“The hills are alive with the sound of music.”
This is the opening line sung by Julie Andrews as she spins across a high meadow in the Austrian Alps. Her character, Maria, is studying to be a nun – – – until the young acolyte is nudged by the Mother Abbess ever so gently out the convent door and on to another profession. As the singing governess to Captain Van Trapp’s seven children, she dances into the hearts of the children and the arms of their father. With their musical talents, Marie carries the youngest child over her mountains as the family escapes the Nazi incursion. Leaving the hills behind, the Van Trapp Family Singers move beyond their beloved homeland and sing their way into history.
The movie is the 1965 Hollywood blockbuster of the Broadway adaptation of the true story of the Von Trapp family. It was and is a blockbuster. The first run of the film played in theaters for four and a half years. In some cities, the number of tickets sold exceeded the population. After the first release, there were the re-releases, which have really never stopped. Within a year of its release in 1966, the Sound of Music had become the highest grossing film of the time, surpassing Gone with the Wind which held the top spot for twenty-four years. Today, The Sound of Music remains one of the top-earning movies ever produced, with an inflation-adjusted take of over $2.5 billion — not bad for a young nun, seven kids and a captain.
Our EthnoFamilyMovieOgraphy (EFMO) audience liked the show very much. So much so that the film’s after-movie survey evaluation of 9.57 out of 10 places it at #3 from the top in the list of the first 38 Oscar-winning Best Pictures.
One of the survey questions each EFMO viewer is asked to answer for that evening’s film is the following:
“Assume hypothetically that you are angry with a person and considering leaving the person out in the freezing cold on a bare hillside in the snow without food or water or retrieving the person to the comfort of a warm cabin. There are no consequences to your decision. Immediately after viewing this show, which way would this movie influence you to act? Circle one: LEAVE RETRIEVE”
Hooray for Marie and those beautiful singing children! No one circled LEAVE. A wonderful happy zero inhabits that column. This is the second week for this welcome result to occur. Last week, no one circled LEAVE for the lovely My Fair Lady. We have had the real pleasure of watching back-to-back two delightfully entertaining and easily appreciated shows. Of the 38 Best Pictures to date, only six have received goose eggs in the LEAVE column, and we have unanimously retrieved that poor shivering person on the hillside for two shows in a row.
“What was the short summary sentence for The Sound of Music?” you ask. Well, here it is:
“Almost everyone listed ‘music’ as their first ‘like’, and most liked everything about the film (the second most-liked-everything movie in a row after My Fair Lady the week before); with the music, some identified ‘story’ and ‘love’ as likes, reflecting the overall happy and uplifting nature of the show and lifting the movie the the #3 position of the 38 movies viewed to date.”
There you have it in a scant sixty-seven (67) words.
And the single word for the movie is?
Could there be another for The Sound of Music?
Thank you for listening and please consider watching.
This is one of the best films to walk down the aisle for its award.