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While many people agree that the Sound of Music is one of the best films of all time, some are at a loss to adequately explain why; they buckle under and admit that there are parts that are syrupy, etc. Well, I'll tell you why it's the best movie ever (and I DON'T agree that it's too syrupy). It simply has everything one could want in a movie. First of all, it has a REAL romance - one where you can watch the characters slowly fall in love. It's not like today's movies where two characters meet and the next scene is them waking up together. Secondly, it has humor. Not syrupy or corny humor, but very wry, dry tongue-in-cheek humor. For evidence, look at the quotes. Baronness Schraeder is especially well-done in this regard. Her comments simply drip with ice. "Good bye, Maria. I'm sure you'll make a fine nun." You want to smack her. Thirdly, it's got adventure. The Nazis are the ultimate villains in any movie - WWII was as clear a case of good vs. evil as you can find, making it great fodder for films - and so it's great to see Maria, the Captain and the kids outwit them. Fourthly, it's got great music. Fifthy, it's got great scenery. And the plot and dialogue are astounding. I find new things to admire each time I watch. Finally, is there a greater scene in any movie than the nuns revealing the stolen Nazi car parts??? "The Sound of Music" does not just succeed because it cheers people up with syrup or song. It succeeds because it is a wonderfully-constructed, wonderfully-written, wonderfully-acted, brilliant movie. For me, no other movie can compare. Not to be obsessed with it or anything. :)
Watching my Mother dancing and singing to the songs of "The Sound of Music"
at the age of five was incredibly disturbing. It was seven years before
anyone was able to sit me down in front of the T.V to the musical during the
annual telecast in Sydney. Almost to my horror, I was falling in love with
the musical. More than two years later, not a single movie has been able to
pass it in my favourite movies stakes.
I have made judgemental mistakes with great movies. Greats like "Casablanca", "The African Queen" and "The Wizard of Oz" have originally also been frowned upon.
"The Sound of Music" expanded my horizons on the movie world. I eventually went on to view non-musical classics as a result of this single movie, and now old classic movies have become a genuine passion.
Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote their greatest work in the form of their last musical, despite the fact it was "Carousel" that was their favourite. Although the changes made from the original stage production have now been evident in the arrival of the excellent musical currently playing in Sydney, much have been for the better. Throughout their career, the duo created immortal musicals, but in story, song and film, "The Sound of Music" surpasses "The King and I", "Oklahoma!", "Carousel" and "South Pacific" in all aspects.
We all know the story. We know of at least one of the immortal songs from the musical, "The Sound of Music", "My Favourite Things", "Do-Re-Mi" or "Edelweiss". Julie Andrews was believable and unforgettable as the sweet, outspoken novice nun turned governess, who should have taken out the oscar that year. Christopher Plummer was dashing as the Captain, and the supporting cast was one of the best I have ever seen. Fond memories have been remembered from some of the unforgettable sequences of this film that deservedly made it the best picture of 1965.
Yes, there are sugary elements in the movie that cannot be denied. But this movie has never been reliant upon sex, violence or drugs to make it one of the best things to come out of Hollywood. It can be appreciated truly for what it is, pure art, talent and spirit. It is not a real perception of the world nowadays, but for all the joy it brings, who cares?
It was the last movie I expected to love as a fourteen year old. It was also the first movie I watched in seven years that could manage to make me shed tears, and view it in loving admiration which cannot be equalled.
"Singin' In the Rain" is the only other contender to the title of "The greatest movie ever made". Whatever its flaws, "The Sound of Music" is one of the worlds best loved treasures which keeps bringing generations of viewers to its attention.
This film is a triumph in all departments. Every aspect, from the cinematography to the acting, the sets to the costumes, the music, choreography, script, is top notch. While the film is family friendly and has a sweet story, it is constantly amazing the way people attack it as saccharine and sugary. This can certainly be said of the stage show, but the movie version has been carefully produced to provide a more well-rounded vision. Ernest Lehman worked wonders with the underdeveloped and unremarkable dialogue of the play. He inserted so many moments of wit, humor, romance and poignancy that are nowhere in sight in the original. the art directors purposefully chose muted settings and colors. Each of the actors bent over backwards to provide a brilliant performance. Andrews is already down in history for the performance of a lifetime (and a voice to match), but Plummer is not to be forgotten. Not only is he regal and handsome, but his decision to play the Captain as a complex, sophisticated man with a sly dose of sarcasm was wonderful. His steely, stern persona is eventually melted down by the irrepressible Andrews to great effect. Every supporting performance is also delivered with the right amount of appeal, humor or menace as called for in the script. However, the one that takes the cake....that amazes each time, is the slinky, catty, toweringly glamorous Parker as Baroness Schraeder. Wisely, her songs were cut, further separating her from all the glee around her, so that she could whip out such zingers as "Why didn't you tell me....to bring along my harmonica?" or when she's told that Andrews may not make a great nun, "If you need anything, I'd be happy to help you." The character is given a much more polished and integral position in the film versus the stage and virtually every line of her dialogue (unlike in the play) is a howler. Though Wood was lovely in her role as the Mother Abbess, it was Parker who should have gotten an Oscar nod....and WON! Every expression, every syllable, every glance belies the decades of experience Parker gained as a leading lady during the 40's and 50's. Her clothes by Dorothy Jeakins are awe-inspiring. This type of film-making is GONE. The location photography, the simplicity of story and design, the sheer good-spiritedness of it all...they just can't do this anymore. Thankfully, there's this flawless gem to turn to when one just want to feel good. But saccharine? No..... Compare this to other beloved musicals with their garish colors and sugary story lines ("Seven Brides...", "Singin' in the Rain", "...Molly Brown", "The Music Man", to name just a few...) They are all highly enjoyable, but are hardly less sweet than this! Just one word.....Nazis!! Though virtually everyone knows the outcome, there is still genuine suspense at the climax of "The Sound of Music". The film has it all.
"The Happiest sound in all the world"? Quite possibly and easily the most famous musical film in Hollywood history. Most of us grown-ups still love it but at the same time we're also tired of seeing it over and over again (maybe that's why it's not rerun on NBC every single year anymore). Julie Andrews takes her MARY POPPINS success and adds even more to it with her delightful rendition of the role that Mary Martin originated on the Broadway stage in 1959 and ran even farther with it than Martin ever could. In my opinion, and I don't think I'm alone here, Martin was too old for the part (she was in her mid to late 40s in the stage version and Andrews was 30 when the transition came to film came around--a perfect age). As for the rest of the cast, it is just as talented: Christopher Plummer in the role he will be forever remembered for (even though he hated the part) is an achingly true Cap. Von Trapp with those "hidden talents" making subtle appearances throughout the film until blatantly bursting out into the open in the film's closing scenes; Richard Haydn makes for a comical and yet sincere "Uncle" Max, Peggy Wood is a starchy yet compassionate Reverand Mother and Charmian Carr as Liesl stands out as our perrenial favorite of the seven children. The locales are breathtaking as well (esp. the opening scenes which is probably the most beautiful aerial shot in all of film history and the cunning floral designs of the public Austrian gardens during the DO-RE-MI sequence). So let's all keep watching this most cherished of all musical films each year and never forget it's universal sentiment: to 'climb ev'ry mountain, ford ev'ry stream, follow ev'ry rainbow till you find your dream'.
This has to be the greatest musical of all time. An amazing musical score
and stunning choreography, no home should be without a copy of this
This musical is known by everybody and is suitable for all ages. A Happy family film with no sex, violence or bad language. The young actors playing the roles of the von Trapp children are amazing and Andrews gives a performance to be remembered for a lifetime as Maria, a young Nun who becomes a cheerful governess.
This is definately a family movie to be watched together on a Sunday Afternoon!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If "West Side Story" was the best musical film of the sixties, then
"The Sound of Music," adapted from the long-running Broadway musical
play about Maria Von Trapp and her singing family, was certainly the
With a story that includes the right amount of family sentiment (the Von Trapp children never quarrel among themselves), religion (in the Hollywood tradition of serene, kind nuns), romance (actually two romances, one adult, one adolescent), and anti-Nazi feeling (Captain Von Trapp refuses to surrender to the Nazi invaders)and with director Robert Wise who is in fact a solid, conscientious craftsman and a fluent story-teller mercifully free of grandiose pretensions, "The Sound of Music" is perfect with its sumptuous location photography, immaculate, fluid editing, and splendid tones
The film does have a justifiably famous opening: the camera sweeps over the Austrian Alps to catch Julie Andrews, as mischievous, warmhearted Maria, exultantly singing the title song as she rushes through the bright green valley It is an exhilarating moment that the film never really matches again, but there is plenty left in the remaining hours to please the legions of devotees...
There are unquestionably some enjoyable songs and musical numbers specially when the eldest Von Trapp daughter (Charmian Carr) meets her shy beau (Daniel Truhitte) in the family garden, he sings "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" to her, and they do a charming little dance around the gazebo Maria's music lesson to the children, "Do-Re-Mi," is beautifully staged, set over several days as they amble in and around Salzburg, changing their clothing through camera wizardry And perhaps the best of the songs is the simplest, "Edelweiss," with a tender lyric and poignant melody that make a fitting last song for Rodgers and Hammerstein
Another of the film's virtues is Julie Andrew's performance as Maria... She cuts through the thick sentiment with her own sharply honed blade of authority and self-confidence, implying that at least she will get through all the high corn without damaging her self-esteem... It works to balance the tight-lipped stodginess of Christopher Plummer as Captain Von Trapp, the "adorable" posturings of the children, and the artificial airs of Eleanor Parker as the haughty baroness...
Has Julie Andrews ever appeared on film more beautifully than in this film?
Has she ever sung with such richness and gusto as is captured here? As a big
fan of hers, I can watch this musical over and over and just
Wise and his cinematographer have photographed Andrews in a manner that no other director has--even her husband. Watch the scene where Maria watches the Captain sing Edelweiss with the kids. Wise turns her into a gauzy angel. It is a fantastic moment among hundreds that this movie contains.
I am firmly in a camp that says Julie Andrews was completely, utterly, and regrettably robbed when the 1965 Oscars were handed out. She embodied Maria Von Trapp, wholly and with every fiber of her being (just watch the scene in which she races the boys in a segment of "Do-Re-Mi"; she runs at the camera with utter abandon here, no holding back. Or consider the shot at the end of this song, where she places her hand atop her head--it's as if even SHE can't believe she's hitting that note).
The Julie Christie performance that beat Andrews is now all but forgotton. "The Sound of Music," however, lives on and on.
"The Sound of Music" is a bit bittersweet for me, given that audiences tastes would soon turn away from big-budget musicals in general and Julie Andrews specifically. But what a legacy it (and she) have left!
1965's "The Sound of Music" is everything a bad musical should be.
Providing more sap than a forest full of Vermont maples, it has coy, silly
songs, an inane, innocuous script, and unbelievably sugary characters. So
why is it one of my favorite musicals? OK, go ahead. Shoot me at twenty
paces. But after all this time, it still remains a guilty pleasure. I find
myself going for a tub of rocky road ice cream and Rodgers & Hammerstein's
immortal classic whenever the real world gets to be too much. I seem to
play it a lot around tax time.
And I'm not alone. Why is it still considered the most popular musical of all time? Well, first of all they spared no expense. The extremely well-produced blockbuster has gorgeous, eye-popping scenery. From the first moment Julie Andrews flails her arms and circles around on that beautiful sunny hillside singing the rousing title song, I know I'm being swept away to another world. I'm not in Kansas anymore...or L.A., anyway. The panoramic Salzburg background complements and never intimidates or takes away from the characters or their story (like the other R & H extravaganza "South Pacific.") That in itself is an incredible feat.
Now about those songs. Almost every one of them is absolute drivel. So what makes them work? Easy. The utter joy and sincerity of the cast who sings the infectious, hummable tunes, which are backed by extremely moving orchestrations and an exceptionally beautiful score. It's hard to resist Maria prancing about, pillow-fighting with a bunch of knee-highs and gushing about her most favorite things. Or the austere Captain Von Trapp (the meticulous Christopher Plummer) turning to butter after hearing his brood sing in perfect harmony for the first time (with no prior lessons even) and joining right in. Or the Mother Superior's soaring number that unknowingly forewarns Maria to head for the hills (I mean, mountains) before the Nazis escort them elsewhere. Or the 16-year-old going on 17 squealing with delight after receiving her first kiss. Or the kids working up a clever little ditty to leave their formal party guests when its time for bed. Or two people declaring their love in a moonlit gazebo. The songs work because they come straight from and aim for the heart, not the head, which is exactly the place the viewer should be coming from when watching this movie. If the songs don't transcend the script (which they didn't prior to the 70s), they certainly transcend the mood.
The script is undeniably trite and probably the film's weakest link. But again, the characters play it straight all the way. Not one actor looks embarrassed. Every scene is done with total enthusiasm and total commitment, and the performers who are telling the story are pitch-perfect and picture perfect.
And as for the characters. Try and think of anybody better than jubilant, crop-haired Julie Andrews as a postulant nun who has gorgeous pipes, can make play clothes out of curtains, can set up and operate marionette shows at the drop of a hat, and is confident enough to convince a man that a failed nun is ideal marriage material. I certainly can't. Thank heavens for her Oscar-winning "Mary Poppins" the year before or we might have gotten Julie LONDON instead! After all, Andrews did lose out on "My Fair Lady" the year before. But now certifiably bankable, she proved she could handle this dream role. Andrews is cutely silly, cutely stubborn, cutely astute, cutely shattered and cutely...well, cute. She gives the most wholesomely appealing musical perf since Judy Garland in "The Wizard of Oz." To actually make you forget Mary Martin in the Broadway role takes some doing and she does it effortlessly. Christopher Plummer is all seriousness, handsomely patrician, and quite a catch for anybody...much less a nun. I can't think of anyone more suitable for this role either. As for the Seven Little Foys, I mean the Von Trapp children, they are adorable and perfect in their own ways too, whether they are marching or singing, creating their own individual personalities by film's end.
Richard Haydn as Max and Eleanor Parker as the flamboyant, haughty Baroness provide wonderful catty relief. Despite having their musical numbers snatched away from them, they make up for it with droll, sophisticated humor. The elegant, perfectly coiffed Parker is particularly delicious as Maria's chief romantic rival, getting some of the film's best zingers and delivering them with biting understatement. Parker developed a devout cult following after this role. Peggy Wood's Mother Superior is suitably reverent and inspiring.
For those who tear "The Sound of Music" apart for its shameless, sugar-coated manipulations, well, I can respect that. But to attack it for its political and historical inaccuracies is like attacking "Peter Pan" for being a subversive plot that encourages young children to run away from home. It's ludicrous. Despite the fact that it's based on a true story, we're not watching "The Sound of Music" for stark realism. Like a sparkling and lavish Ernst Lubitsch operetta, we want a feel-good movie, with feel-good songs, with a feel-good story, and a feel-good ending. Nothing more. If you want a movie that presents a potent depiction of pre-war Austria or anti-Nazi sentiment, rent "Holocaust" or "Schindler's List." Here, we want to believe that a group of nuns can tear out an automobile carburetor and save the world! Period.
I suppose the reality-based MTV generation cannot truly respect or relate to the relative innocence and pure escapism like "The Sound of Music." If this movie was made today I'm afraid the Von Trapp children would not be dangling out of trees for fear of drive-by shooters. It's a tough new world today, sad to say. The 50s and 60s are looking better all the time.
Anyway, for what it's worth, "The Sound of Music" is indeed schmaltz, but its QUALITY schmaltz at its very, very best.
Let me confess I'm not a Catholic, I don't have children, I can't stand schmaltz and yet I love The Sound Of Music. I've tried to explain this to myself, let alone to others, without ever finding a satisfactory answer. Yesterday I sat to see it again with a group of kids who hadn't seen it before. They all loved it even the ones who loved Transporters. I asked them afterwards why did they loved it so much and a 12 year old boy's reply was: "It makes you feel alive" Wow, I thought, Wow! Of course, that's what I felt too and a 12 year old found the perfect words to express my feelings. Julie Andrews is a the center of this little miracle. She is Sister Maria and her wishes, thoughts and fears are recognizable automatically, because they are, in many ways, my same wishes, thoughts and fears. Perfect. Thank you.
One of my all-time favorite movies. It might be on the sweet side, but
sometimes that's just exactly what is needed. Anyway, there is Christopher
Plummer as the captain to balance out all that sweetness. I always thought
he had a great voice and terrific screen presence in this
Julie Andrews at her freshest and best...her singing is wonderful, the alps are wonderful, the songs are memorable, and the story line never gets boring.
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