Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Sound of Music - Movie

The other day we watched 'The Sound of Music' at home - a memory we wished to share with Anjali. She watched a few parts, liked the puppet show immensely, and watched it again, liked a few songs and started humming 'Do, re, me...' which she sings really loudly in all public places. For the rest of us at home, it was a fantastic visit down memory lane. We had watched the movie when we were really young, in the early 1970s, at Vijayawada possibly. Much after we saw the movie the memories stayed imprinted on us of a Julie Andrews sprinting along with a guitar, the seven children behind her and a handsome Christopher Plummer looking on, from the cover of an LP record that stayed with us for many years providing us great music and more happy memories as children. For almost everyone of that generation the movie evokes the same reaction and it was with a renewed wonder that I watched the movie again. How a movie made about a family in Austria could capture the imagination of so many of us in a setting so far removed amazes me. But this time I got the general drift of the movie, far better than in the early 70s when I was probably five or six.

Maria is some kind of a trainee at a nunnery in Austria and a mischievous one at that. She is sent as a governess to the house of the von Trapps, to take care of the widowed Captain von Trapp's seven mischievous children at their palatial mansion beside a picturesque lake. She notices that the captain has carried his military methods home and treats his children more in the manner of soldiers in an army. Maria will stand for none of that and goes her own way with the children, who after troubling her initially, warm up to her simple and happy ways. And so they go on singing, dancing, having fun and bonding as the family had never done before, while the Captain is away in Vienna, meeting a baroness friend whom he fancies marrying.

On his return Captain von Trapp finds that his children are hanging by the trees, wearing new clothes made from curtain drapes, singing songs, boating in the lake and doing other such fun and forbidden activities and asks Maria to leave. But before she goes, the children give a great singing performance to entertain the baroness and the Captain changes his mind and asks her to stay. And so develops a nice little romance that the baroness watches with apprehension. At the ball, Captain and Maria, share a dance that gets the baroness worried and she asks Maria to leave. Maria goes. Captain soon realises that the baroness is not the one for him and requests Maria to come back and marry him and she does. The movie comes to an end as the Germans attach Austria and the Captain is requested to join the German Navy. The Captain does not share the Nazi philosophy and plans to escape. The von Trapp family uses a singing performance at a music festival to make good their escape and flee the German soldiers into Switzerland.

The movie made in 1965, is based on a Broadway musical of the same name. It is the third highest grosser in all time inflation adjusted box office hits with $1.046 billion (behind Gone with the Wind and Star Wars) and got five Academy awards. The songs are highly popular and we were all singing along with "I have confidence in me", "How do you solve a problem like Maria", "I am sixteen, going on seventeen", "Edelweiss" and more. Unlike some childhood illusions that shatter when you watch them again after many years 'The Sound of Music' touched the same chord again and in fact left me wondering at how they created such a lovely, layered, happy movie. I watched it again and again and did not get bored. Great stuff.

No comments: