra Streisand headlining and Gene Kelly directing, how could a movie version miss?  20th Century-Fox pulled all the stops out and Dolly - which was nominated for seven Academy Awards - still stands as one of the costliest musical extravaganzas ever produced.  And by all accounts, it was one tough shoot.

To learn more, look for i-5 Publishing’s 50th Anniversary tribute to The Sound of Music and the last of the great Hollywood musicals.

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