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The Sound Of Music

The Sound Of Music

By Patrick Samuel • April 15th, 2014
Static Mass Rating: 5/5
20th Century Fox

Original release: March 2nd, 1965
Running time: 174 minutes

Director: Robert Wise
Writers: Ernest Lehman, Howard Lindsay, Russel Crouse

Cast: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer

The Sound Of Music

It’s hard to say exactly when music came into the world, and it’s even harder to imagine a time when it didn’t exist. What would our lives be like today without it? There’d be no iTunes, advertisements would have no jingles and therefore no catchy lines with which to sell us things. Films would sound quite dull, we’d have nothing playing in the stores when we shop for clothes and restaurants would have only the sound of our chatter and cutlery on plates. But I make it sound like music today is all soulless and only about capitalism when in fact there’s still a lot to gain from the experience of it. For example; a melody, a note, a little beat and some rhythm can go a long way and a movie classic like The Sound Of Music still captures what’s great about it.

Set in 1938 and based on the memoir The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria von Trapp, as well as the 1959 stage play, the film introduces us to Maria (Julie Andrews), a young postulant at Nonnberg Abbey in Salzburg, Austria. Constantly getting into trouble with her superiors and disliked by her fellow nuns, everyone’s glad to see the back of her when she’s sent off to work as governess for a widowed Austrian naval captain Georg von Trapp’s (Christopher Plummer) wayward band of children. However, it’s not really her fault, though she’s inquisitive, creative, clever and obviously quite fun to be around, it’s clear she doesn’t belong at the dull abbey, but as soon as she arrives at the von Trapp estate, she sees she’s got her work cut out for her there as well.

Georg runs his household as he would one of his ships. Everything runs on a tight schedule and the most contact he has with the seven children (Liesel, Friedrich, Brigitta, Kurt, Louisa, Marta and Gretl) is when he blows his whistle to keep them in line. He even dresses them in identical sailor outfits. It’s hardly a house filled with love and it’s definitely missing a woman’s touch, despite Baroness Elsa Schraeder (Eleanor Parker), a wealthy socialite from Vienna, occasionally spending time with Georg.

The Sound Of Music

Though the children are hostile towards Maria at first, she breaks through their icy demeanours with a little bit of kindness, a lot of patience and of course, the sound of music. While Georg bans it from the house, Maria manages to teach the children the basics with songs such as My Favorite Things and Do-Re-Mi which never fails to get everyone who watches it singing along. When Georg hears his children singing for the first time, his cold heart starts to thaw and the von Trapp house comes alive as they sing Edelweiss and put on a puppet show with The Lonely Goatherd.

Other songs include the heartwarming and beautifully choreographed Sixteen Going on Seventeen, as well as the film’s signature song The Sound Of Music. Maria’s lively personality and talents (that also include clothes making, The Sound Of Musicbike riding and puppeteering), make her a huge hit, not just with the family, but across the world as The Sound Of Music went on to become one of the most celebrated musicals, but it’s story is also one that focuses on the rising fascism across Europe at that time.

Like many, I too saw The Sound Of Music when I was a child, but I wasn’t very fond of it. At almost three hours long I found it too long and boring with quite stretches where not much happens to move the story along or develop its one-dimensional yet all-singing characters. As the years went by I started to look at it more kindly though, if only for the fact that it stars the same actress as Mary Poppins (1964), but coming back to the idea of music and what it brings to our lives the film does contain some beautiful songs with music and lyrics by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. These are definitely pieces you wouldn’t hear today in modern musicals, not because there’s something especially wrong with today’s offerings, but because they belong specifically to a different time period that’s now long gone.

While it might not be for everyone, I can’t help but see its merits and what a fine example of filmmaking it is with its breathtaking cinematography (the sweeping shots over the Austrian Alps and Maria and the children sing is so recognizable in cinema history). There’s a little something in it for us all, even those who squirm at the idea of lengthy musicals and twitch at the thought of anything made in the 60s and set in the 30s. The Sound Of Music manages to soothe even us savage beasts, if only for a while.

The Sound Of Music

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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