One could reasonably make the case for movies one ought to see that came out this century. But there are SO many that I have never seen from the 20th Century that I don’t worry about the current stuff as much as I used to. Somehow, prior to this fall, I had NEVER seen The Sound of Music in its entirety. Oh, I’ve seen scenes, of course, but that’s not nearly the same thing.

It’s odd too, because my mother had the LP soundtrack going back to nearly when it was released in 1965. I’ve had the CD of same for at least a decade and a half, and I love it dearly. I have great affection for the Morning Hymn that the nuns sing early on, and it’s in my Top Five movie soundtracks ever, along with West Side Story and Fiddler on the Roof.

Still, I had not seen many of the songs in the context of the film. Is there a more stunning opening of a movie than the background of the Alps while Maria (Julie Andrews) sings the title song? I didn’t realize Maria’s outdoor excursion was going to get her in trouble back at the abbey.

I knew somewhat of the clash of child-raising styles between Captain von Trapp (Christopher Plummer), a Naval officer widower with seven children, and the free-spirited new nanny, Maria, but I’d miss many of the particulars, such as the whistle. Do-Re-Mi is shot all over Salzburg, and the extra disc for the 40th anniversary let me know that the city is now a destination for movie buffs, largely for that song.

Of course, Maria and the Captain end up together, but somehow I was totally unaware of the subplot involving the Baroness (Eleanor Parker) that briefly bring Maria back to the abbey. And bringing the movie to the intermission. Yes, it’s included on the disc, and we went to bed at that point to finish the movie it the next night, because it is a LONG film.

The real story of Maria and the Captain was compressed in time, and the escape from Austria after the Nazi appeasement was far easier in real life than in the cinematic version. The real family feels that the Captain in the film was far less flexible than the father they knew.

Other features of the extra disc featured the REAL story of the Von Trapp singers as they settle in Vermont and become an international sensation. It also contains a reunion of the seven then-child actors remembering the goofs they made here and there that ended up in the film, a misstep here, a fall there.

Seeing the movie has given me a greater appreciation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein score, which changed from the Broadway version that Mary Martin and others had commissioned. At least one song was dropped, and two new songs, I Have Confidence and Something Good, were added, written by Rodgers after Hammerstein died.

There’s going to be a LIVE version of the STAGE musical on NBC-TV December 5. I MUST watch.
***
A Complete Curmudgeon’s Guide To ‘The Sound Of Music’. On the other hand, a study suggests that Singing show tunes helps fight off dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

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