Sound of Music Revisited

I have probably seen the “Sound of Music” fifty times. My special affinity for this movie can be traced back to a birthday party I had as kindergartener in 1964, when my mom took some friends and me to see it on the big screen. Seeing my first movie with all of those mountains, music and story, proved to be a good first choice. We watched it yet again Sunday night with my kids and niece giving me a hard time. My niece watches a “A Muppet Christmas” every year for a similar reason, so she understands.

I was thinking on the various reasons beyond the obvious one (of Maria and the kids finding themselves) on why I love this movie so much. First, Maria is at heart a rebel. I adore the fact that she stands up for herself and what she will and will not do. “I will not answer to a whistle. Whistles are for dogs and not for children and certainly not for me,” she tells the Captain early on. Her rebellious nature is why she was sent to be a governess in the first place, and it made all the difference to the children and Captain von Trapp. And, herself.

Second, I greatly appreciate the sense of country that the Captain has for Austria and his utter disdain for the Nazis. His singing of “Edelweiss” twice during the movie are evidence of this love. Once when he shows his kids his love of country, music and them and once when he cannot complete the song at the competition. He also has a rebellious tendency as he is not about to succumb to the rule of the Nazis and join their navy.

Third, a father finding the love he lost for his children is probably the biggest reason. Here is a man who has lost his way after the death of his wife. I am somewhat reminded of the movie the “Secret Garden” which has a similar concept. Christopher Plummer, the actor, said he did not care for this role very much. Note, the actors did not care for Casablanca either and look how it is loved. Having seen the movie so many times and compared him to other roles he played, to me he is a key part of the movie and no one else could play the role as well.

Yet, Julie Andrews and the kids make the movie what it is. The music of Rodgers and Hammerstein is as good as it gets, but to hear Andrews and the kids sing the songs make it live. I have seen the play in a community theatre and while very good, the movie eclipses the play because of Andrews, Plummer and the kids. With that said, to me, “Climb Every Mountain” is the best song in the movie and is a great lesson for us all.

I would welcome your comments and thoughts. Do you feel the same about this movie? What movie resonates with you? And, happy holidays to all of you and safe travels.