Movie: The Sound of Music
Release Date: March 2, 1965
Director: Robert Wise
Starring: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer.
Tag Lines: “RADIANCE THAT FLOODS THE SCREEN…AND WARMS THE HEART!”
“…the more you see it, the more it becomes one of your favorite things!”
“With songs they have sung for a thousand years.”
“My heart wants to sing every song it hears.”
“The hills are alive. With the sound of music.”
“The hills fill my heart with the sound of music.”
“The Happiest Sound In All The World!”
Relevance: In 1976 at the age of five, I saw ‘The Sound of Music’ when it aired on ABC television, however I was already familiar with the musical. As mentioned many times before on this blog, my mother was a huge Julie Andrews and Broadway musical fan. Her record collection included many soundtracks to movies and shows that we got to listen to while she cooked, baked or cleaned. ‘The Sound of Music’ was one such record, owning both the soundtrack to the Broadway show and the movie. By the time I saw the film, I knew all of the music whether I wanted to or not.
‘The Sound of Music’ was first performed on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater in November of 1959 starring Mary Martin and Theodore Bikel. It was nominated for nine Tony awards and won five, including Best Musical. My mom went to New York City many times to see Broadway shows, but I am not exactly sure if this was one of those that she saw. She definitely owned the vinyl recording and I frequently heard Mary Martin’s voice periodically growing up.
The movie, ‘The Sound of Music’ was released in March of 1965 starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. Initially receiving mixed reviews from critics, it eventually went on to receive ten Academy Award nominations and won five including Best Picture. It was a huge box office success and became the highest grossing film of 1965 and the highest grossing film of all time, surpassing ‘Gone With the Wind.’ It held that title for five years. I know for sure that my mom saw the movie in theaters on a date with her soon to be husband (my father). They were married in September of of that year. My dad not only got a bride, but the vinyl recording of the soundtrack that the entire family would hear for years to come.
The first time I saw the movie, I am pretty sure I did not make it all the way through. ‘The Sound of Music’ was a long film and with the added commercial breaks, I am sure I was asleep before Maria and the Captain fell in love. I am sure my mom didn’t miss one second of it though. In 1979, the movie was shown again, this time on NBC where it aired annually for twenty-two years, usually around a holiday, either Christmas or Easter. In our household, which was led by my mom, it was watched every single year. Of course, we all watched it with her. At that time, there was only one television of which my mom was lord and ruler. After a few years, the movie started to become a catalyst to mock my mother. We, my dad, sister and myself, always made fun of the movie only to poke fun at her. She never cared. If anything, it only made her love the movie more.
As time rolled on, my family got a VCR player and one of the first movies my mom purchased was ‘The Sound of Music.’ It wasn’t the very first though. That award goes to both ‘Charade’ and ‘M*A*S*H’ which were purchased at the time of the player. (I can’t remember what I had for dinner yesterday, but I can remember the first two movie my family bought on VHS.) However, eventually ‘The Sound of Music’ was a part of our movie collection was now watched more than once a year. The more that I watched it, the more I fell in love with the story. Sure, I still made fun of the movie to irk my mom, especially when it came to the crowd singing “Good-bye,” (a scene that still makes me roll my eyes), but I couldn’t deny its charm and the fact that I was always entertained when I watched it.
Throughout my grade school and high school careers, ‘The Sound of Music’ often popped up in my music classes and concerts. I learned all of the songs in music classes and sang “My Favorite Things” a lot. My fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Nolan, who had a similar haircut to Julie Andrews in the film and also played the guitar, often used the movie in her lessons. I am quite sure she was a huge fan of the film herself. As I learned musical instruments, those songs always seemed to be learned fairly quickly, as if my mom was in charge of the curriculum. She beamed when she saw one of the songs in our concert programs and smiled and tapped along as we played her “favorite things.”
As I grew older and started getting more involved with theater and film, I started looking at it in a different way. Technically, it is absolutely gorgeous. The sets, costumes, direction and cast are really quite remarkable. Some of the scenes are breathtaking, especially when the Captain and Maria dance as well as their duet, “Something Good.” They are beautifully shot and are by far my favorite scenes. By the time I was a young adult, ‘The Sound of Music’ had become one of my favorite movies and I was officially a fan.
At Christmas in 2005, my mom bought my sister and I the 40th Anniversary DVD of the movie. It was more of a joke, as she knew it was her favorite movie not ours, but she said every household needed to own it. It was a gift well received and actually well used. I watched the movie every year, again around the holidays, and continued the tradition that my mom started so many years ago. I can’t say that everyone else in my house follows said tradition. My husband was a fan of the movie, but his attention span lasts maybe an hour and my son always said, “I’d rather die than watch that.” So my continued tradition was a solo tradition.
‘The Sound of Music’ has been around my entire life. The songs, the music and the film were a constant source of entertainment for my mother, which eventually got passed down to her children. The movie has been watched over and over again through the years and always conjures up wonderful memories of my “youth and childhood.” I have always wanted to play Captain von Trapp on stage. Although that has not happened yet (and at my age my chances are waning), I still hold out hope that I get to sing “Edelweiss” one day. Until then, I have Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer and ‘The Sound of Music’ to keep that dream alive.
Today’s Thoughts: “You know how Sister Berthe always makes me kiss the floor after we’ve had a disagreement? Well, lately I’ve taken to kissing the floor whenever I see her coming, just to save time.”
I woke up bright and early to watch ‘The Sound of Music’ today. My husband went to work and my son was sleeping, so I knew I would be able to enjoy it in peace and quiet. My son did walk through the living room around the time that Maria was getting married. I asked if he was sad that he had to go to work instead of staying home to finish watching the movie with me. He said no.
The film, now fifty-five years old, is still as marvelous as I remember it. It is in every way, shape and form a classic. The music is memorable to the point of infectious and the cast, especially Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, are wonderful. Ms. Andrews is the perfect Maria and Mr. Plummer equally perfect as the tough, terse but loving Captain. And man alive, was he gorgeous or what? Hubba Hubba. They make a tremendous couple on screen and I adore every scene they share together. And of course, all of the children are every bit as cute and adorable as one would expect they should be. Special shout out to the lovely Anna Lee as Sister Margaretta. I grew up watching her as Lila Quatermaine on “General Hospital” and always love watching her younger self perform in this classic.
What more can I say about ‘The Sound of Music?’ It is forever a part of who I am and is a film that I will always cherish. The songs will be in my head all day long now, something that would have annoyed me as a kid. Today however, all I can do is smile. And with that I sing, “Good-bye.”
Awards: Academy Award for Best Picture (winner), Academy Award for Best Director, Robert Wise (winner), Academy Award for Best Sound, James Corcoran, Fred Hynes (winner), Academy Award for Best Film Editing, William Reynolds (winner), Academy Award for Best Music, Scoring of Music, Adaptation or Treatment, Irwin Kostal (winner), Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, Julie Andrews (nomination), Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Peggy Wood (nomination), Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Color, Ted D. McCord (nomination), Academy Award for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color, Boris Leven, Walter M. Scott, R. Levitt (nomination), Academy Award for Best Costume Design, Color, Dorothy Jeakins (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical (winner), Golden Globe for Best Actress – Comedy or Musical, Julie Andrews (winner), Golden Globe for Best Director, Robert Wise (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress, Peggy Wood (nomination), BAFTA Award for Best British Actress. Julie Andrews (nomination), Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures, Robert Wise (winner), National Board of Review Award for Top Ten Films (winner), National Film Registry (2001), New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress, Julie Andrews (nomination), Writers Guild of America Award for Best Written American Musical, Ernest Lehman (winner).
Ways to Watch: Disney+, YouTube, Google Play, Vudu, Amazon Prime, iTunes, DVD Availability.