Thursday, May 3, 2012

Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music


The Sound of Music (45th Anniversary Edition) (Two-Disc DVD/Blu-ray Combo in DVD Packaging)

#55 (1998) and #40 (2007) on the AFI Top 100 American Movies

Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound of Music is a 1965 American musical film directed by Robert Wise and starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The film is based on the Broadway musical The Sound of Music, with songs written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, and with the musical book written by the writing team of Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. Ernest Lehman wrote the screenplay. The musical originated with the book The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria von Trapp. It contains many popular songs, including "Edelweiss", "My Favorite Things", "Climb Ev'ry Mountain", "Do-Re-Mi", "Sixteen Going on Seventeen", and "The Lonely Goatherd", as well as the title song.

The movie version was filmed on location in Salzburg, Austria; Bavaria in Southern Germany; and at the 20th Century Fox Studios in California. It was photographed in 70mm Todd-AO format by Ted D. McCord. It won a total of five Academy Awards including Best Picture and displaced Gone with the Wind as the highest-grossing film of all-time. The cast album was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

In 2001, the United States Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry as it was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

* Julie Andrews as Maria von Trapp, a free-spirited young Austrian woman, studying to become a nun. Due to her often singing and seeming somewhat out of place in the abbey, Mother Abbess sends her to the nearby city of Salzburg to be governess to the seven children of Captain von Trapp. Although initially hostile toward her, they come to love her through her introducing the joys of music and singing, and she develops a special relationship with Liesl, the eldest. Throughout the film, the Captain grows closer to both her and his children through the reintroduction of music, and she falls in love with him. Fearful of how returning his affections might seem in God's eyes (as she is the children's governess), she goes back to the abbey, but is convinced to return and see what her love might bring. Eventually, the Captain admits his feelings for her, and they marry. However, the Third Reich is taking power via the Anschluss, prompting her and her new family to leave Austria. Julie Andrews was famously nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, however, she lost it to another Julie: Julie Christie.

* Christopher Plummer as Captain Georg von Trapp, a veteran Austrian navy captain whose wife died, leaving behind their seven children. He extends his military background into raising them, at first represented as a strict disciplinarian. However, his attitude toward both the children and Maria softens considerably after she reintroduces music into the family. He is courting Baroness Elsa Schraeder throughout the film, and becomes engaged to her, but they call it off, and he proclaims his love to Maria, marrying her instead. He firmly believes in Austrian independence, proudly displaying the Austrian flag and tearing down the Nazi one, as well as refusing to join them. He, Maria, and the children leave Austria at the end of the film by crossing the Alps to Switzerland. His singing voice was dubbed by Bill Lee.

* Richard Haydn as Max Detweiler, a good friend of both the Baroness and the Captain. He is one of the few to call him Georg. He seeks out talented musicians and singers, and reveals them to the public eye. In searching Salzburg for talented singers, he finds what he wants in the von Trapp family, and constantly tries to convince the Captain to let him enter the children in the Salzburg Music Festival. He is also somewhat neutral when it comes to the Third Reich, seeking only to make a good and honest living regardless of who was in power. Although he doesn't like or approve of the Anschluss, he is more willing than the Captain to let it quietly take place. Nevertheless, due to their close friendship, he helps them escape during the festival at his own expense.

* Eleanor Parker as Baroness Elsa Schraeder, the Captain's lady friend from Vienna, and later fiancée for a short period. She becomes jealous of Maria's talent, and convinces her to leave during a grand party at the house by exploiting her inner conflict about becoming a nun and her discomfort at the Captain's obvious affection towards her. He announces their engagement to the children, but she doesn't go over well with them. After Maria's return, he confesses to her that he is being unfair to her. Seeing the marriage wouldn't work, she gives her blessings to him and Maria, parts on very friendly terms, and peacefully returns to Vienna.

* Charmian Carr as Liesl von Trapp, the first and eldest child, sixteen ("going on seventeen"). She believes she doesn't need a governess at first, but soon comes to trust Maria. She is in love with a messenger named Rolfe, who delivers their telegrams. However, he changes after joining the Nazis, no longer caring for her. She seeks advice from Maria about this, who tells her to "wait a year or two" to find love. She is shocked to see that he is one of the search party, and begs him to stop and let them escape.

* Nicholas Hammond as Friedrich von Trapp, the second child, fourteen. He is very quiet and is also something of a gentleman, despite his involvement in the tricks against the previous governesses, which the children confess were merely to get the Captain's attention. After Maria arrives, he tells her that he "is impossible" according to "Fraulein Josephine: four governesses ago".

* Heather Menzies as Louisa von Trapp, the third child, thirteen. She and Brigitta are often together, and she is a bit of a daydreamer. Her two favorite tricks on governesses are to fill their beds with spiders and pretend that she is one of the other girls, such as Brigitta.

* Duane Chase as Kurt von Trapp, the fourth child, eleven. He often tries to act manly and is outspoken against the previous governesses and often questions Maria about things, once trying to learn an Austrian folk dance.

* Angela Cartwright as Brigitta von Trapp, the fifth child, ten. She is very sharp-witted, honest, somewhat nonconformist, and not afraid to speak her mind about things (e.g., Maria's dress being ugly).

* Debbie Turner as Marta von Trapp, the sixth child, seven. She gets along well with Maria, sharing her love of pink and being the first to like her. She once mentions a pink parasol as her birthday gift.

* Kym Karath as Gretl von Trapp, the seventh and youngest child, five. She speaks very little, and is often shy. As the other children tell Maria to adopt questionable behaviors and practices, she tells her, as her first phrase in the film, "Don't you believe a word they're saying, Fraulein Maria, because I like you." In real life, she could not swim. When the boat capsized in the water, she had to be lifted up by a couple of people that were hidden under it. During one rehearsal, she threw up after swallowing some of the water.

* Peggy Wood as Mother Abbess, the head of Nonnberg Abbey, who convinces Maria to leave there and explore life as a governess for a while. When she returns, she has her explain why she left and realizes she is in love, and convinces her to return and face her problems, to see what might come of this love. This proves to be good advice, as she later marries the Captain. Mother Abbess also shelters her and her family while they are hiding from the Nazis and helps them escape to Switzerland. Peggy Wood was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars for her performance. Her singing voice was dubbed by Margery McKay. She is often referred to by the other nuns as 'The Reverend Mother'.

* Anna Lee as Sister Margaretta, a nun who looks fondly on Maria. She, as well as Sister Berthe, helps her to escape by sabotaging the cars of the Gauleiter and his soldiers.

* Portia Nelson as Sister Berthe, a nun who doesn't believe Maria belongs in the abbey; she nevertheless helps her escape by sabotaging the cars of the Gauleiter and his soldiers.

* Marni Nixon as Sister Sophia. She appeared on screen first telling her opinion to the nuns about Maria and then singing for herself. She was cast in the role by director Robert Wise. In the DVD commentary to the film, he comments that audiences were finally able to see the woman whose voice they knew so well.

* Daniel Truhitte as Rolfe, a messenger who is in love with Liesl. The two become estranged after his enthusiasm for the Nazi cause leads him to forsake Liesl, partly as he realises that her father does not support Adolf Hitler's Third Reich and thus has no regard for him. He subtly warns the von Trapps about the danger they face for not obeying the summons of the Reich.

* Ben Wright as Hans Zeller, Gauleiter, an enthusiast for the Third Reich and the Anschluss, and the main antagonist of the film. He is oppositional against the Captain as early on as the party held for the Baroness. After the Anschluss he is appointed Gauleiter of the region and informs Max that Georg will be expected to take up his 'proper position in the new order', which, we later find out, is to serve in the German Navy. Through the intervention of the abbey and the festival, the von Trapps ultimately elude his grasp.

* The famous marionette puppet sequence for the song "The Lonely Goatherd" was produced and performed by the leading puppeteers of the day, Bil Baird and Cora Eisenberg-Baird.

All songs have music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II unless otherwise noted. Instrumental underscore passages were adapted by Irwin Kostal.

1. "Prelude and The Sound of Music"
2. "Overture" (Main Titles, consisting of "The Sound of Music", "Do-Re-Mi", "My Favorite Things", "Something Good" and "Climb Ev'ry Mountain") segué into the Preludium
3. "Preludium: Dixit Dominus", "Morning Hymn" (Rex admirabilis and Alleluia, based on traditional songs)
4. "Maria"
5. "I Have Confidence" (@ 18:04) (lyrics and music by Richard Rodgers)
6. "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" (@ 37:22)
7. "My Favorite Things" (@ 47:42)
8. "Salzburg Montage" (instrumental underscore based on "My Favorite Things")
9. "Do-Re-Mi" (@ 54:55)
10. "The Sound of Music" (reprise)
11. "The Lonely Goatherd" (@ 1:15:38)
12. "Edelweiss" (@ 1:21:36)
13. "The Grand Waltz" (instrumental underscore, based on "My Favorite Things")
14. "Ländler" (instrumental based on "The Lonely Goatherd")
15. "So Long, Farewell" (@ 1:29:43)
16. "Processional Waltz" (instrumental underscore)
17. "Goodbye Maria/How Can Love Survive Waltz" (instrumental underscore, incorporating "Edelweiss" and the deleted song "How Can Love Survive?")
18. "Edelweiss Waltz" (instrumental, Act 1 Finale, based on "Edelweiss")
19. "Entr'acte" (instrumental, consisting of "I Have Confidence", "So Long, Farewell", "Do-Re-Mi", "Something Good" and "The Sound of Music")
20. "The Sound of Music" (Sad Reprise Incomplete)
21. "Climb Ev'ry Mountain"
22. "My Favorite Things" (reprise)
23. "Something Good" (lyrics and music by Rodgers)
24. "Processional" (instrumental) and "Maria"
25. "Sixteen Going On Seventeen" (reprise)
26. "Do-Re-Mi" (Salzburg Folk Festival reprise)
27. "Edelweiss" (Salzburg Folk Festival reprise)
28. "So Long, Farewell" (Salzburg Folk Festival reprise)
29. "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" (reprise)
30. "End Titles"

"Edelweiss", thought by some to be a traditional Austrian song or even the Austrian national anthem, was written expressly for the musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein. Originally unknown in Austria, it has been promoted heavily there ever since, especially in Salzburg.

The songs "How Can Love Survive?", "An Ordinary Couple", and "No Way to Stop It" were not used in the film version. The omission of those songs had to be approved through Richard Rodgers.

There were four extra children singing with the main ones to add more effect to their voices, including Darleen Carr, Charmian Carr's younger sister. However, these were uncredited. Darleen Carr sang Kurt's high voice, during the reprise and "sad" versions of the title song, as well as the high "Bye" in the song "So Long, Farewell", and later for Gretl in its reprise towards the end of the film

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