‘The Sound of Music’ 58 Years Later: How Does It Hold Up?
58 years after its release, the Oscar-winning musical The Sound of Music, based on a real family who lived in Austria at the beginning of World War II, is still a popular and beloved film among American audiences. Even if you haven’t seen the movie about a failing nun named Maria (Julie Andrews) who becomes a governess to a former naval captain’s seven children (and I hadn’t, until today), several of the songs are so integral to popular culture that you’d have to live under a rock to not know any of them. As someone who did live under a rock, even I had heard of the songs “Do-Re-Mi” and “My Favorite Things.”
While I agree with Christopher Plummer, who played Captain Von Trapp and famously complained the film was too sentimental, overall, the film ages well and has some fairly catchy tunes. Knowing that it is based on a real family helps a lot, because if it wasn’t, I would wonder how they managed to escape Nazi-occupied Austria in one piece, considering Von Trapp’s clear (and warranted) public disdain for the Nazi party, which was enough to get one killed back then, and how difficult it was to escape successfully. That they were able to do so, and with 10 children (there were seven in the film, but 10 in the real Von Trapp family) no less, is nothing short of a miracle!
The kids are the best part of the film, in my opinion, especially the youngest, Gretl. But I may be biased because I have a daughter around the same age who basically belongs in a musical herself. (Just not one set in Europe during World War II!) The costumes and sets are great, as is the Austrian setting. The way they illustrate Nazis rising to power so subtly was also well-done, especially having the telegram boy join the party and turn on the family at the end. Very historically accurate. I think the underlying messaging is good too. It’s a very positive, hopeful film.
While many of the songs are great, a few of them are pretty bad. (I’m looking at you, “I Have Confidence.”) It’s also so long. But I feel this way about most old movies. It’s also fairly predictable that Maria will end up with the captain, so the stakes feel pretty low. Did anyone really think she could be a nun?
I thought Captain Von Trapp was also a fairly one-dimensional character. I didn’t really care for him until the end, when he stands up to the Nazis. Most people were not capable of that.
Does anyone else see the resemblance between young Christopher Plummer and Michael Fassbender? How are they not related?
What do you think about The Sound of Music? Does it hold up all these years later?
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