Saturday, May 16, 2015

National Classic Movie Day ~ Sound of Music

This post is part of the My Favorite Classic Movie Blogathon in celebration of National Classic Movie Day (May 16th). Click here to view the schedule listing all the great posts in this blogathon.
 
I have a confession to make. The Sound of Music (1965) is not my absolute number one favorite movie. On most days that honor goes to Casablanca (1942). When it came to selecting a film to celebrate National Classic Movie Day, though, I wanted to go with a movie favorite that embodied the sentiment of the holiday: one that profoundly affected my life. For me, that movie is The Sound of Music.

~Theatrical Poster - Source~

Now I know a lot has been written about Sound of Music because of its recent 50th anniversary. I don't want to bore you by rehashing information that has already been narrated far better than I could ever write. Instead, this is a purely personal post about how a movie has touched my heart through the years.

My mom recorded Sound of Music on VHS when my brothers and I were kids. It was the perfect family film. Because of the age range of the von Trapp children, year after year we had someone new with whom to identify. There were love stories for young (Liesl and Rolfe) and old (Maria and the Captain), action for the boys (the Captain versus the Nazis), and songs for all. We laughed together--sometimes at parts that were not intended to be funny (in particular, we thought the oldest von Trapp boy's facial expressions were hilarious). My brothers and I watched the movie so many times that whenever I watch the film today, I still half-expect a fuzzy line to roll across the screen where the tape had been stopped to edit out commercials.

"Sixteen Going on Seventeen"
The songs in Sound of Music became the soundtrack to my life. In grade school, our choir teacher used "Do-Re-Mi" to teach us the musical scale of notes. When twelve or thirteen, I went around the house singing "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" because I had a crush on a boy a year older than me. The song remains a favorite of mine not only for sentimental reasons, but also for the fabulous dance routine in the gazebo. (Come to think of it, this could be where my love of gazebos originated.) For those rough teenage years of feeling restless and out of place, "Maria" described how I viewed myself: a big contradiction. In young adulthood I hummed "I Have Confidence" during each new move and endeavor, and "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" continues to be an inspiration for every new adventure on which I embark. I expect "Edelweiss" will take on its own significance as I age, a final farewell song as it was for Hammerstein when he wrote it.*

*For those who don't know, Hammerstein was dying of cancer when he wrote "Edelweiss."

In addition to familial bonding and songs, I could relate to Sound of Music in a way I could not with other films. Here was a positive image of my religion and more importantly, of strong Catholic women. 
Mother Superior (Peggy Wood)
The nuns looked like the nun doll my dad had given me. His deepest wish was that I should become a nun someday, and on the screen was the process of how this was accomplished--along with the counterargument that not everyone was cut out for religious life! I also related to Maria's great love of nature. Like Maria, I found inspiration in the beauty of a mountain, meadow, and rose. Chills ran down my spine every time that wide shot of the mountain zoomed in on Maria as she belted out "The Hills are Alive"  (which, having attended the 50th anniversary viewing, is even more amazing on the large screen).

Finally, Sound of Music was the first movie that inspired me to go to the library and do research. I was twelve and discovered that the film was based on real people. I wanted to know more, so I checked out a book about Maria von Trapp. I can't remember the title of the biography, but it ignited a burning desire to learn as much as I could about the films I watched. It has taken years to get to this point, writing a classic movie blog, but it has been a rewarding journey, and I owe much of it to The Sound of Music

11 comments:

  1. I love hearing how film fans grew to love a particular movie! I saw THE SOUND OF MUSIC when it was originally released. Initially, I was hesitant to go see it...but it played at a theatre in my hometown for almost a year! Around the time it was "held over for the 48th week," I decided to see it and then left wondering why I had waited so long. The recent "live TV" version recently reminded me just how good the original film was!

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    1. I hear ya on the recent "live TV" version! I appreciated their effort, but it's hard to live up to the original's perfection. Thank you for stopping by. =)

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  2. Hi, I enjoyed your post! I couldn't attend the big-screen showing, but I did purchase the 50th anniversary Blu Ray and can't wait to watch it again as well as the new special feature documentary. My mom wanted to be a nun at one point in her life and loved movies about them, especially The Nun's Story which was one of her favorites. Did you watch the live TV version a few years ago? What did you think of it? I really enjoyed that version, too - it was basically the broadway version with additional songs, which I never heard before, and it was fun. But nothing can really compare to the movie, of course! - Tom

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    1. I watched the live TV version but didn't like it as well as the film. I think part of the problem was the stage acting didn't translate well to TV. The movements and gestures seemed exaggerated--a necessity when you're performing on the stage but not on the small screen.

      Thank you for your kind comments.

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    2. BTW - I have never seen The Nun's Story. Need to check that one out! =)

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  3. Great review! I love reading about how different people discovered or fell in love with classic movies! How great that this film inspired you to head to the library as a kid and do some research! Thanks for a fun read.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the post. I'm lucky my mom believed in her children having library cards at a young age. Love the smell of library books! =)

      Thank you for stopping by.

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  4. I didn't realize Oscar Hammerstein was dying of cancer when he wrote "Edelweiss". No wonder that song is so touching and haunting.

    This is a wonderful tribute to The Sound of Music. Thank you for sharing these experiences.

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    1. Yes, I thought the same thing when I found out that piece of trivia. Brings a tear whenever I hear the song. Thank you for your kind words.

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  5. When I was a kid I watched this (and South Pacific) over and over. I was word perfect (probably still am) and I wanted to be just like Liesl. I even wanted one of those dresses...! Loved reading this post - it was a great trip down memory lane!

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    1. Me too--love that lavender dress!!! Thank you for stopping by!

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