The Sound of Music

"Excellent"

The Sound of Music Review


The Sound of Music... well, what can I say? And why should I bother? If any movie were ever critic-proof, it's this one. In fact, famed critic Pauline Kael was fired for daring to write a bad review of it when it first came out. Julie Andrews sure worked her mojo on that one.

Funny thing is: The Sound of Music doesn't need protection from critics. Yes, it's schmaltzy, but it's not nearly as schmaltzy as, say, Titanic. Yes it has all those adorable kids and all those adorable songs and even a cute puppet show stuck right in the middle of it, but it also has grit, drama, and some harrowing moments. Hell, it's got Nazis racing around in big black cars! It is a total cinematic experience, and one that benefits greatly from technological advances that let you enjoy its lavish sights and sounds on a big TV screen with big surround speakers that make it feel like Julie Andrews is embracing your or the Nazis are sneaking up on you from behind.

Forty years after its release, and almost 50 years after the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical premiered on Broadway, the story is very familiar: a rich Austrian widower who happens to be a former Navy captain needs a governess to tend to his seven children. He requests one from the nearby Salzburg convent, and they're only too happy to send him young Maria, a novice who doesn't readily obey all the strict rules of nunhood. Maria is terrified of the officious captain and appalled by the militaristic and loveless techniques he uses to keep his brood in line. With love and music she wins over the children and eventually the captain, too. She leaves the religious life behind, steals the captain away from his girlfriend, the bitchy Baroness (Eleanor Parker), and the two marry, only to find that the Nazis have arrived in Austria, and they want the Captain to go back to sea for them. How will he protect his new wife and his family from this terrible new reality?

There's a song for every twist in the story, and many of them are sung on location in remarkable Austrians settings. The decision to film on location was pivotal to The Sound of Music's success. Even if you hate the movie, you'll have to admit that it is simply gorgeous, no more so than in its opening minutes, when the overture is accompanied by aerial views of mountains and castles, all of which lead up to that iconic image of Maria spinning in the fields, her arms outstretched. Corny, maybe, but you'll note that your heart rate increases just a bit as you watch.

The "Do Re Mi" number, filmed all over Salzburg, is a musical and technical triumph as well, and when the Mother Abbess lets loose with "Climb Every Mountain," you may just lose it. Other moments aren't quite as transcendent. Christopher Plummer was clearly hired for his patrician bearing, not for his singing voice, and Charmain Carr, who plays the oldest child, Leisl, is a bit much to take as she sings of her love for her dancing Nazi boyfriend, Rolfe, in "Sixteen Going on Seventeen." (It should be noted, however, that some voices were dubbed.)

There's never a boring moment in the film's three-hour running time, and the final act, when the family, now known as The Von Trapp Family Singers, are plotting their escape from the Nazis, is actually tremendously exciting. Can Maria keep all seven kids quiet as they hide behind spooky tombstones in the abbey graveyard? This bit is so harrowing that it may be too much for young children, but fortunately, it all works out. Did you really think a bunch of mean old Nazis could keep the angelic Julie Andrews from spreading her music and love?

And it brings us back to D'oh!



The Sound of Music

Facts and Figures

Genre: Musical

Run time: 174 mins

In Theaters: Monday 29th March 1965

Box Office Worldwide: $163.2M

Budget: $8.2M

Distributed by: 20th Century-Fox

Production compaines: 20th Century Fox, Robert Wise Productions, Argyle Enterprises

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Fresh: 47 Rotten: 8

IMDB: 8.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Maria, as Captain Von Trapp, as The Baroness, as Max Detweiler, Peggy Wood as Mother Abbess, Charmian Carr as Liesl, as Sister Margareta, Portia Nelson as Sister Berthe, Heather Menzies as Louisa, as Friedrich, Duane Chase as Kurt, Angela Cartwright as Brigitta, Debbie Turner as Marta, Kym Kareth as Gretl, Ben Wright as Herr Zeller, Norma Varden as Frau Schmidt, Marni Nixon as Sister Sophia, Evadne Baker as Sister Bernice, as Baroness Ebberfield, Gilchrist Stuart as Franz, Daniel Truhitte as Rolfe

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

With virtually the same blend of wit and idiocy as the 2001 original, this fashion-scene...

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love) reteams with Tilda Swinton for this fresh, tricky...

Deadpool Movie Review

Deadpool Movie Review

Both the filmmakers and the characters on-screen are so pleased with themselves that this might...

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

Advertisement
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.