Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music; musical / drama / comedy, USA, 1965; D: Robert Wise, S: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Richard Haydn, Eleanor Parker, Charmian Carr, Angela Cartwright, Peggy Wood

“The last golden days of Salzburg”, just a few months before Anchluss. Maria is a rebellious young woman who simply cannot fit into a strict convent, which is why many think that she will never be a nun. Mother Abbess thus gives her the assignment of a nanny and sends her to a mansion of widowed Captain Georg Ludwig von Trapp to take care of his 7 children: Liesl, Friedrich, Louisa, Kurt, Brigitta, Marta and Gretl. At first, the children are cold towards her, but she gains their sympathy by teaching them how to sing and enjoy life. The strict Georg is at first angered, but later on starts to like Maria so much that he even falls in love with her, abandoning his engagement with baroness Shraeder. When Totalitarianism shows up, in the form of the Nazi rule, the van Trapp family gives one last performance and escapes from the country.

One of the most enduring movies of the 20th century, “The Sound of Music” is not a flawless classic, but its positive energy is so contagious that it surmounts even its own quality and eclipses over some omissions. From the moment where the nuns give a humorous musical introduction act about the rebellious Maria, mentioning how she “likes to whistle in church” and wears “hair rollers under her robe”, the story’s irresistible charm takes a firm grip on the viewers and doesn’t let go until the end, whereas Julie Andrews is simply fabulous as the above mentioned heroine, both in acting and singing, which is why she rightfully won the Golden Globe as best actress in a musical or comedy, delivering one of the three best performances of her career.

There simply is too much singing at some points of the movie, which can become rather lax, whereas some scenes really are too kitschy and sugary, as some critics pointed out, yet the comic adventures of Maria as the nanny for 7 children are brilliant, both in the moments where their strict father Georg has the upper hand (he drilled the children so much that he even uses his whistle to direct their march and introduction to the new nanny) as well as the ones later on where she eventually gets the upper hand and stops the children from being raised so uptight (in the mirror sequence where she introduces the “new” children to Georg while sailing on the boat with them, when it turns over and they all fall in water). So many musicals and classics seem dated today, but surprisingly, “The Sound of Music” still seems so alive with its innocence that even modern audiences can easily enjoy in it, secretly or openly.


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