May 26, 2009

The Sound of Music

Hailee spent the night with us Sunday night and we watched “The Sound of Music” which we bought for her ninth birthday. It occurred to me that I was ten the first time I saw it, not on DVD but in a theater, when it first came out in ’65 (do the math). I loved that movie and I had the biggest crush on Julie Andrews.

I’d forgotten just how good the movie was and Hailee loved it. Nowadays all the kids, especially the little girls, love Hannah Montana and all those Disney channel kiddy shows, which is just pure (excuse me) vapid crap.

Interesting facts about the film…

While shooting the dramatic shot near the start of the film of Maria singing on the mountaintop, the downwash of the helicopter used made it exceedingly difficult for Andrews to remain standing.

The nighttime scene between Maria and the Captain in the garden gazebo, where they confess their love for the first time, should have been one of the easiest to shoot in the production. Actually, it took around 30 takes. The cinematographer used one or more arc lights to simulate moonlight, and back in 1964, arc lights used a technology that, as the filaments heated up, gave off an almost human sound. While Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer were standing within inches of each others' faces expressing intimate sentiments, the arc lights would "squeal," as if on cue, sounding like "objections" to their love. Andrews and Plummer, and eventually director Robert Wise, were "on the floor" laughing, tears rolling down their faces. Finally, after 30 takes, Wise decided to remove the arc lights and shoot that particular moment in silhouette. The change, while pragmatically motivated, worked very good artistically.

The Sound of Music is credited as the film that saved 20th Century Fox, after high production costs and low revenue for Cleopatra nearly bankrupted the studio.

Every year starting in 2005 the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California holds an annual Sound of Music sing-a-long, where the film is played with song lyrics underneath the screen. The actors who played the Von Trapp Children in the film along with the real Von Trapp children have made appearances at this event. Called "The Rocky Horror Picture Show on Prozac", this event has sold out every year since its inception.


  1. S of M did make a big impact back then. Considering the time of it's release it was an anomaly in many ways. The Brit invasion, SF and Psychedelics, Vietnam, "Race" riots ... and along came Julie Andrews.

  2. i have adored that movie from since i was about 8 yrs old. every year, they would play it. and every year, i would grab my favorite blanket and a huge bowl of popcorn, and snuggle up to enjoy the beautiful music. of course, as i got older, the significance of the storyline began to make more and more sense. LOL ;) but i still love the music!
    thanks for the back stories.. love hearing those! -Tracie