Sound of Music, The (1965)

Director:  Robert Wise
Cast:  Julie AndrewsChristopher PlummerEleanor Parker
Plot:  A woman leaves an Austrian convent to become a governess to the children of a Naval officer widower.

Genre:  Biography / Drama / Family
Awards:  Won 5 Oscars - Best Picture, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Music Adaptation, Best Sound.  Nom. for 5 Oscars - Best Lead Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Costume Design.
Runtime:  174min
Rating:  PG

The Sound of Music opens with stunning aerial shots of the Austrian natural landscape. The camera then sweeps down and moves forward toward a speck that grows larger and larger to reveal…Maria (Julie Andrews), the lead character, running with unbridled joy on a grassy hilltop, and breaking into the title song with such gracefulness and confidence that it is impossible not to fall in love with her at once. 

This famous opening sequence sets the tone for the entire film, one of hopeful optimism, as director Robert Wise creates a near-perfect motion picture adaptation of the Broadway musical, together with original songs by Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II.

Written by Ernest Lehman (West Side Story, 1961; Hello, Dolly!, 1969), who adapts the material from Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse’s book of the same name, The Sound of Music tells the inspiring story of Maria, an assertive nun-to-be who is forced to leave her convent temporarily to become a governess to the seven children of Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer), a Naval officer and widower whose strict authoritarian rule has caused his children to lose their freedom and childhood. 

Maria’s arrival brings change to the lives of the children, and slowly thaws Von Trapp’s cold and cynical heart, mending his heartbreak of the last few years, and giving him a newfound purpose in life.

Winning five Oscars including one for Best Picture, The Sound of Music is set during the pre-Hitler years in Austria, and features some of the world’s best loved songs such as “Do Re Mi”, “My Favorite Things”, and “Edelweiss”. In fact, one of the most unforgettable moments in the film shows Plummer strumming on the guitar and singing “Edelweiss” to his eager children. 

Many of the songs are catchy and fun to sing along. More crucially, they are well-linked to the narrative, and with every repetition, they add a new layer of meaning to the emotions the characters face in the different stages of the film.

Andrews’ energetic performance is the heartbeat of this film. Without her, The Sound of Music would not have been half as successful. She acts and sings as if she was born for the role of Maria. Despite the long runtime, Wise’s picture is never at any point lackluster. 

Andrews’ likable screen persona and strong screen presence bring forth a high degree of engagement with the viewer. It is difficult to take your eyes off her whenever she appears on screen, and this is especially so when she is together with Plummer, who shares with her an intentionally awkward chemistry that provides the film with most of its humor and drama.

One may drown in the wonderful music and songs, but at its thematic core, The Sound of Music is a film that teaches us to stay true to ourselves, to know our identity, and to share the meaning of joy and living with others. If there ever was a great motion picture that everyone in the family could enjoy, you are looking at it. 

Perhaps the most memorable of dramatic musicals, The Sound of Music promises an entertaining, satisfying, and heartwarming three hours of cinematic goodness that year after year still remains thoroughly rewatchable.


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The Geeks said…
Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
thank you :)
Eternality Tan said…
Hi there, thank you. Hope you enjoyed the film as much as myself!

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