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Thursday, August 05, 2021

Hollywood Rewind | The Sound of Music: Julie Andrews still manages to make hearts sing

Looking her loveliest in the plainest of clothes, Julie Andrews shines as the young Maria, who cannot help but spread a bit of cheer and curiosity wherever she goes.

Written by Anvita Singh | New Delhi |
Updated: July 4, 2021 12:48:37 pm
hollywood rewindThe Sound of Music released in 1965. (Photo: 20th Century Fox)

It might be hard to believe, but the evergreen (and admittedly corny) movie, The Sound of Music, is based on a true story. The film was adapted from Maria Von Trapp’s memoir called The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. After five decades and a half, most films end up looking familiar, but only a few exude the sheer joy that this Robert Wise directorial does. Despite the time and setting of the movie, the Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer movie has a timeless, charming vibe about it, so much so that even years later, it is difficult to not be enchanted by their theatrics.

Oh, and the songs! Lovely and boundless and folksy too (think Edelweiss). But we are getting ahead of ourselves. First, to the plot. The narrative is set in Austria and centres around a tomboyish, impulsive and enthusiastic 18-year-old Maria. Though many tried to ‘tame’ her at the Nonnberg Abbey, Maria could not be contained — always bursting forth with ideas and music. To make a responsible adult out of her, she is sent to be the governess to seven children of a retired naval officer called Captain Georg Von Trapp (a debonair Christopher Plummer). However, Maria’s unorthodox ways soon capture the attention of the Captain. And the rest of the plot takes off from there.

Predictable to the T, The Sound of Music makes up with its infectious energy what it lacks in the novelty department. The story comes ‘alive’ (pun intended) thanks to a well-cast group of actors, including the child actors who do their part convincingly. But to no one’s surprise, it is Plummer and Andrews’ stupendous leading acts that anchor this all-too-familiar story. The notions of one’s independence, and of exploring familial relationships deeply are to be admired. And when these subjects are brought forth on screen with Julie Andrews’ vivacity, the ride becomes all the more entertaining. Looking her loveliest in the plainest of clothes, Julie shines as the young Maria, who cannot help but spread a bit of cheer and curiosity wherever she goes.

Hollywood Rewind: Benny and Joon | Crimson Peak | The Holiday | My Blueberry Nights | The Help | Mission Impossible | Chef | Revolutionary Road | I’m Not There | Donnie Brasco | Sicario | Edge of Tomorrow | Spy Kids | 1998’s Godzilla | The Others | Phone Booth | Wild | Scream | The Godfather Part II | One Fine Day | True Romance | Little Women | Face-off | Pulp Fiction | Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon | The Age of Innocence | Mean Girls | Die HardNever Been Kissed | Citizen Kane | Kill Bill Volume I | Terminator 2 Judgment Day | Titanic | Heat | Home Alone | Jerry Maguire | Brief Encounter | The Truman Show | The Deer Hunter | The Shining | Clueless | Ferris Bueller’s Day Off | Blue Velvet | Taxi Driver | The Lord of the Rings I | Zero Dark Thirty | The Godfather | Say Anything | Warm Bodies | Bright Star | Malcolm X | Stardust | Red Eye | Notting Hill | FargoThe Virgin Suicides | The Breakfast Club | Enchanted | Walk the Line | Blood Diamond | Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban | Mortal Kombat | Bridges of Madison County | Edward Scissorhands | Breakfast at Tiffany’s | She’s Gotta Have It | Ever After | The Devil Wears Prada | The Matrix | Creed | Mulan | Ratatouille | Shutter Island | Her | Dead Poets Society | Sleepless in Seattle | Waitress | Pride and Prejudice | The Dark Knight | Before Sunset | School of Rock | About a Boy | A Few Good Men | 50/50 | Begin Again | Brooklyn | Drive | Chocolat | Batman Begins | 10 Things I Hate About You | The Departed | Freedom Writers | Pretty Woman | Dan in Real Life | Jurassic Park | TangledMeet Joe Black | Monster’s Ball | Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind | You’ve Got Mail | Half Nelson | Fight Club | Doubt | American Psycho | Julie and Julia | Forrest Gump | The Silence of the Lambs | Finding Neverland | Roman Holiday| American History X | Tropic Thunder | Before Sunrise | Scent of a Woman | Finding Forrester | Sixteen Candles

Not only well-acted, The Sound of Music is a well-filmed movie too. Take, for instance, its opening sequence — that wide opening shot of Maria running among the greens of a meadow, surrounded by ice-blue mountains on either side. Frolicking and spinning at the very centre, the camera then zooms in on Julie, who takes her viewers with her on a small journey into the picturesque locales of Salzburg. That now iconic shot of Andrews with her arms outstretched, as if embracing nature, was shot with the help of a big helicopter.

“That opening shot really is the quintessential picture poster shot. We had a terrible difficulty shooting that scene. That shot was filmed with me walking across the field from one end, and a helicopter coming down from the tree on the other end. There was a cameraman hanging onto the side of the helicopter to shoot me. But every time the helicopter left for its base (the scene was done many times), I would be completely flattened to the ground because of its downdraft,” Andrews had said during an earlier recording for the American Film Institute. And thanks to her willingness to be pushed to the ground like that multiples times, we now have a great moment of cinema reserved for the ages. Guess, that is what is called ‘for the sake of art.’

You can watch The Sound of Music on Google Play.

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