A Sound of Music (1965)
Cast: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker
Director: Robert Wise
Synopsis: Set in 1930s Austria, The Sound of Music is the story of a young nun called Maria, who is struggling to fit into life in a convent. When a nearby household needs a governess, she is sent to look after the children of a widowed naval captain, Georg von Trapp. Her fun-loving nature and natural creativity soon infect the children and they learn to play and, of course, sing — in contrast to the stern upbringing their father would prefer. It becomes clear, first to the children and finally to Maria herself, that the Captain is really in love with her. Meanwhile, Nazism and the eventual occupation of Austria by Germany is casting a shadow over all their lives.
A Sound of Music is a classic Richard Rodgers’ and Oscar Hammerstein’s 1965 movie musical based off a true story of the Von Trapp Family. It is widely known as one of the most popular musicals of all time that was adapted from the 1959 Broadway musical which was based on the memoir The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria von Trapp. The film was produced and directed by Robert Wise and stars Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, and Eleanor Parker who all deliver outstanding performances.
The plot is based on Maria (Julie Andrews) a young nun. She is temporarily reassigned from her convent as a governess to the von Trapp family. Maria has a special touch with the once disobedient bunch and gets along very well with the children, encouraging music throughout the household. After a while working for the von Trapp family, Maria begins to develop feelings for Captain von Trapp who was engaged to a glamorous baroness. As to not complicate their situation Maria resigns and goes back to the Abbey. Because the children love Maria so much they insist she comes back to care for them. With the Baroness out of the picture, Maria and the Captain are able to confirm their love in the song “Something Good.”
Now the only obstacle to the family’s happiness is the fact that Nazi Germany has “absorbed” Austria into the Third Reich and the Captain has been re-commissioned into the German navy — a position he will never accept. The Captain wants nothing to do with Nazism, and begins to make plans to get his family out of Austria. Late at night, the von Trapp family tries to leave Austria, but are stopped by German soldiers waiting for them. They take shelter at a nearby abbey. Through both courage and faith the von Trapp family find a way to survive and the ending is a triumphant one.
The opening and closing scenes both set the stage for the cinematography of the film. The ridiculously breathtaking landscapes captivate you having you wanting to see more. The film opens up to Maria twirling around a beautiful hill and ends with the family escaping Austria and crossing the border. Both are such powerful portrayals of the ways cinematography has the power of enhancing a film. The movie was filmed in Salzburg, adding a dramatic Alpine setting which provides an amazing backdrop that Wise exploits and uses to his advantage.
This film itself is even more amazing than Maria’s character in that it manages to deal with all kinds of serious life issues, even the Nazi angle, without being offensive to younger viewers. The scariest content is the menacing, threatening nature of some of the Nazis; no one is actually killed or injured, and the ending is triumphant. The Sound of Music beautifully and eloquently captures the love and strength of a faithful family trying to protect themselves in a world of war. Whether it be the scenery, acting, themes, or score this film is able to blend it all together into an overall outstanding film. The 50th Anniversary was just last year, and hopefully it will stay prominent for another 50 years and more.