Oscars Challenge #39: The Sound of Music (1965) Movie Review
What is the musical out of all the musicals out there? A musical film so exquisite that its influence inspired other musicals from future generations. Even the songs are still being performed, heard, or sung today.
Look no further because no other musical film is so influential and essential than The Sound of Music. One that really stamped Julie Andrews' career as one of the legends.
I believe what's more astounding is that, more than anything, it is a war movie.
It follows the story of a young ecstatic nun trainee, Maria. Her lack of discipline raises concerns for other nuns. Mother Abbess, the head nun, sends her to the villa of a retired officer, Captain Georg von Trapp, to take care of his seven children. As soon as she arrives at the estate, she is greeted by the children, similar to how the military does their greetings. Maria, however, returns it with kindness and a good attitude. Soon, the children came to trust her.
While the Captain is away, Maria spends time with the children making clothes and traveling to the mountains to teach them to sing. When the Captain returns with the new Baroness, Elsa, he is disappointed to see the children's clothes and the activities that Maria taught them. He attempts to fire her, but after seeing his children sing for the Baroness, his heart softens, and he decides not to let Maria go.
Impressed by the children's singing, Max, one of the Captain's friends, wants them to participate and perform in the upcoming Salzburg Festival. The Captain disapproves because he doesn't want the children to sing in public. At a ballroom party organized at the estate, the Captain notices Maria teaching Kurt, one of the children, how to dance. His partners Maria and the two shared a very intimate moment. She ran away because she was confused about her feelings and his obligation to become a nun. The Baroness notices the Captain has feelings for Maria and hides in jealousy. Maria left and went to be with the nuns for seclusion.
Mother Abbess learned that Maria had left because of her feelings for the Captain. She encourages her to return to look for her purpose in life. She returns and learns that the Captain is engaged with the Baroness. She agrees to stay until they find a new one to replace her. The Baroness soon learns that the Captain still has feelings for Maria and calls off the engagement. She encourages him to express it to her, and the two get married.
The two spent their honeymoon in a distant country while Max registered the children for the festival without their father's consent. Meanwhile, the Third Reich annexed Austria just in time when the couple returned home. The Captain, being a formal officer, was ordered to report to the Nazi base in Germany. He strongly opposes the regime and decides that he and his family will leave Austria. During the night, they were caught by the military and insisted that the family attend the festival because their children would perform. The officers agreed and emphasized that they would come with him.
After the performance of the von Trapp family, just as soon as the winners were getting announced, they slipped away. They hid inside the shelter of the abbey where Mother Abbess hid them in a cemetery crypt. The family was able to escape using a getaway car, and as soon as the soldiers attempted to pursue them, the nuns had already sabotaged their ride. The movie ends when the family reaches the border of Switzerland, hoping to be safe and free.
First, this film's choice of music and lyrics is tremendous. I can't imagine how popular those songs were back in the day. What's more astounding is that you can still hear them from other movies, radios, or tv shows. I like that the songs portray the story as free, happy, and peaceful. When you combine it with Maria and the children's carefree personalities, it becomes so much more.
After watching the movie, several of its songs got stuck in my head, especially the Do-Re-Mi song. It's very unique and catchy.
I like the chemistry between The Captain and Maria. Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer did an incredible job portraying the two main characters. Not only do they sing beautifully, which goes without saying, but they also act very well. The von Trapp children are the ones that add the icing on the cake.
The story is quite okay. I like that it started very peacefully, but the second act picked it up while adding a touch of Nazi and war themes. For a musical, I think it's a pretty neat concept. The plot is also based on the von Trapp family, but they made many changes to the real one. So even though it has a nice touch of history and reality, I view this film as fictional. I don't hate it because what matters to me is how I enjoyed the movie, and in most cases, I really liked the film from start to finish.
The movie's legacy goes well and beyond. I can't imagine any musical films or plays today that aren't inspired by this monumental classic. You can't blame them because of how beautiful this masterpiece looks and sounds.
Despite receiving criticism for being corny and having upbeat songs but presenting a musical with bits of World War 2, I think that by the end of the day, what matters most is that you enjoy it. In my opinion, I enjoyed it even though musicals are not my thing. Will I recommend it? Definitely. I suggest that you add this to your list of must-watch and important movies on your list.
The 60s may have been the decade with the most Musical film winners in the Academy Awards, adding West Side Story (1961), My Fair Lady (1964), and Oliver! (1968), but I think The Sound of Music is of a different caliber.
A solid 4 out of 5 stars.