A Movie A Day: Quint finally sees THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965) Do, a deer, a female deer. Re, a drop of golden sun...
Published at: June 26, 2008, 1:31 a.m. CST by quint
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day.
[For those now joining us, A Movie A Day is my attempt at filling in gaps in my film knowledge. My DVD collection is thousands strong, many of them films I haven’t seen yet, but picked up as I scoured used DVD stores. Each day I’ll pull a previously unseen film from my collection and discuss it here. Each movie will have some sort of connection to the one before it, be it cast or crew member.]
So, yeah. I’ve finally seen it. I was talking to my mother the other night and even she was surprised I hadn’t seen THE SOUND OF MUSIC. But now I have joined the majority of film-goers out there and have plugged a rather sizable hole in my film knowledge.
And I was absolutely floored by the movie. It practically dares you to watch it with even a sliver of cynicism. The film radiates good vibes, happiness and sunshine.
Or maybe that’s just me being head over heels in love with Julie Andrews. Honestly… early to mid-1960s Julie Andrews is my ideal woman. Her beautiful blue eyes, that accent, her adorable face, her voice that makes me all warm inside. She just radiates goodness.
When I was very young my Grandmother tried to teach me how to play piano, but I didn’t have the dedication to practice. I wish I had, I’d love to play piano today and I constantly consider taking lessons… but out of her songbook, she’d always play and sing Do-Re-Mi. I knew it came from this movie, but the nostalgia the song has for me is powerful and strong.
I was all smiles watching this flick. I was a little worried about the long running time going in, but when the intermission came up I thought there was a mistake and I leaned on the DVD remote, skipping chapters. The first half of the movie is effortless and is my favorite part of the film.
The brakes are applied a bit once Maria (Andrews) is scared out of the Von Trapp’s mansion by her feelings towards Captain Von Trapp (and his feelings towards her) and the Nazi’s taking over Austria feels like a completely different movie all together, but by that time I was in love with Maria and pulling for her and the Von Trapp children to escape the evil Nazis, so I rolled with it.
I had heard a lot about this film over the years, but one thing that isn’t mentioned very often is just how great Christopher Plummer is as the tight-ass family head who has to learn how to relax, sing and love his children again.
He gives the most nuanced performance of the picture, having the broadest arc of all the characters. It’s impossible to take your eyes off of him every time he’s onscreen. Plummer is imposing, but even from the first moment you see him you know he’s a sad man, an almost tragic figure… he would be a tragic figure if Maria hadn’t come in to his life when she did.
Richard Haydn also keeps things light and funny as Uncle Max. He is definitely the comic relief, always there with a smart-ass remark. Today’s subhead is one of his lines.
Also look out for a colder turn from previous AMAD star Eleanor Parker (from A Hole In The Head with Frank Sinatra) as The Baroness who is also in love with The Captain and watches as her man falls for Andrews.
EAST OF EDEN and THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE’s Ted McCord’s photography is vibrant, giving off just as much warmth as the performances and writing. You can definitely see the influence this had on Peter Jackson, especially with the helicopter shots, in The Lord of the Rings.
Another bit of influence… It really struck me during the Captain and Maria’s scene in the gazebo just how much Paul Thomas Anderson… borrowed… from the framing and lighting for the Punch Drunk Love poster.
It’s also great how much location shooting was done, really opening up the world.
Some surprises for me:
The puppet sequence… both creepy and adorable. Totally unexpected.
Mary Poppins is one of my favorite movies and it was a pleasant surprise to see that THE SOUND OF MUSIC is very much a spiritual sibling to Mary Poppins. Andrews plays a similar character… without the magic and a little more innocent than Ms. Poppins.
This awesome bit of trivia from IMDb: ‘According to the British tabloid The Sun, the movie was selected by BBC executives as one to be broadcast after a nuclear strike, to improve the morale of survivors. The BBC did not confirm or deny the story, saying, "This is a security issue so we cannot comment".’
Penny from the original LOST IN SPACE TV show is one of the Von Trapp kids.
To name a few.
This film immediately registered with me, having me smiling the whole way. It’s a feel good movie and now joins a select few that I have waiting to cheer me up if I find myself upset or stressed. There are some movies I have that instantly make me feel good… on the surface they couldn’t be more different, but The Sound Of Music joins THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, THE BIG LEBOWSKI, RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and MARY POPPINS as movies that instantly put me in a happy place.
I’m so very glad I’ve finally seen this and that it wasn’t a disappointing experience (like when I eagerly watched GONE WITH THE WIND, sure it was going to live up to being the great cinema it was supposed to be and just found myself watching a story filled with assholes I couldn't care less about while being bored out of my mind.).
The schedule for the next 7 days is:
Thursday, June 26th: TORN CURTAIN (1966)
Friday, June 27th: THE LEFT HANDED GUN (1958)
Saturday, June 28th: CALIGULA (1980)
Sunday, June 29th: THE ELEPHANT MAN (1980)
Monday, June 30th: THE GOOD FATHER (1987)
Tuesday, July 1st: SHOCK TREATMENT (1981)
Wednesday, July 2nd: FLASHBACK (1990)
Tomorrow we follow over to Alfred Hitchcock’s TORN CURTAIN with my new girlfriend, 1960’s Julie Andrews. See you folks then.