My Favorite Movies #14 – The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music

1965

Directed by Robert Wise

Quick synopsis… Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical inspired this story of the governess who won the heart of the Von Trapp family and whose courage led them across the Alps in their 1938 flight to freedom.

  • Let’s start at the very beginning.
  • It’s a very good place to start.
  • Sorry… had to do it.
  • I’ve never been to Austria, but I imagine I would be super disappointed if the landscape around Salzburg weren’t as beautiful as it’s depicted as we fly in to catch Maria singing amongst the hills.
  • Yes, you may sing along.
  • What kind of ogre would I be if I didn’t allow my readers to sing along with “The Sound of Music.”
  • Your heart should want to sing every song it hears.
  • I always forget the lyrics, though.
  • I’m too busy concentrating on that part where Kurt comes in later with a high “ah-ah-ah-ah…”
  • That may not have made sense now, but if you’re watching along, you’ll get it later.
  • Is it redundant to say Julie Andrews is a good singer?
  • Probably…
  • Once she finishes the title song, the bells start ringing in the abbey and she’s reminded that she’s late for something.
  • She’s always late for everything… except for every meal.
  • How do you solve a problem like Maria?
  • If the Reverend Mother has anything to say about it, she’ll solve it by sending her to be the new governess for the seven (7!) Von Trapp children.
  • It’s clear that, though Maria’s intentions are good, she doesn’t belong in a convent.
  • So Maria sets out for the stately Von Trapp manor, just outside of Salzburg.
  • She doesn’t make a great first impression on the children’s widowed father, Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer).
  • The Captain then introduces Maria to all of his children, calling them down to the entrance hall with a whistle.
  • After the death of his wife, the retired naval officer began raising his kids as if they were aboard one of his ships.
  • The Captain expects Maria to maintain the same kind of discipline that he would maintain.
  • Which is probably why the last 11 governesses have failed.
  • I can never remember all of the children’s names off the top of my head.
  • It’s easier to know all of Snow White’s dwarfs.
  • Standing at attention, they introduce themselves when signaled by the Captain’s whistle… Liesl, Friedrich, Louisa, Kurt, Brigitta, Marta, and little Gretl.
  • They all look quite spiffy in their uniforms.
  • The Captain attempts to assign Maria her own signal with the whistle, but she refuses, saying whistles are for dogs.
  • Then, as the Captain goes to leave Maria with the kids, she whistles loudly, reminding him that he didn’t teach her his signal.
  • “You may call me Captain.”
  • Might be my favorite scene in the whole movie.
  • The older children begin giving Maria advice on how to be “the best governess” that she can be.
  • Gretl warns her not to listen to any of them.
  • They managed to sneak a toad into one her pockets as a welcoming gift.
  • At dinner, Maria is able to make the children feel guilty for the way they treated her… and most of them start to cry.
  • Dinner is interrupted when a telegram arrives for the Captain.
  • It’s delivered by young Rolfe, one of Hitler’s youth.
  • Liesl excuses herself as the Captain informs the children that he has to leave for Vienna the next day.
  • In the meantime, Liesl sneaks out to the back of the house to rendezvous with Rolfe.
  • I don’t think she knows he’s a Nazi.
  • I guess… technically… we don’t know that about him yet, either.
  • Knowing what I know about this kid, it keeps me from enjoying this “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” duet.
  • Because (spoiler alert) he’s a punk that sells out the entire family when they’re hiding in the abbey!
  • When I was a kid, I had such a crush on Liesl.
  • How disappointed was I when I found out, by that point, the actress who played her was actually in her late 40s?
  • Anyway… she kisses the Nazi and then sneaks into Maria’s bedroom so she doesn’t get caught coming in from the rain after dark.
  • But before the sneakiness, Frau Schmidt, the maid, comes to gossip about the Captain visiting Baroness Schraeder and how she thinks the Captain will marry the Baroness before the end of summer.
  • Maria thinks that’s great, so the kids will have a mother again… Frau Schmidt doesn’t say it, but her face tells us the Baroness isn’t exactly the motherly type.
  • Maria catches Liesl and wins points by telling her they can wash her dirty dress before morning so no one will suspect that she was with a boy.
  • One by one, the children all come to Maria’s room, frightened of the thunderstorm.
  • To calm their nerves, Maria teaches them to sing about their favorite things.
  • Why has this turned into a Christmas song, BTW?
  • The Captain interrupts the song and is upset that all the children are out of bed.
  • May I mention that the Captain has had three wardrobe changes since meeting Maria this afternoon?
  • And in his current attire, which almost looks like he could wear it to bed, he’s still wearing a necktie.
  • While the Captain’s away, Fraulein Maria and the Von Trapp children will play.
  • She teaches them basic music theory while they explore Salzburg.
  • Convenient that there are the same number of children as there are notes on the musical scale.
  • Is that the right terminology? I never took music theory.
  • All of this teaching of the children has a point…
  • Maria wants them to learn a song that they can sing for the Baroness when she arrives.
  • Soon after, the Captain does return with Baroness Schraeder and Max Detweiler.
  • The Captain and the Baroness seem to be having a lovely time and wedding bells may be in their future.
  • She discusses this with Max when they are momentarily left alone.
  • Rolfe comes by with a telegram for Max and seriously angers the Captain upon giving the Nazi salute.
  • I’ll say this for Captain Von Trapp, he’s a true patriot.
  • When the children return, the Captain is somewhat less than thrilled at the discovery that they have been off with Maria traipsing about Salzburg wearing the remnants of her old curtains.
  • He orders the children to go dry off, change clothes, and immediately return.
  • He’s embarrassed at their first meeting of the Baroness.
  • And he’s pissed with Maria.
  • Maria stands up to the Captain in regards to his lack of involvement with the children.
  • She’s so stern, he accidentally calls her “Captain.”
  • Might be my second favorite scene in the whole movie.
  • Then he fires her.
  • But he changes his mind when he hears his children’s voices singing for the Baroness inside the house.
  • The Captain joins them in song, suddenly remembering the joy that having music in the house can bring.
  • It’s very touching.
  • He has a change of heart and asks Maria not to leave.
  • Next, Maria and the kids put on a marionette show for the Captain, Baroness, and Max.
  • Max, an opportunist at heart, has decided he wants the Von Trapp children to headline his upcoming music festival.
  • However, the Captain refuses to permit his children to sing in public.
  • In spite of this, the children convince their father to sing them a song, “Edelweiss.”
  • It’s during this song that the Baroness begins to notice how Maria and the Captain look at one another.
  • Not the way an employee should look at her employer…
  • In an attempt to get the attention back on herself, the Baroness suggests that the Captain throw a party so he can introduce her to all his friends in Salzburg.
  • At the party, we first meet Herr Zeller, a Nazi sympathizer who is displeased with the display of the Austrian flag in the entrance hall.
  • On the outskirts of the party, Maria tries teaching Kurt how to dance.
  • But the Captain cuts in, much to the chagrin of the Baroness who walks out to see the clear chemistry developing between the two.
  • And Maria is clearly disturbed by these new feelings.
  • She plays it off and runs in with the children as they have a special song prepared to say good night to the guests.
  • Once the children have gone to bed, Max insists that Maria stay at the party as his guest.
  • Though she tries to get out of it, saying she’s not properly dressed.
  • The Baroness accompanies Maria to her room to help her find something appropriate to wear.
  • She’s aware of how uncomfortable Maria is regarding her feelings and the Captain’s apparent feelings.
  • Before Maria can dress for the party, she is convinced that she needs to remove herself from the equation so that the Captain can go on with his life and marry the Baroness.
  • Maria sneaks away from the party without so much as a so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, or a good bye.
  • And we see that the Baroness is quite the shrewd manipulator.
  • Remember when movies had intermissions?
  • That’s where we are now…
  • It should be noted that this movie is not quite as long as Avengers: Endgame and that movie didn’t have an intermission.
  • I think we should bring intermissions back.
  • Time passes and the Baroness attempts to play ball with the children.
  • She’s really not the motherly type.
  • She knows it.
  • The children know it.
  • Max asks the Baroness how she will manage when she really is their mother.
  • Her response is boarding school.
  • Max tries to get the kids to sing, but they’re too sad without Maria there.
  • They get the notes right, but the song sounds lifeless.
  • The Captain reminds the children that Maria left a note saying she missed her life at the abbey.
  • The children ask who their new governess will be, but he informs them that they won’t need another governess.
  • Because they’re going to have a new mother instead.
  • Each of the kids silently kisses their stepmother-to-be on the cheek by way of congratulations… they seem thrilled.
  • Then the children make their way to the abbey in an attempt to visit Maria.
  • They’re informed that Maria is in seclusion and won’t see anyone.
  • The Mother Abbess insists that Maria be brought to her to find out exactly what happened to bring her back to the abbey.
  • Maria explains that she wasn’t sent back… she left.
  • She was confused by her feelings for the Captain.
  • Maria feels guilty because she has spent so much time preparing to become a nun and now feels this love for the Captain.
  • “If you love this man, it doesn’t mean that you love God less.”
  • “Maria, these walls were not built to shut out problems, you have to face them.”
  • It’s the pep talk/song that Maria needed to hear.
  • When the children get back home, they’re late for dinner.
  • They make up a story about berry picking so as not to anger the Captain with the truth.
  • Then they try to cheer themselves up by singing “My Favorite Things” but it’s not working.
  • Until Maria runs up and joins in on the song.
  • The kids drop the bomb about their father’s pending wedding to the Baroness.
  • He comes out and has the children go inside for dinner, then asks Maria why she didn’t say good bye.
  • When the Captain asks if she’s back to stay, she says she’s only there until arrangements can be made for another governess.
  • That night, Maria goes for a walk alone.
  • The Captain watches from his balcony.
  • The Baroness joins him and he confesses that it isn’t going to work for them…
  • She handles it pretty gracefully, then forces him to face his true feelings for the would-be nun.
  • The Captain then joins Maria for a romantic duet.
  • In no time, they’re married and away on their honeymoon.
  • The honeymoon is cut short, however, when Nazi Germany annexes Austria.
  • Before they can return, Herr Zeller has his men hang the Nazi flag on the front of the house.
  • It’s super satisfying to see Captain Von Trapp pull it down and tear it in half.
  • The Captain receives orders via telegram telling him to report to a German Naval base and accept a commission into the German Navy.
  • He refuses to be used as a Nazi stooge and informs the children that they must escape Austria and find sanctuary in Switzerland.
  • As the family tries to secretly leave under the cover of night, they are stopped by the waiting Herr Zeller and a bunch of other Nazis.
  • To extend their chance of escape, they wind up performing in Max’s music festival.
  • When Zeller continues holding them up, Maria pleads with him, saying this night air isn’t good for the children’s voices.
  • …As they go to perform at an outdoor music festival.
  • After their performance, they are awarded first place, but they don’t return to receive their prize.
  • They hide in the abbey temporarily, but are outed by that punk Rolfe.
  • I hope he was put on the front lines during the war and taken down by a British soldier.
  • I don’t care how horrible that sounds, I have no sympathy for a Nazi.
  • Anyway, the family is able to escape with the use of a car that the abbey had on hand.
  • Also, with a little help from a few of the nuns who took the liberty to remove key components from the Nazis’ vehicles.
  • They confess this as a sin to the Mother Abbess, showing her the car parts.
  • Might be my third favorite scene in the whole movie.
  • The car from the abbey doesn’t last too long, but the Von Trapp family is able to cross the Alps into Switzerland on foot.
  • Eventually, they made their way to the United States, where they opened a ski resort and lived happily ever after.

That one was even longer than last week’s. Next week’s movie is another classic, but is nowhere near the length of this one. It’s generally reserved for Christmas, but is good enough it can be enjoyed all year.

One thought on “My Favorite Movies #14 – The Sound of Music

  1. Pingback: My Top 100 Movies | The Confusing Middle

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