#298) The Sound of Music (1965) – Part 2!

sound_of_music_R73_original_film_art_spo_2000x

 

 

Previously on “#298) The Sound of Music (1965)”…

Other notes

  • Here’s the key to the longevity of “The Sound of Music”: All the songs had to be written simple enough to be sung by children ranging from 5 to 16, so all the music is easy to sing, and therefore effective earworms.
  • What is it you can’t face?
  • “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” is quite stirring, although it’s pretty obvious Mother Superior is dubbed. Peggy Wood was an accomplished singer in her early stage career, but at age 73 she was not up to the song’s higher notes, and studio singer Margery MacKay dubbed Wood. This may be the only part of the movie the live TV remake improved upon.
  • I also really like the film’s other simple, beautiful song: “Something Good”. It was written by Richard Rodgers alone (Hammerstein passed away in 1960) to replace the song “An Ordinary Couple”, and it’s stayed with the show ever since. Man, there really isn’t a clunker in this whole score.
  • “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?” is a weird choice to walk down the aisle to.
  • Though not mentioned in the film, Herr Zeller was promoted because Hitler’s best men were killed during the Ark of the Covenant incident.
  • You didn’t think the Nazi politics plotline would make a comeback in your lifetime, did you?
  • Does every song in this movie get a reprise?
  • All I need from this concert is one cutaway shot of Hitler in the audience, listening to the von Trapp’s with a single tear rolling down his cheek.
  • Richard Dawson: THAT’S who Max looks like!
  • And for those of you who found the love story and the kids too syrupy, please enjoy the suspenseful finale of our characters hiding from Nazis.
  • I didn’t delve into it here, but this movie takes some extreme liberties with the real von Trapp family’s story. I’ll get the ball rolling with the fact that Captain Georg von Trapp was 25 years older than Maria. And they married more for convenience than for love. Have fun trying to watch the movie now!

Legacy

  • “The Sound of Music” was a runaway hit and single-handedly saved 20th Century Fox from bankruptcy following the disaster that was 1963’s “Cleopatra”. Unfortunately Fox learned the wrong lesson, and doubled down on big-budget musicals. Titles such as “Doctor Dolittle”, “Hello, Dolly!” and “Star!” (Also with Julie Andrews) failed to match the success of “Sound”, and Fox had to wait until 1977 for “Star Wars” to save them again.
  • Austria doesn’t really care for “The Sound of Music” (they prefer the German “Trapp-Familie” films), but they know a cash cow when they see it, and there are several “Sound of Music” tours throughout Salzburg.
  • This is one of the rare movies that cost a film critic their job. Pauline Kael’s write-up of “the sugar-coated lie people seem to want to eat” led to her dismissal as McCall’s film critic. She landed at the New Yorker, where her legendary dislike of anything commercial continued for the next 20 years.
  • The film is so popular (and untouchable) that there has been only one Broadway revival of the stage version. Subsequent stage versions have altered the score to better reflect the film’s song list.
  • The only other American remake of “The Sound of Music” was a live TV broadcast in 2013. Hewing closer to the original stage version, this production starred Carrie Underwood and a bevy of Broadway actors doing their damnedest while Craig Zadan and Neil Meron worked out the kinks of live TV musicals.
  • A slight improvement came from the Brits, with their own live version on ITV two years later.
  • Back to the original film, that’s where this gif comes from!
  • “The Sound of Music” not only has generations of fans, but quite the cult following as well. Sing-along screenings of the movie started in London in 1999, and came stateside shortly thereafter. Audience members come dressed as their favorite characters, from Maria to the nuns, and even the hills themselves!
  • Every song from this film has become a standard. There are a lot of covers out there, but for now let’s single out Julia Louis-Dreyfus singing a duet of “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” with a surprise partner.
  • Remember that time the internet went insane when Lady Gaga sang “Sound of Music” at the Oscars? Good times.
  • Seth MacFarlane has spoofed “Sound of Music” several times over the years on “Family Guy”, and a quick parody was the rare bright spot in his misguided stint hosting the Oscars.
  • And like any family, the cast of “The Sound of Music” gets together every few years to reminisce about their time making the film. Even the especially critical Christopher Plummer has softened in his older age.

Further Viewing: The real Maria von Trapp made a special appearance on the short-lived ‘70s variety show “The Julie Andrews Hour”. I can’t find the clip of them singing “Edelweiss” together, but here they are yodeling.

Listen to This: The “Sound of Music” soundtrack was added to the National Recording Registry in 2018, and their write-up is far more loving than the NFR’s. For starters, they call the movie “a beloved, multi-generational cornerstone of American life”, and go on to praise Julie Andrews, orchestrator Irwin Kostal, and musical supervisor Saul Chaplin. The soundtrack gets not one, but two expanded essays.

And now, here are a few of My Favorite Things:

  • Pot stickers
  • Sunsets
  • Unapologetic puns
  • Being inside while it’s pouring rain
  • The “Price is Right” losing horn
  • Slow claps
  • Award show nominees who are visibly pissed when they lose
  • Disneyland during the school year
  • Thick crust pizza
  • The fact that Alex Trebek does not give a genuine damn about “Jeopardy” or its contestants
  • Friends you can pick up with after years of not seeing each other
  • Marc Shaiman parody lyrics
  • Christmas music (Yeah, I said it)
  • Trivial list making
  • Oh, and classic movies I guess

One thought on “#298) The Sound of Music (1965) – Part 2!”

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