Golden Oldies #5: The Sound of Music (1965)

Click here to read about Uncle Max & The Baroness in The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music is a very famous film, and probably one that a lot of people have already seen. The film is a mixture of a classic, a musical, a family film and a Christmas film (well, it is shown on TV every Christmas) and also with a bit of history thrown in there aswell – there are Nazis in the film too!

Originally a Broadway musical, this 1965 film stars Julie Andrews as the unruly nun Maria, who is sent to be a governess in a nearby home to seven children. Their widowed father, Captain Von Trapp, played by Christopher Plummer, is strict and often away with his naval duties. Maria brings joy and singing back into the house, whilst Maria and the Captain find themselves becoming more drawn to each other. As Nazism begins to take over Austria, the Captain fears he will be forced to take a position in the German Navy, and a plan to leave Austria is set in motion.

Reading this synopsis of the film, you would be forgiven if you felt that it sounds like one of the cheesiest films ever made – and in some ways, you would be right. Christopher Plummer, in many recent years, has labelled the film ‘the sound of mucus’. However, his brilliant acting ability cannot be denied, and I would say the film is made all the more interesting by his character and acting. Julie Andrews similarly is also excellent in the film, and after her Oscar winning portrayal of Mary Poppins in 1964, taking on a film a year later where, again, she is entrusted with the care of children with a distant father, you could think it was the same role. However, she plays the role in both films very differently, that Maria in The Sound of Music is not the same as Mary Poppins at all.

The supporting cast, including Eleanor Parker as the Baroness, Richard Haydn as Uncle Max and Peggy Wood as Mother Abbess, are also excellent in bringing more to the film than it just being family orientated. Although none of the seven actors playing the von Trapp children became massively famous as adult stars, they also bring their own qualities and personality to the film, making it about more than just Maria and the Captain.

The songs in the film are very catchy, and after watching, you may be singing ‘I am sixteen, going on seventeen’ for days to come! The scenery in the film is also very beautiful, with some amazing views of Salzburg and Austria behind every scene. The film is not entirely accurate (but what film based on true events is?) – one of the von Trapp children later said that, in contrast to the film, their father was warm and loving, whilst Maria was prone to violent rage and anger. Most of the real events of this film also took place in the 1920s, and not the 1930s as depicted. But facts such as this can be over-looked.

Although The Sound of Music is, undeniably, quite a cheesy film, it certainly is a Golden Oldie and has been an American classic for years already. It is reportedly the second most watched film ever, just behind Gone with the Wind. The Sound of Music is a feel-good film that you can put on and enjoy, and it looks set to stay a Golden Oldie for many more years.

Published 31st March 2014

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About writingsuzanne

History graduate. Freelance writer and reviewer. Passionate about film, theatre and music (film soundtracks!).
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One Response to Golden Oldies #5: The Sound of Music (1965)

  1. Pingback: The Sound of Music: Uncle Max & The Baroness | Writing Suzanne

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