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The Sound of Music

A 1965 film directed by Robert Wise and starring Julie Andrews.

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Sound of Music – meet the saccharin twins

  • Nov 6, 2001
Pros: scenery, music

Cons: some of the story

The Bottom Line: I still highly recommend it, however.

The Oracle says: Richard Haydn has a Bacon number of 2.
Richard Haydn was in Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin, The (1967) with Roddy McDowall
Roddy McDowall was in Big Picture, The (1989) with Kevin Bacon ***

First of all let me say that you could probably do worse than watch this movie. The scenery is breathtaking for the most part, the music is joyful and lyrical, for the most part, the acting is passable, for the most part – but the story – even by the standards in 1965 – was not believable, even though based on fact, for the most part.

Nuns, children, mountains and songs
The opening scene has probably been viewed by almost everyone, even if they have never watched the movie. The picture of Julie Andrews (Maria) standing on the mountain, arms spread wide encompassing the glory of creation and God, the opening sounds of the title song, have been used countless times for commercials and clips advertising movies for years..

Maria is a postulant at a convent who was pulled there not from a higher calling from God, as most are, but because she viewed peace and tranquility over those walls all through her earlier life. She is rebellious, not in a bad way, just uncommon to the cloth. Mother Superior (Peggy Wood) cannot curtail her ways, nor does she want to. She can see that Maria, though a loving and caring person, is certainly not cut out for the ways of the convent and its’ stringent lifestyle and rules.

Realizing at the heart of Maria is a warm and loving soul, she sends her to become governess to the children of Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer), an Austrian widower with seven children. A young and forceful person, Von Trapp shows little patience for his rowdy group and as he tells Maria, she is the 12th governess to meet his brood. A strict disciplinarian, he rules his home as he did his troops – with a whistle, marching, and little humor.

Maria, of course, failed the course of discipline badly at the convent so naturally she doesn’t take well to Von Trapp’s methods of childrearing, let alone his expectations of her. From this point, this is where the story takes an even further step to the left of the believability scale.

These previously uncontrollable and incorrigible children are taken with Maria within the first 5 minutes of their meeting. Ok, she had a winning personality, she sided with them against dad, she made faces and acted unruly, so they saw a kindred spirit in her. Nevertheless, this total acceptance and complete turnaround just seemed a little far fetched. Then we immediately break into song as well, although there had been plenty beforehand with the nuns at the convent. The children stated they had no singing capability, yet they are able to harmonize at once.

The Baroness, War, blossoming love, and reality
The introduction of Elanor Parker as the Baroness, and soon to be wife, into the story, of course was only needed to further the fuel and fire between Maria and Von Trapp. Otherwise, she was totally unnecessary. Were we really to believe that this poised and proper woman would leave the ballrooms and parlors of the big city and retire to this resplendent but secluded mansion and be saddled with this brood of seven unruly children, that had no use for her whatever.

Adding even more intrigue to the story, or a reason for the story itself, we insert the invasion by Nazi armies, and the requirement that Von Trapp join forces with them. Of course by now he has changed completely, he is now loving and kind and wants to spend his life with his children and Maria. He doesn’t believe in the ‘cause’ and wants to get away from the governing forces trying to enlist his services.

The reality is that he either give up all that he has and flee the country, or he stays to serve the Nazi Army.

All is not wrong, there is much to be loved about the movie
Again, scenery alone is worth the watch. Not only the surrounding countryside, but also the fantastic home of the Von Trapp family. The children, though precocious, are delightful and their singing is wonderful. In fact, for the most part, all the musical scores are beautifully done. Andrews’ voice is naturally above par and Plummer was a surprise, I am assuming it was actually him singing. Most of the songs are memorable and well recognized: The Sound of Music, Edelweiss, Do Re Mi, My Favorite Things, and the majestic Climb Every Mountain.

Of course the movie had tons of messages to convey – hope, happiness, love, respect, determination, family values, commitment – but there were negatives as well – loss of freedom, loss of birthrights, war, desolation. The movie was contrived to bring a feeling of hope and happiness to many, good things do come to those who wait, but wrapped in this shiny paper of unrealistic promises, it offers false values to those of us that have to live real lives.

Not to distract from the fact that the movie was based on the real life situation facing the Von Trapp family. When they climbed that mountain, and turned their back forever on their native homeland, they had to resort to the only thing they knew well, singing, to keep the bread on their ever expanding table.

Eventually immigrating to Stowe, Vermont, in 1939, they opened a music camp and continued to tour worldwide performing, even returning to Austria for a concert. The Von Trapp Lodge is still presided over by Johannes von Trapp and his family and became the final resting place for Maria, on her death in 1987, where she is buried next to her husband.

Perhaps I am just too jaded or cynical to appreciate the uplifting story offered by The Sound of Music, however the music tells the story much better than I ever could. Since the production was awarded Best Picture, Best Director, Best Sound, Best Adapted Score, Best Film Editing and nominated for Best Actress (Andrews), Best Supporting Actress (Wood), Best Art Direction-Set Direction, Best Color Cinematography and Best Costume Design by the Academy, it appears I am in a minority with my views. A great children’s movie.

Starring: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker, Richard Haydn, Peggy Wood, Charmian Carr, Heather Menzies , Nicholas Hammond, Duane Chase, Angela Cartwright. Written by Ernest Lehman (based on a musical play by Rodgers & Hammerstein); directed by Robert Wise.


*** Compliments of Department of Computer Science
School of Engineering, University of Virginia


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More The Sound of Music reviews
Quick Tip by . August 24, 2010
Loved this film, and I am not a lover of the musical genre. I was an army brat in Germany when this film debuted and we actually went to Salzburg Austria and saw the Von Trapp family mansion. Great acting by all, the music and score is just superb!!!
Quick Tip by . July 25, 2010
The Sound of Music is one of the best classic musicals. I never tire of watching it as it nicely incorporates the musical interludes with the storyline.
Quick Tip by . September 25, 2009
Never appreciated this movie when it came out but I find that as I get older I enjoy it more and more.
Quick Tip by . September 24, 2009
A Classic film. The music is everlasting and the story is simple yet wonderful and lovely. Must Watch!
Quick Tip by . September 24, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
A Classic film. The music is everlasting and the story is simple yet wonderful and lovely. Must Watch!
review by . December 29, 2008
So while most children were obsessing over Disney movies like Cinderella and The Little Mermaid, I was watching The Sound of Music every weekend. In addition to the Disney movies I should add.    Maria, a nun, is sent to be the governess for all seven children of the vonTrapp family.  They've been known to misbehave and dislike their previous governesses, but Maria wins them over by taking them to the countryside and teaching them about music.    The …
review by . December 01, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
This lovely new 40th Anniversary 2-disc edition of THE SOUND OF MUSIC is a real treat. But, for those in a quandry about buying yet another DVD release of the film (following the "Five Star" 2-disc edition), I say, buy this version but keep the old one too, because it has some great extras that were not ported onto this new edition (more about that later).    THE SOUND OF MUSIC is of course based on the long-running 1959 hit Broadway musical that originally starred Mary Martin. …
review by . December 13, 2005
Most of you know what the movie is about, so we won't rehash that. While the movie sometimes gets a ribbing for it's too sweet of a story, things aren't always rosy as the family encounters the Nazis. Anyway, Twentieth Century Fox "climbed every mountain, followed every rainbow" and created the two-disc 40th Anniversary Edition DVD of the Oscar-winning film South of Music. The cast reunites for the first time in 20 years to celebrate and share memories, old and new.    Julie …
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About this movie


The Sound of Music is a 1965 musical film based on the booked The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria von Trapp.

Maria (Julie Andrews) is a nun who has been called to be a governess for the seven children of the widowed Captain.  The children (Liesl, Friedrich, Louisa, Kurt, Brigitta, Marta, and Gretl) have been known to hostile to previous governesses, but Maria wins them over when she takes them away for a day and teaches them about music and singing.

During this time, the Captain is seeing Baroness Elsa and is set to marry her that summer.  However, she does not get along well with the children and the Captain and Maria's affection for each other cannot be unseen and Elsa eventually leaves the picture.

The Captain is then called back to the serve in the military, but delays this by attending the Salzburg Music Festival where the von Trapp family is performing.  During the closing of this performance, the Captain, his seven children and Maria flee Austria to Switzerland.
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