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Release Date: May 6th, 2014 Movie Release Year: 2014

The Rodgers & Hammerstein Collection

Overview -

The Rodgers & Hammerstein Blu-ray Collection contains all 6 films now together on Blu-ray™ for the first time ever! Each timeless film is in dazzling high definition for the ultimate home viewing experience. So every spectacular scene, every enchanting song, and every magical, memorable moment can be yours to cherish forever and share with your family.

Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II 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.

Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
8 BD-50 Dual-Layer Discs
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080i/AVC MPEG-4 ('Oklahoma! Todd-AO version)
Aspect Ratio(s):
2.55:1 ('Oklahoma!' CinemaScope version, 'Carousel,' 'The King and I')
Audio Formats:
French DTS 5.1
English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish
Special Features:
Theatrical Trailers
Release Date:
May 6th, 2014

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


Say the words "musical theater" and Rodgers and Hammerstein immediately spring to mind. Arguably the most popular and influential songwriting team in Broadway history, composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II transformed what many regarded as light entertainment into a substantive art form. Prior to their partnership, which began in the early 1940s, songs and plot often were mutually exclusive in musicals, but R&H cleverly integrated them, revolutionizing the theatrical experience. Instead of grinding the story to a screeching halt, their melodies advance the narrative and delineate nuances of character, thus creating a more cohesive whole and strengthening our emotional connection to the material. Rodgers and Hammerstein were also unafraid to tackle touchy, taboo issues, such as racial prejudice, showcase unsavory characters, and depict violent acts within a musical framework, all in an effort to reflect the forces of life that drive, shape, and define us. Though the pair's cinematic track record is a bit spotty (adapting their shows for the screen often proved problematic), all their films are noteworthy, and their work is treated with the respect and reverence it deserves.

To celebrate the enduring legacy of Rodgers and Hammerstein, Fox has compiled a box set of six of the team's most beloved musicals. This eight-disc collection features four films new to Blu-ray - the 1945 version of 'State Fair,' 'Oklahoma!,' 'Carousel,' and 'The King and I' - and two previously released titles - 'South Pacific' and 'The Sound of Music' - all of which spotlight the duo's peerless artistry and desire to reflect all facets of the human condition. Two versions of 'Oklahoma!', one in Todd-AO and the other in CinemaScope, and two of 'South Pacific' - an extended roadshow edition and final theatrical cut - are included in this release. Individual editions of 'Oklahoma!,' 'The King and I,' 'South Pacific,' and 'The Sound of Music' are all also currently available. As of this writing, 'State Fair' and 'Carousel' are exclusive to this set.

State Fair (1945)

Charming, pleasant, and blissfully innocuous, 'State Fair' stands as the only Rodgers and Hammerstein film musical not based on one of the pair's stage hits (although it did spawn a Broadway adaptation in the mid-1990s). The homespun story of the Frake family and their adventures at Iowa's annual state shindig is about as wispy as a summer breeze, with the drama hinging on whether both Papa Frake (Charles Winninger) and his prized pig and Mama Frake (Fay Bainter) and her homemade pickles and mincemeat take home blue ribbons. The whirlwind romances of the Frake children also command attention, as the dreamily forlorn Margy (Jeanne Crain) falls for a cynical, worldly newspaperman (Dana Andrews), and the all-American Wayne (Dick Haymes) becomes bewitched by a sultry band singer (Vivian Blaine). A number of catchy melodies, including the lilting, Oscar-winning ballad 'It Might as Well Be Spring,' rousing waltz 'It's a Grand Night for Singing,' and bouncy title tune, flesh out the nostalgic portrait of rural life, which borrows heavily in tone, style, and even situation from the previous year's musical megahit, 'Meet Me in St. Louis.' (The window-frame shots of Crain performing 'It Might as Well Be Spring' directly mirror those of Judy Garland's 'The Boy Next Door,' while the mincemeat cooking scene copies the famous ketchup tasting sequence in 'St. Louis.') Director Walter Lang, who would go on to earn an Oscar nomination for another Rodgers and Hammerstein musical in this collection, 'The King and I,' 11 years later, makes fine use of the lush Technicolor palette and keeps the winsome tale gliding along, while a gallery of recognizable character actors - including Harry Morgan of 'M*A*S*H' fame (billed here as Henry Morgan) in a memorable bit as a carnival game booth manager - add spunk, humor, and warmth to the proceedings. Though it possesses none of the substantive themes that would distinguish the R&H theatrical canon, 'State Fair' bursts with vitality, and its innocence, earnestness, and simplicity make it an irresistible period piece. Rating: 4 stars

Oklahoma! (1955)

When it first opened on Broadway in 1943, 'Oklahoma!' revolutionized the stage musical, seamlessly integrating story and score, heightening dramatic intensity, and broadening the contribution of dance. Its monumental success ushered in an era of sophisticated yet accessible musicals with emotional complexity and thematic depth that both challenged and entertained audiences. Yet because of unpleasant experiences in Hollywood back in the early 1930s, Rodgers and Hammerstein resisted adapting 'Oklahoma!' for the screen for more than a decade, waiting until the mid-1950s and the development of a splashy new widescreen and stereophonic process called Todd-AO before taking the plunge. When it finally did premiere in 1955, 'Oklahoma!' was arguably the year's biggest cinematic event, lending scope and grandeur to the simple romance of country girl Laurey (Shirley Jones) and cocky cowboy Curly (Gordon MacRae), and the interpersonal trials and tribulations leading up to the Box Social, a folksy farm dance. Comic relief comes in the form of flighty and flirty Ado Annie (Gloria Grahame) - the "girl who cain't say no" - while darker elements of the human psyche are explored through the unbalanced Jud (Rod Steiger), whose disturbing obsession with Laurey threatens to wreak havoc on the small rural community. Classic songs, such as the rousing title tune, lyrical 'Oh! What a Beautiful Mornin',' liltingly romantic 'People Will Say We're in Love,' energetic 'Everything's Up to Date in Kansas City,' and sprightly 'Surrey With the Fringe on Top,' along with an impressive dream ballet choreographed by the esteemed Agnes de Mille, enhance the tale and deepen its impact. Yet despite the material's lofty reputation and inherent cinematic nature, the film version of 'Oklahoma!' never quite lives up to expectations. Though this outdoorsy musical looks great in the great outdoors (even if Arizona does sub for Oklahoma), the pacing often lags and the numbers run on too long. Director Fred Zinnemann ('From Here to Eternity'), helming his first and only musical, doesn't seem to have a feel for the genre, but he wrings fine performances from Jones (a lovely breath of fresh air in her film debut), MacRae, Grahame, and Steiger, and brings excellent intensity to the dramatic scenes. When viewed in Todd-AO, 'Oklahoma!' looks magnificent, but the stunning visuals can't supplant the stiffness and sterility that often permeate this ambitious production. Rating: 3-1/2 stars

Carousel (1956)

Without question Rodgers and Hammerstein's darkest musical (though such an idea is really an oxymoron), 'Carousel' chronicles the doomed romance between the shiftless, abusive, and prepossessing Billy Bigelow (Gordon MacRae) and the selfless, ever-adoring Julie Jordan (Shirley Jones) in a sleepy, seaside town in Maine during the mid-19th century. A strapping carnival barker whose good looks and easygoing charm turn the village carousel into the fair's most popular attraction, Billy catches the worshipful gaze of a smitten Julie, but his irresponsibility, bad judgment, and volatility strain their relationship and end up causing Billy's death. (That's not much of a spoiler, as the story is told in flashback by Billy from his perch in celestial purgatory.) Under the largely by-the-numbers direction of Henry King, 'Carousel,' based on the Ferenc Molnar play 'Liliom,' often plods along, lacking sufficient momentum to keep viewers engaged, despite a stellar R&H score that includes the gorgeous romantic duet 'If I Loved You,' the rousing ensemble number 'June Is Bustin' Out All Over,' the classic inspirational anthem 'You'll Never Walk Alone,' and the one-man tour de force, 'Soliloquy,' which accurately reflects the euphoria, wild dreams, and sobering sense of purpose and responsibility every man feels when he learns he's going to be a father. Impeccably performed with plenty of passion and gusto by MacRae and staged on a craggy stretch of barren beach, 'Soliloquy' is the film's undisputed highlight. In fact, all the songs propel 'Carousel,' which more closely resembles an operetta than a traditional musical, but they can't quite compensate for the plodding, predictable plot that strains credulity and struggles to capture our fancy. (Feminists beware: 'Carousel' contains one of the most outrageously chauvinistic lines in movie history, one that would surely ruffle more feathers if it weren't so laughably inane!) Jones and MacRae nicely rekindle their 'Oklahoma!' chemistry (though their romance here never really rings true), and the fine supporting actors all file winning performances, but 'Carousel' remains frustratingly inert and aloof, despite the story's intimate, heartrending nature. Captivating musical moments abound, and the location shooting adds marvelous atmospheric flavor, but neither element can loft 'Carousel' to the heights to which it aspires. The film has plenty of musical bark, but lacks the narrative bite that would increase its emotional power and impact, and make this tuneful tale truly sing. Rating: 3-1/2 stars

The King and I (1956)

Great film musicals live and die by their score, but a strong narrative laced with relevant themes and excellent performances from the leading players go a long way toward fostering and cementing a movie's reputation. 'The King and I,' based on the true experiences of British tutor Anna Leonowens, as well as a dramatic 1946 film starring Irene Dunne and Rex Harrison, has all three elements and stands alongside 'The Sound of Music' as the finest screen adaptation of a Rodgers and Hammerstein show. Deborah Kerr may not sing, but she and voice double Marni Nixon collaborate on arguably the best dubbing job in Hollywood history, and her heartfelt portrayal of Anna, the forthright, opinionated, and supportive teacher who comes to the Asian kingdom of Siam in 1862 to educate the children of a maddeningly pig-headed monarch (and in the process help transition the country into the modern age), earned her a well-deserved Oscar nomination. As the titular ruler who continually spars with his headstrong charge, Yul Brynner immortalizes the role he created on stage and won a Best Actor Academy Award for his spirited, often passionate interpretation of a man torn between the past and future who both promotes and fears progress. Issues of racism, slavery, feminism, and tolerance supply welcome substance, while a host of hummable R&H songs, including the classic 'Getting to Know You,' 'Shall We Dance,' 'Something Wonderful,' 'Hello Young Lovers,' and 'Whistle a Happy Tune,' beautifully frame and advance the witty, romantic, and ultimately touching tale. Though memorable moments abound, the most exhilarating scene - and one of the most iconic in film history - begins when the King takes Anna's hand, puts his arm around her waist, and whisks her into a vigorous waltz to the rousing strains of 'Shall We Dance.' It's a magical sequence that signifies a meeting of the minds and a union of the hearts between these two rabidly independent individuals. (Who knew a simple song and dance could accomplish so much?) Distinguished by sumptuous sets and costumes, an ambitious ballet, and glorious cinematography, 'The King and I' was nominated for nine Oscars, including Best Picture, and won five (for Actor, Art Direction/Set Decoration, Sound Recording, Scoring, and Costume Design). Though almost 60 years have passed since it first premiered, this heartwarming feast for the eyes and ears still delivers the goods...and still has something important to say. Rating: 5 stars

South Pacific (1958)

The two 'South Pacific' discs included here are the exact same ones from the 2009 individual release. The standard theatrical version of the film, presented in 1080p, resides on Disc One, while the extended roadshow version, featuring approximately 14 minutes of additional footage, comprises the bulk of Disc Two. Though the roadshow version resides on a Blu-ray disc, the movie is nonetheless presented in standard definition. That was a shame back in 2009, and it's still unfortunate Fox didn't see fit to upgrade the roadshow version to high definition for this collection. For a complete review of 'South Pacific,' click here. Rating: 3 stars

The Sound of Music (1965)

Only the first disc of the two-disc 2010 individual release of 'The Sound of Music' is included in this collection. It contains the full-length movie as well as limited supplemental material (described below). For a complete review of 'The Sound of Music,' click here. Rating: 5 stars

The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats

'The Rodgers and Hammerstein Collection' arrives on Blu-ray packaged in a hefty multi-disc case that holds all eight BD50 dual-layer discs and is housed inside a glossy, three-sided sleeve. Video codec is 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 and default audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 ('Oklahoma!' Todd-AO version and 'The Sound of Music'), DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 ('South Pacific'), DTS-HD Master Audio 4.0 ('Oklahoma!' CinemaScope version, 'Carousel,' and 'The King and I'), and DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 ('State Fair'). Once the discs are inserted into the player, the full-motion menus with music immediately pop up; no previews or promos precede them.

Video Review


State Fair

Like a Technicolor picture postcard, the 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer of 'State Fair,' presented in its original 1.37:1 aspect ratio, bursts with lush, eye-popping hues. The breathtaking opening credits set the stage for the beautifully balanced image that sports a natural grain structure and excellent contrast and clarity. Nary a nick or scratch dot the pristine source material, and though a few scenes err a bit toward the dark side, the picture exudes a pleasing vibrancy that suits the bouncy nature of the material. Deep black levels and crisp whites abound, shadow detail is good, and close-ups show off fine facial features well. Some of the fleshtones adopt a slight orange tinge, but that's understandable given the powerful punch of color on display. A bit of noise could also be detected, but overall, this is a stunning effort that's a pleasure to watch from start to finish. Rating: 4-1/2 stars


Two versions of 'Oklahoma!' are included in this set - one shot in Todd-AO and one shot in traditional CinemaScope. Because the formats were not compatible, each scene had to be filmed twice - once in each format - so the performances, and even some of the camera setups, are slightly different in each version. 'Oklahoma!' was the first film to be shot in Todd-AO, which employs the unique frame rate of 30 frames per second to maximize clarity, and according to the restoration notes included on the disc, the movie is displayed here in 1080i to present it as accurately as possible on Blu-ray. And what a glorious transfer it is! Razor sharp, exploding with beautifully saturated color, and featuring exceptional contrast, the Todd-AO version of 'Oklahoma!' is a joy to behold. The image sports almost zero grain, details and textures pop, black levels are rich and deep, whites are bright and stable, and fleshtones are spot-on. The sense of depth is astonishing (at times, the picture looks almost three-dimensional), and not a single speck, mark, or scratch dots the antiseptic print. The wow factor here is off the charts, and fans of 'Oklahoma!' will find it difficult to contain their euphoria over this supremely satisfying effort. Rating: 5 stars

Of course, once you see 'Oklahoma!' in Todd-AO, you'll never want to watch the CinemaScope version. And I can't say I blame you! Though far from a disappointment, the CinemaScope transfer is a definite step down from Todd-AO, due to increased grain, less depth, nagging color fluctuations, some occasional fading, intermittent softness, and faint but noticeable print damage. That sounds like a litany of problems, but it's tough not to be hyper-critical after watching the breathtaking Todd-AO version. The CinemaScope image certainly lacks the scope and grandeur of Todd-AO, and looks substantially flatter, duller, and softer. In addition, the wider aspect ratio often cuts off vital visual information. For instance, at one point while Gene Nelson is singing 'Everything's Up to Date...,' he rises from a kneeling position and his head pops out of the frame, while an earlier reflection shot of a moving horse and carriage in a lake omits the actual carriage moving along the road that's clearly seen in the Todd-AO version. Such framing issues often make the picture in the CinemaScope version appear slightly squished, which is a real shame. If I'd never seen 'Oklahoma!' in Todd-AO, this CinemaScope rendering would score a bit higher, but when matched up against near perfection, minor flaws become magnified. As a novelty - and to see the differences in performance and direction - the CinemaScope version has merit, but one viewing is certainly enough, and I can't imagine anyone preferring it over Todd-AO. Rating: 3-1/2 stars


The first movie shot in the flash-in-the-pan format known as CinemaScope 55, which used substantially wider film stock to reduce the amount of grain that appeared in regular CinemaScope pictures when projected in theaters, 'Carousel' is presented here in a standard CinemaScope print with an aspect ratio of 2.55:1. (Interestingly, 'Carousel' was never exhibited in CinemaScope 55, as the cost of the projection process proved prohibitive.) Excellent contrast and clarity distinguish this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer from Fox, which sports just enough grain to maintain a film-like feel. Nary a speck, mark, or scratch sullies the pristine source material, which fluctuates between vivid vibrancy during the location sequences and a disappointing dullness in studio-shot scenes, where an unwelcome murkiness often invades the frame. Exterior colors pop nicely, with the blue of the ocean looking especially lush, and textures in costumes show up well, too. Black levels are rich, fleshtones appear natural, and close-ups (always used sparingly in CinemaScope) are pleasingly sharp. A bit of softness creeps in now and then, but any digital doctoring escapes notice. Though not as consistent an effort as fans might like, this transfer flaunts many breathtaking moments and brings 'Carousel' to life like never before. Rating: 4 stars

The King and I

There's been a lot of talk around the Internet about the bluish tint that seems to afflict many scenes on 'The King and I' Blu-ray disc, and how 20th Century-Fox botched the 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer of this beloved film. While it's true several scenes do exude a bluish glow, after careful examination, it seems as if the blue highlights exist on the source material and are a result of intentional blue lighting that was used in the movie during nocturnal scenes. If this is true - and I believe it to be so - then this incarnation of 'The King and I' more closely resembles the original look of the film than what we've seen in previous home video versions. One of the first instances of blue tinting occurs during the 'Hello Young Lovers' song. If you watch the film in slow motion, you'll notice at the 0:26:54 and 0:26:56 marks a blue blotch or shadow moves across Anna's face, but it's only a result of her moving into the off-camera light source. A similar phenomenon occurs beginning at the 0:47:30 mark when Anna is in bed, but again, the off-camera nocturnal light source floods the scene. At the 0:53:00 mark, there's an outdoor nocturnal scene between Tuptim and Lun Tha. The fleshtones here are perfect, even though a blue moonlit glow covers the entire scene. The blue does become a bit distracting during the lengthy sequence that occurs between 1:08:00 and 1:17:00 when the blue light dances across Anna's white dress, lending it a two-tone look, and occasionally hits her face, but again, it seems appropriate for the scene.

If you pause the film at any time, you'll notice there's a discrepancy between the color timing on the chapter stop photos and the actual Blu-ray image, leading me to deduce the chapter timeline was imported from the movie's previous DVD edition. All of the chapter stop photos appear brighter than the Blu-ray image and feature more intense color, but they also look artificially enhanced, as if the hues were "pushed" to achieve a greater degree of lushness and vibrancy. There is no bluish cast on any nocturnal chapter stop photo, but those still shots are so bright, the scenes do not accurately represent the nighttime setting. Once again, the Blu-ray image seems truer to the film's original intent. A case in point is the scene between Anna and the King that transpires around the 0:51:00 mark. The King's red shirt is far more muted and darker in the Blu-ray image than it is on the chapter stop photo, but it looks more natural, especially when one considers the sequence takes place at night when there is less light in the palace. At the 0:57:00 mark, during the 'We Kiss in a Shadow' number, Tuptim's dress is bluish on film, but white on the chapter stop photo. Which is correct? I believe the Blu-ray image is more accurate. The dress may indeed be white, but the blue light filters lend it a pale blue appearance that rings truer than the bright white on the chapter stop photo. When Anna stands in the doorway at the 0:54:35 mark (this moment is also used as one of the disc's full-motion menu snippets), she's wearing a white dress that's bathed in a blue glow, but the accompanying chapter stop photo looks pushed to achieve a whiter appearance. At the 1:00:00 mark, the ocean on the map looks appropriately blue on screen, but tinged with purple on the chapter stop photo, just as Anna's dress appears lavender in the chapter stop photo but blue on the Blu-ray. Obviously, some people will be bothered by all the blue, but after spending quite a bit of time with this transfer, I honestly feel Fox is being faithful to the original film.

The transfer does appear a little dark at times (but so do others in this collection), but it can also look gloriously vibrant. Not much grain exists, which one can either attribute to the higher definition of the CinemaScope 55 process or some digital grain reduction, but either way the picture flaunts a pleasing crispness. Some shots do exhibit some softness, but they're few and far between. Costume details burst forth, background elements are sharp, and fleshtones are generally spot-on, though at times, the King's complexion looks a tad too brown. Blacks are rich and inky, the bright whites never bloom, and the black-and-white striped dress Anna wears during the 'Getting to Know You' song remains rock-solid throughout the number. Not a speck, mark, or scratch mars the pristine print, and no crush or noise creep into the frame. 'The King and I' is a colorful, sumptuous film and, despite the controversy surrounding this transfer, fans should be quite pleased with what I believe to be a largely faithful Blu-ray presentation. Rating: 4 stars

South Pacific

For a complete video transfer review of 'South Pacific,' click here. Rating: 4-1/2 stars

The Sound of Music

For a complete video transfer review of 'The Sound of Music,' click here. Rating: 5 stars

Audio Review


State Fair

The DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0 track supplies clear, well-modulated sound that's free of any age-related defects, such as hiss, pops, and crackles. A wide dynamic scale handles all the highs and lows of the various musical numbers with ease, with Dick Haymes' mellifluous tones sounding especially rich and full-bodied. The melodic orchestrations and vocals effortlessly fill the room, and dialogue is always clear and comprehendible. The track's vintage nature prevents this musical from achieving its full potential, but for an almost 70-year-old film, 'State Fair' sounds darn good. Rating: 4 stars


The Todd-AO version features a spectacular DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track that includes Overture, Entr'acte, and Exit Music selections (these are not found on the CinemaScope disc). The sound is highly nuanced, flaunts superior fidelity, and exhibits a crystal purity of tone that helps bring this classic musical to brilliant life. Though surround activity is limited, distinct stereo separation up front nicely broadens the soundscape, and a wide dynamic scale manages the bright highs and weighty lows with only a couple of instances of mild distortion. The robust orchestrations fill the room (listen to the overture to fully appreciate the music's clarity) and all the dialogue and song lyrics are easy to comprehend. The mix is also extremely well balanced; the scoring never overpowers the vocals during the musical numbers, and dialogue is always well prioritized. Solid bass frequencies enhance the track's impact, and no age-related hiss, pops, or crackles break the audio's spell. Rating: 4-1/2 stars

The DTS-HD Master Audio 4.0 track on the CinemaScope version doesn't possess the same level of complexity or fidelity, but still supplies pleasing sound that complements the action well. Once again, any age-related imperfections have been scrubbed away, leaving a mix that's bright and appropriately bold, and though the surrounds never really kick in, the audio nicely envelops the listener, allowing total immersion in the story and songs. Just as the Todd-AO version is preferable from a video standpoint, its audio also eclipses its CinemaScope cousin, keeping it the clear edition of choice. Rating: 4 stars


'Carousel' comes equipped with a DTS-HD Master Audio 4.0 track that supplies clear, well-modulated sound. Though surround activity is faint at best, there's palpable directionality and stereo separation up front that nicely opens up the film. Ambient effects, such as cooing seagulls and the waves crashing against the shore, enhance the location scenes, and all the musical numbers fill the room with robust tones. Jones' lilting soprano and MacRae's spirited baritone sound bright and bold, with only a few hints of distortion marring the track. Any age-related imperfections, such as hiss, pops, and crackles, have been eliminated, leaving a clean mix that's sure to delight the film's admirers. Rating: 4 stars

The King and I

Like 'Carousel,' a DTS-HD Master Audio 4.0 track graces 'The King and I' disc, and it also supplies clear, well-modulated sound full of fidelity and tonal depth. The mix possesses a palpable surround feel, especially early in the film, with ambient crowd noise and the sounds of the sea bleeding into the rear speakers. Stereo separation is also noticeable during scoring interludes, widening the soundscape and creating a pleasant enveloping presence. Excellent dynamic range allows Alfred Newman's lush and spirited orchestrations free rein, and not a hint of distortion afflicts the bright highs and weighty lows, which nicely flesh out the track. Vocals are crisp and distinct, and every word of dialogue is easy to understand. Best of all, any hiss, pops, or crackles have been erased. Classic musicals demand high quality audio, and this track delivers from start to finish. Rating: 4-1/2 stars

South Pacific

For a complete audio transfer review of 'South Pacific,' click here. Rating: 4 stars

The Sound of Music

For a complete audio transfer review of 'The Sound of Music,' click here. Rating: 4-1/2 stars

Special Features


State Fair

  • Audio Commentary - Film historian and musicals expert Richard Barrios and Tom Briggs, co-author of the stage adaptation of 'State Fair,' sit down for an interesting but not particularly enlightening commentary that covers much the same territory as the accompanying featurette on the film (see below). Among other things, the pair compares the 1945 version of 'State Fair' to its 1933 and 1962 counterparts, as well as the original novel and subsequent stage show; provides background information on most of the film's stars and technical crew; cites censorship issues; puts the story in the context of the times; and touches upon a conflict between Rodgers and Hammerstein and 20th Century-Fox studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck. Though the enthusiasm of Barrios and Briggs is undeniable, the lightweight nature of the movie prohibits much substantive discussion, making this commentary only for diehard R&H fans.

  • Sing-Along - Two sing-along options are included. One allows pop-up lyrics to magically appear during all the songs as you watch the movie, while another allows viewers to access individual numbers either one at a time or by using the handy "play all" feature.

  • Music Machine - This jukebox feature lets 'State Fair' fans access the musical sequences directly. Once again, the songs can be viewed individually or as a continuous group.

  • Featurette: "From Page, to Screen, to Stage: 'State Fair'" (SD, 30 minutes) - This breezy 2005 piece looks at all the various forms 'State Fair' has adopted over the years - the original novel, the 1933 non-musical version starring Will Rogers and Janet Gaynor, the 1945 musical adaptation, the 1962 musical remake starring Pat Boone, Bobby Darin, Ann-Margret, and Alice Faye, and the 1990s stage version - and examines their similarities and differences. In addition, we gain some insight into the working method of Rodgers and Hammerstein, and learn about the background of such figures as director Walter Lang, actress Jeanne Crain, and singer Dick Haymes.

  • Theatrical Trailer (SD, 2 minutes) - The film's original preview emphasizes the score to the exclusion of everything else.

  • Still Galleries - Divided into three sections - Set Design and Wardrobe, Behind the Scenes, and Lobby Cards and One-Sheets - these galleries contain a total of 87 images. Unfortunately, all of them are in black-and-white, even the poster art, and that's a shame because Technicolor is such a vital aspect of this film.


Interestingly, not many of the extras on either the Todd-AO or CinemaScope discs have much to do with 'Oklahoma!' (they focus more on the Todd-AO format instead). All the other films in this collection include a retrospective featurette, but surprisingly, 'Oklahoma!' does not.

  • Audio Commentaries - One commentary is included on each 'Oklahoma!' disc, and the better one accompanies the Todd-AO version. Actress Shirley Jones and film historian Nick Redman sit down to discuss Jones' experiences making her debut film, and it's a captivating dialogue filled with colorful reminiscences and introspection. Jones recalls how she was nearly off to college to become a veterinarian when, as an 18-year-old, she attended an open audition in New York for choral parts in Rodgers and Hammerstein shows, and in true Cinderella fashion was instantly discovered. But becoming a movie star was no easy task, and Jones talks about the stress, hard work, grueling schedule, and continual dieting she had to endure. She also speaks fondly of Charlotte Greenwood, who was her mentor during shooting, notes Rodgers was not in favor of casting Grahame and Steiger, shares her memories of choreographer Agnes de Mille, touches upon MacRae's personal demons, and chronicles her exhausting personal appearance tour to promote the finished film. In one of the track's more amusing moments, Redman divulges Grahame was tone deaf, which in turn forced technicians to stitch together her vocal tracks one note at a time to produce anything remotely useable. On the CinemaScope disc, Hammerstein biographer and musicals expert Hugh Fordin chats with Ted Chapin, the president of the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, but their discussion is much drier and more focused on the film's plot and characters. The two men analyze the musical structure of 'Oklahoma!' and how dance fits into the framework, compare the movie to the stage original, and provide insight into the creative processes that fueled the work of both Rodgers and Hammerstein and de Mille. Though both commentaries are worthwhile and rarely overlap, if you can only listen to one, I'd choose the Jones-Redman track, merely because it's always a treat to hear first-hand recollections from someone directly involved in the making of a film.

  • Sing-Along - Two sing-along options are included on both the Todd-AO and CinemaScope discs. One allows pop-up lyrics to magically appear during all the songs as you watch the movie, while another allows viewers to access individual numbers either one at a time or by using the handy "play all" feature.

  • Music Machine - This jukebox feature (also available on both the Todd-AO and CinemaScope discs) lets 'Oklahoma!' fans access the musical sequences directly. Once again, the songs can be viewed individually or as a continuous group.

  • Still Galleries - Divided into two sections - Behind the Scenes and Lobby Cards & One-Sheets - these galleries contain only 28 images total. That's not much for a film of this magnitude that was so heavily hyped and promoted. Unfortunately, once again, all the photos are in black-and-white, even the poster art.

  • Featurette: "CinemaScope vs. Todd-AO" (SD, 12 minutes) - This fascinating 2005 featurette chronicles the development of Todd-AO and how it differs from its widescreen cousin. The format's innovator, Mike Todd, spearheaded the creation of Todd-AO, envisioning it as a streamlined version of the more complex, cumbersome, and expensive three-camera Cinerama format, and various experts, including Todd's son, discuss Todd-AO's distinguishing elements. The Todd-AO image is wider and taller than CinemaScope, duplicating the human field of vision, and employs six tracks of sound instead of three. In addition, Todd-AO's frame rate of 30 frames per second, as opposed to CinemaScope's 24 frames per second, eliminates flicker, which in turn creates a sharper, smoother picture. To fully appreciate the differences between the two versions of 'Oklahoma!,' this featurette is essential viewing.

  • Vintage Short: "The Miracle of Todd-AO" (HD, 12 minutes) - This 1955 short subject was shown prior to the Todd-AO version of 'Oklahoma!' to introduce audiences to the new format and its "unlimited possibilities for realism and participation." To illustrate the format's capabilities, we take a subjective trip on a rollercoaster, fly over the Grand Teton Mountains, ski down the slopes of Sun Valley, and tail a motorcycle patrol through the streets of San Francisco.

  • Vintage Short: "The March of Todd-AO" (HD, 17 minutes) - This 1958 short demonstrates how the massive Todd-AO format can be used to record important news, so "people everywhere can share the memorable events of our time." Naval maneuvers near Lebanon, coverage of Expo '58 in Brussels, and the election of a new pope in Rome are all chronicled in glorious detail in this lush, impressive piece. 

  • Vintage Stage Excerpts (SD, 6 minutes) - Gordon MacRae performs 'Oh! What a Beautiful Mornin'' before he's joined by a fresh-faced, 20-year-old Florence Henderson - 15 years before 'The Brady Bunch' - for a duet of 'People Will Say We're in Love' on this special television salute to Rodgers and Hammerstein, originally broadcast on March 28, 1954.

  • Theatrical Teaser (SD, 1 minute) - This re-release teaser touts the exhibition of 'Oklahoma!' in 70mm, but only includes shots of the corn fields and plains depicted in the film.

  • Theatrical Trailer (SD, 3 minutes) - This traditional preview includes plenty of song clips from the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein score.


  • Audio Commentary - Actress Shirley Jones and film historian Nick Redman provide a lively and informative commentary filled with anecdotes and fond remembrances. Jones especially is a delight, and it's a treat to hear her recount how she received the surprise casting call to appear in 'Carousel,' which became her favorite film role, and reminisce about her close friendship with co-star Barbara Ruick. Much of the discussion's early stages focuses on Frank Sinatra, who was originally cast as Billy, and with whom Jones was very excited to work. Jones recalls Sinatra's stormy exit from the project on the first day of shooting, and various reasons are cited for his abrupt departure. Jones also talks about the last-minute, whirlwind casting of Gordon McRae, who replaced Sinatra on three days' notice, and how an unexpected marriage proposal from future husband Jack Cassidy influenced her portrayal of Julie. Other topics include the differences between the stage musical and its film adaptation, the emotional severity of 'Carousel,' Jones' singing background, the notable absence of Rodgers and Hammerstein during production, and why R&H musicals have such intense mass appeal. Anyone who appreciates 'Carousel' should definitely give this relaxed, insightful track a close listen.

  • Featurette: "Turns on the Carousel" (SD, 23 minutes) - This thoughtful piece has everything to do with 'Carousel,' but almost nothing ot do with its film adaptation. A number of experts weigh in on the morality of R&H shows, the innovative structure of the 'Carousel' story and how if differs from 'Liliom,' the Ferenc Molnar play upon which it is based, and how the musicality of 'Carousel' enhances its dramatic impact. Of special interest are excerpts from audio interviews with both Hammerstein and Rodgers. Rodgers discusses his creative process, while Hammerstein explains why he changed the tale's ending, alludes to his perennial optimistic attitude, and outlines the difficulties he faced writing 'Soliloquy.' Best of all, we get to hear Hammerstein recite the lyrics to 'You'll Never Walk Alone.' Though far from the definitive featurette, this intelligent analysis helps us look beyond the surface elements of 'Carousel,' and enhances our admiration for a deceptively simple and meaningful story.

  • Feature Film: 'Liliom' (1934) (SD, 118 minutes) - The film, adapted from the Ferenc Molnar play upon which 'Carousel' is based, is a captivating cinematic experience that's bolder, grittier, more imaginative, more whimsical, and more emotionally affecting than its musical cousin. The only French film helmed by the masterful Fritz Lang (who, after fleeing Nazi Germany, spent a year in Paris before emigrating to the United States), 'Liliom' bursts with the trademark style and innovation that characterize the director's work. Charles Boyer shines in the role he often termed his all-time favorite, embracing Liliom's dour, lazy, cocky, and abusive nature while exuding an intoxicating exuberance. 'Carousel' closely follows the 'Liliom' story (even taking a song cue from Julie [Madeleine Ozeray], who tells Liliom, "If I loved you..."), but it softens the characters and sentimentalizes the tale. The emotion in 'Liliom' is more searing and natural, and that's largely due to Boyer, whose robust work completely overshadows MacRae's more measured performance. Video and audio quality are quite good, considering the film's advanced age and rarity, and the English subtitles don't interfere with the image. Though I enjoy Rodgers and Hammerstein's 'Carousel' score, I much prefer 'Liliom' from a dramatic and stylistic perspective, and highly recommend this forgotten gem to 'Carousel' fans and those who appreciate film artistry.

  • Sing-Along - Two sing-along options are included. One allows pop-up lyrics to magically appear during all the songs as you watch the movie, while another allows viewers to access individual numbers either one at a time or by using the handy "play all" feature.

  • Music Machine - This jukebox feature lets 'Carousel' fans access the musical sequences directly. Once again, the songs can be viewed individually or as a continuous group.

  • Vintage Stage Excerpt (SD, 13 minutes) - The original stars of the stage production of 'Carousel' - Jan Clayton and John Raitt - reunite for this television salute to Rodgers and Hammerstein, broadcast on March 28, 1954, and sing the beautiful ballad 'If I Loved You.'

  • Additional Songs (SD, 3 minutes) - Audio-only versions of two deleted numbers are accompanied by black-and-white stills to provide a representation of what they might have looked like had they remained in the final release print.

  • Vintage Newsreel Footage (SD, 2 minutes) - Coverage of the Los Angeles and New York premieres of 'Carousel' touts the CinemaScope 55 process and features glimpses of columnist Louella Parsons, actor Richard Egan, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and co-stars Shirley Jones and Gordon MacRae.

  • Theatrical Trailer (SD, 2 minutes) - No scenes from the film are shown in this dull, hyperbolic preview that features Fox studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck singing the praises of the CinemaScope 55 process and saying almost nothing about 'Carousel.'

  • Still Galleries - Three galleries encompassing storyboards, behind-the-scenes shots, and promotional materials include a total of 221 images, 33 of which are in color. Of special interest are a few wardrobe test stills of Frank Sinatra in costume as Billy Bigelow.

  • Isolated Score - Alfred Newman's orchestrations of the Rodgers and Hammerstein score can be heard without the hindrance of dialogue on this special music track.

The King and I

All the extras from the 2006 50th anniversary DVD release have been ported over to this release.

  • Audio Commentary - Historian and author Richard Barrios and Michael Portantiere provide a ho-hum commentary that relates bits of trivia and assorted facts, but never offers much in the way of substantive discussion. They tell us 'The King and I' is a faithful adaptation of the stage musical and praise Marni Nixon's dubbing of Deborah Kerr's vocals. They also identify where various cuts were made and deleted songs would have appeared, and cite several changes that were made to the material during its transition from stage to screen. In addition, the two compare Kerr's performance to that of Gertrude Lawrence, who originated the role of Mrs. Anna on Broadway, talk about Brynner's lifelong connection to the King, and mention other actors who were once considered for parts in the film, including Maureen O'Hara for Anna, Marlon Brando for the King, and Dorothy Dandridge for Tuptim. Yet we learn nothing about Rodgers and Hammerstein's involvement in the project, the feelings of Fox studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck about the film, or other interesting behind-the-scenes topics. More research and less fawning would certainly make this commentary much more worthwhile and informative.

  • Isolated Score - Alfred Newman's orchestrations of the Rodgers and Hammerstein score can be heard without the hindrance of dialogue on this special music track.

  • Sing-Along - Two sing-along options are included. One allows pop-up lyrics to magically appear during all the songs as you watch the movie, while another allows viewers to access individual numbers either one at a time or by using the handy "play all" feature.

  • Music Machine - This jukebox feature lets 'The King and I' fans access the musical sequences directly. Once again, the songs can be viewed individually or as a continuous group.

  • Featurette: "Something Wonderful: The Story of 'The King and I'" (SD, 22 minutes) - From the historical origins and novelization of the Anna Leonowens story to the straight dramatic film in 1946, Broadway musical in 1951, and film musical in 1956, the evolution, influence, and themes of 'The King and I' are examined in this absorbing featurette. Audio recollections from both Rodgers and Hammerstein enhance the piece, and there's a lengthy discussion about songs that were cut from both the original stage show and film adaptation. 

  • Featurette: "The Kings of Broadway" (SD, 11 minutes) - The Broadway production of 'The King and I' is chronicled here, featuring reminiscences from Oscar Hammerstein's son, who recalls his father's attraction to the project, and Richard Rodgers' daughter, who talks about the development of her father from songwriter to musical dramatist. We also learn about the casting and magnetism of Brynner and illness and death of Gertrude Lawrence, who passed away during the show's Broadway run.

  • Featurette: "The King of the Big Screen" (SD, 5 minutes) - This interesting brief piece looks at widescreen processes, such as CinemaScope, Todd-AO, and CinemaScope 55, and how they revolutionized the film industry from a technical standpoint and brought Rodgers and Hammerstein back to Hollywood after unhappy experiences in the 1930s.

  • Featurette: "'The King and I' Stage Version" (SD, 17 minutes) - This erroneously titled featurette is all about the movie version of 'The King and I,' and contains wonderful recollections from actor Carlos Rivas, who plays Lun Tha, about the generosity of Deborah Kerr, and screenwriter Ernest Lehman about his dealings with Brynner and how they both had to fight Fox studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck to include the King's classic musical soliloquy, 'A Puzzlement,' in the film. The contributions of Fox music director Alfred Newman to the picture's lush scoring are also detailed, and we learn about Brynner's lifelong connection to the titular role.

  • Featurette: "'The King and I': The Royal Archives" (SD, 2 minutes) - Another strangely titled featurette, this brief piece traverses familiar territory, encapsulating the evolution of Anna Leonowens' story and Fox's involvement with the project.

  • Vintage TV Pilot: 'Anna and the King' (SD, 26 minutes) - Back in 1972, Brynner reprised his role as the pompous King of Siam in this short-lived television sitcom co-starring Samantha Eggar. This pilot episode recreates several moments from 'The King and I,' including the presentation of the children, the King's fascination with the term "etc. etc.," and his outrage over being called a barbarian. It changes Anna's nationality, however, to American (even though the British Eggar speaks with an English accent) and transforms her mild-mannered son into a pugnacious, wise-cracking sitcom brat who uses modern slang and gets into regular scuffles with the prince. The addition of a laugh track is also jarring, but the opulent production values heighten the program's level of sophistication. Despite some initial promise, the show only lasted 13 episodes.

  • Vintage Stage Excerpts (SD, 10 minutes) - Yul Brynner and Patricia Morison, the final Anna of the original Broadway run, reprise their roles in this TV spectacular saluting Rodgers and Hammerstein that was broadcast on March 28, 1954. Morison, dressed in the exact same gown Kerr would wear in the film version, sings 'Getting to Know You,' and Brynner performs 'A Puzzlement.'

  • Additional Song: "Shall I Tell You What I Think of You?" (SD, 4 minutes) - This hybrid performance, featuring vocals by both Deborah Kerr and Marni Nixon, is accompanied by a montage of black-and-white photos of Kerr performing the number.

  • Featurette: "Restoring CinemaScope 55" (SD, 7 minutes) - The meticulous and painstaking process of restoring 'The King and I,' which was filmed in a now obsolete format, to its former glory is outlined in this informative piece.

  • Vintage Newsreel Clips (SD, 11 minutes) - Seven segments of Fox's Movietone News that have connections to 'The King and I' are featured here. Items covered include the New York and Los Angeles charity premieres of the film, a recap of the Oscar ceremonies and Brynner's Best Actor win, the head-shaving mania that swept Australia as a result of the movie, and the re-release of the musical in a format known as "Grandeur 70."

  • Theatrical Trailers (SD, 10 minutes) - A teaser touting the magnificence of CinemaScope 55, two trailers of varying length, and a preview for the 1946 drama 'Anna and the King of Siam,' starring Irene Dunne, Rex Harrison, and Linda Darnell, comprise the offerings in this section.

  • Still Galleries - Three galleries are included. The first, Behind the Scenes, contains 142 images (31 in color) that chronicle the film's various stages of production. There's even one of Brynner with hair (!), as well as shots of Kerr putting her footprints in cement, and Elizabeh Taylor and Clark Gable visiting the set. The Set Design gallery contains 22 black-and-white photos of set sketches and miniatures, while Lobby Cards and One Sheets showcases the movie's promotional material with 23 reproductions (two in color).

South Pacific

For a complete review of the 'South Pacific' supplements, click here.

The Sound of Music

Only the extras from Disc One of the 2010 individual release are included in this collection. A couple of the supplements, however, are high-def exclusives, and are described in the HD Bonus Content section below.

  • Audio Commentaries – Two commentaries add a wealth of context, perspective, and intimacy to the film, beginning with a group effort "hosted" by Julie Andrews. Blessed with a mellifluous speaking voice that nearly matches her beautiful melodic tones, Andrews anchors this track with lots of pleasant, interesting memories, and introduces the other participants who recorded their remarks separately – Christopher Plummer, Charmian Carr (who played Liesl), choreographer Dee Dee Wood, and Johannes von Trapp, the youngest child of Maria and Baron von Trapp, and the only sibling to be born in America. Andrews recalls the inclement Austrian weather, her difficulty with the 'I Have Confidence in Me' lyrics, and shares several entertaining anecdotes; Carr details the injury that befell her during the shooting of 'Sixteen Going on Seventeen' and delights in Plummer's off-set jocularity; von Trapp chimes in with information about his family and how their lives and personalities differed from what is depicted on screen; and Plummer salutes his other female co-star, Eleanor Parker, who portrayed the Baroness. Much of the information is also shared in the comprehensive documentaries and featurettes on Disc Two (see below), but there's enough fresh material here to keep the track absorbing, despite many lengthy gaps. The second commentary is a solo effort by director Robert Wise, whose sporadic remarks are consistently bookended by long stretches of isolated stereo music from the film's score and scene-specific sound effects. No dialogue or song vocals are heard, and the scoring doesn't always mirror what's being presented on screen, especially where musical numbers are concerned. It's a dry, often tedious track, as Wise doesn't go far enough in depth or share enough anecdotes to sufficiently maintain interest. He talks about the nuts and bolts of shooting, the locations, the weather, casting, and the differences between the stage play and film, as well as factual liberties screenwriter Ernest Lehman took with the lives of the Von Trapp family for dramatic and narrative purposes. While it's wonderful to have Wise document his experiences and hear his insights, he loses steam as the movie progresses, and the resulting gaps – filled with repetitive themes – drag out the track. If you only have the time or patience for a single commentary, I'd choose the one featuring Andrews.

  • Music Machine – Access to all of the movie's musical numbers is just a remote click away with this easy-to-use interface.

  • Sing-Along – If you'd like to raise your voice in song along with Julie, Christopher, and all the children, you can select a musical number from the menu and follow the highlighted lyrics on the screen. Diehards can select the "play all" option and sing the entire score.

Final Thoughts

For musicals aficionados and fans of the greatest composing duo in Broadway history, 'The Rodgers & Hammerstein Collection' is an essential release, grouping together six classic films that represent the finest artistic achievements of this immortal team. Though some have carped about the set's video transfers - especially the one for 'The King and I' - I have found all the movies to be meticulously restored for high definition and, despite some minor hiccups, properly presented. Exceptional audio makes these musicals truly sing, and a massive array of supplements provides additional context and perspective. If you don't yet own any of these fine films on Blu-ray ('South Pacific' and 'The Sound of Music' have been previously issued in the format), then by all means grab a copy of this release. (Keep in mind, however, more extras are contained on the stand-alone two-disc release of 'The Sound of Music.') 'Oklahoma!' and 'The King and I' are also now available individually, so purchasing the entire collection isn't necessary if you aren't enamored of all these movies. 'State Fair' and 'Carousel,' however, as of this writing, remain exclusive to this set, making 'The Rodgers & Hammerstein Collection' an attractive deal, if you can find it on sale. (Don't look for it in stores; it's an Amazon exclusive.) Yet whether you buy one film or all six, it's impossible to minimize the cultural contributions of these two magnificent artists, who rightfully can be considered American institutions, and whose captivating musicals will forever stand the test of time and continually delight and inspire audiences of all ages. Highly recommended.