For 1 Year, 100 Movies, I will watch all of AFI’s 100 Years, 100 Movies list (compiled in 2007) in one year- and will complete a goal on my 2013 Manifesto. Come along on the ride with me- oh, and please pass the popcorn!
‘The Sound of Music‘ is one of my all time favorite movies. This film is a huge part of my childhood. From Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer- to all of the children and support actors, each of the characters is acted is perfection. The direction of the film, the overall look, plot and most of all the songs are all incredible. I can’t say enough good things about this film, I love it so much.
From the opening of the film with the wide pan shots of the gorgeous Austrian landscape, with Julie Andrews and her lovely voice just singing on the hilltops because it makes her happy- we know this movie is something special. The film then goes into a brilliant compilation of the film’s soundtrack while the opening credits roll. We are introduced to Andrew’s character- froline Maria as the free-spirited nun, who just doesn’t quite fit in at the abbey. She wears curlers under her whimper and whistles on the stairs. She is sent by the Reverend Mother to be a governess for seven children in a family home just outside of Salzburg, Austria for some months- a providential move.
The children are in some serious need of mothering, and like the governesses before her, try to dish it out to Maria as best as they can immediately upon her arrival. Made of sterner stuff than probably Maria even knows, she sticks it out and makes friends with the kids within the day. Captain VonTrapp (Christopher Plummer)- the father of the children- runs the household strictly, like he is still on one of his ships ever since his wife passed away some years previously. There is no more singing and dancing or playing. Maria, as determined as ever, plans to put play and music back in the children’s lives. Since the Captain is close to proposing to a lady from Vienna, Baroness Schräder, (Eleanor Parker), she believes she is there to prepare the children for a new mother. She is- just not the mother everyone anticipated.
Captain VonTrapp brings the Baroness and his friend Max Detweiler “Uncle Max” (Richard Haydn) home to his villa and introduces the baroness to his children- after they arrive by boat which overturns at the children’s joy to see their father. They meet the Baroness sopping wet in the play clothes that Maria made for them from the old curtains that used to hang in her room. The Captain is at the point of sending Maria back to the abbey when he hears his children singing for the Baroness. It melts his heart and he joins in with the children. The look on their faces as they realize what is happening is priceless. He gives in and lets Maria stay.
Max is always on the hunt for musical acts to thrust into the limelight, and he sets his eyes now on the children after seeing the fun puppet show they put on. The Captain sings his own song for the group and Max wants him to join the ‘group’ as well as the VonTrapp family singers. The Captain refuses for his children to sing in public- but is fine with them singing good night to the party-goers at a bash he hosts at his home. This scene is a classic and also adorable. The Austrian flag is prominently displayed at the party which incenses military officers at the party, who are in support of the Nazis. The children show Maria how well they can dance- and then the Captain and Maria waltz together. Later the Baroness plants a little seed in Maria’s head that the Captain couldn’t take his eyes off of her- that she loves him and he loves her back. Maria is shocked, and not wanting to come between the Captain and the Baroness she leaves to go back to the abbey- only to realize that she really does love him.
Time for the intermission- you can take a bathroom break and get something to eat now. This is a pretty long film.
The second half of the film opens up to the Baroness attempting to play ball with the children- a funny sight. Max makes fun of her as the future mother of seven, and she laughs him off with her plans of boarding school. The children are visibly upset by Maria’s absence in their lackluster singing and play. They ask their father who their new governess will be, and he explains they will no longer have a governess- they will have a mother. They each kiss the Baroness’s cheek- mostly out of shock and learned obedience than joy. They immediately go into town to try to see Maria at the abbey. They are turned away, but this prompts the Reverend Mother to speak to Maria although she is not ready yet. It comes out that Maria is in love with the Captain. She is visibly upset and says she is ready to take her vows. The Reverend Mother explains to Maria that the love between a man and a woman is holy too- and she must find out how God wants her to spend her love. If she loves him it doesn’t mean she loves God less. She must go back to find out.
Maria goes back to the VonTrapp family to the joy of the children- and the Captain. She finds out that the Captain and the Baroness are engaged, and heartbroken but determined she tells him she will stay until he is married. The Baroness catches the Captain watching Maria from his balcony and she starts rambling about their honeymoon when he interrupts her and gently breaks off the engagement. Later that evening he lets Maria know he broke up with the Baroness and tells her that you can’t marry someone when you are in love with someone else. They kiss and Maria is so overwhelmed that this could happen to her. They profess their love and like all other emotional moments in this film express their feelings in song. Geez, I love this movie.
The next scene opens on their wedding day, with Maria preparing to go down the looooooong aisle in the most beautiful dress- styled for the 30’s. The Captain is waiting for her in is military uniform as they play Maria’s ‘theme song’ from the beginning of the wedding. A fitting song for this change of direction in her life.
We then learn that the Aushwitz has occurred and that when the Captain returns from his honeymoon he is expected to serve in the new order. Max in the Captain’s absence has signed the children up for the big concert. The Captain and Maria arrive home and he tears down the Nazi flag that the military had affixed to the exterior of his home. The kids are excited to see their parents, and tell them they are to sing in the festival. The Captain refuses- citing the aforementioned ‘no children singing in public’ and the eldest daughter Liesl gives her father the telegram that her prior crush Rolph (now turned Nazi) had given her. Maria and Liesl have a sweet mother/daughter moment and she gets over her little heartbreak.
The Captain sees the writing on the wall- or in this case in the telegram- and he packs up his family to escape. They are caught as they roll the car out of the gate, and make up the excuse that they are all going to the festival to sing- and that their traveling clothes are their costumes. They are escorted to the festival – saying that the military wants to demonstrate that nothing has changed in Austria. The Captain is told that afterward he will be taken directly to Bramerhauden- in the naval forces of the Third Reich. The family sings at the festival- and after the awarding ceremony are discovered to have escaped.
The family takes refuge in the cemetery at the abbey and a very nail-bitting scene ensues where we hope they will not be found out by the officers seeking them. Lesil’s old ‘boyfriend’ Rolph finds them, and after a few tense moments rats them out. They escape in their waiting car, and an epic car chase does not occur because several of the nuns have damaged the Nazi officer’s vehicles. Have I mentioned how much I love this movie?
The film ends with shots of the VonTrapp family escaping on foot over the mountains with ‘Climb ev’ry Mountain’ playing in the background. So epic.
‘The Sound of Music‘ is a smorgasbord of musical delights. The more recognizable ones (“Do-Re-Mi”, “Climb Every Mountain”, “You are Sixteen, Going on Seventeen” and “My Favourite Things”) are always inviting, but my favourites are: ‘Maria”, “I have Confidence in Me”, “Edelweiss”, “So Long, Farewell”, (the good-night song at the party and at the festival) and “The Lonely Goatherd”, (the puppeteering song). As Maria, Julie Andrews is a participant in nearly every song and her exuberant performance remains one of the best in all of musical cinema. The rest of the cast is incredible as well, I can’t say enough how much I love the acting, music, plot- etc etc. This film is at the top of my 10 favorite movies of all time.
Last summer I was blessed enough to be able to go on a trip to Europe- more specifically Germany, Switzerland, France, and- Austria. As we passed the area by train where the Sound of Music was filmed I was fan-girling so hard. Let’s just say that between me and half of the other people in our group there were plently of flashing cameras and break out renditions of ‘The Hills are Alive” from The Sound of Music:
If you want to check out my blog post from that day – click here.
In my humble, non-professional, average movie-goer opinion this movie earns: