Oscar Review: The Sound of Music (1965)

The next installment in my Best Picture series is a film that has captured the hearts of moviegoers for over 40 years. Coming in at #55 on the AFI list, The Sound of Music has set a standard for movie musicals.

Based on the real-life story of Maria and the von Trapp family, The Sound of Music chronicles the journey of a young “flibbertijibbet, will-o’-the wisp” would-be nun from a convent to a home with seven children and into the arms of a retired naval captain.

As the children plot their schemes to get her to leave, Maria wins (played by Julie Andrews) them over with her kindness, her courage, and her music. Not only a dictatorial governess, Maria takes the children on adventures throughout the Austrian countryside and acts as counselor, a friend, and brings “the sound of music” back into a house that has grown cold with the harsh whistles of a man who only knows how to run a ship.

Soon, as he wins over the children, she steals the heart of Captain von Trapp (Christopher Plummer) from an impending marriage to Baroness Schrader. When the Nazis take control of Austria, the Captain is called back into service for the Third Reich. To facilitate the family’s escape, they enter the Salzburg Folk Festival and while the German’s watch, the von Trapp family makes their way into the Alps towards Switzerland.
*****
I’m watching it now, but I haven’t seen the film version in I don’t know how long. Two years ago the company I work for provided sound for a local middle school’s production of the musical. After going through a week’s worth of rehearsals and shows – with performances slightly better than one would expect from middle schoolers – I got tired of The Sound of Music and couldn’t bring myself to watch it for awhile. But I will always come back to such a classic piece of cinema.

Robert Wise’s production of The Sound of Music is an endearing story of the importance of joy and music and imagination. Rogers and Hammerstein‘s music has been among the most beloved in all of film history taking 3 spots on AFI’s Top 100 Songs (though there are many more wonderful selections that didn’t make the list):

  • #88 – “Do Re Mi”
  • #64 – “My Favorite Things”
    and
  • #10 – “The Sound of Music”

Winning half of its 10 Oscar nominations, The Sound of Music has proven across the generations that it will be remembered as one of the greatest films of all time.

UPDATE: The Sound of Music was also named as #27 in AFI’s list of the best love story’s of all time.

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