Nuns, Nazis and a Naval Captain…
The musical about the singing nun who enchanted Captain Von Trapp and his seven children… need I add more?
The Sound of Music | #TBT Trailer | 20th Century FOX, 20th Century Fox and photographs © 20th Century Fox.
I started to watch the celebrated musical The Sound of Music (1965) – the Sing-along version – after sending my Darlin’ husband and the stepdudes out to get the post-Christmas food shopping. It’s probably true that most men dislike this film as it’s a romantic, soppy musical and even male lead Christopher Plummer slated it calling it “The Sound of Mucus”.
When I was little, I usually groaned audibly at the thought of watching this film, as it was on telly on what seemed every alternate Scottish Bank Holiday…the other Bank Holiday showing a Bond film. Finnish kids don’t get this choice as Bond films usually start at 9pm, – much to the dismay of many – whereas Sound of Music can be viewed at a more kid friendly time.
Maybe it’s just being a stepmum that my maternal genes click and make me long for films of my youth to share with the stepdudes. But they do draw the line at the Sound of Music preferring classics such as The Goonies (1985) and Back to the Future (1985). Or maybe I just want a break from Thor and his cronies. As the menfolk were out, I also indulged in a box of British chocolates, which one of my best friends back in Scotland had sent me for Christmas knowing we don’t get it here. So doubly satiated, I settled down to watch the film.
You know the plot, failed nun gets a job as a nanny to dashing, strict, widowed Naval Captain Von Trapp’s 7 kids. The kids don’t have music in their lives since his wife died – nun bonds with kids through the joy of music in a sweet, charming way (as opposed to a Kevin Bacon in Footloose (1984) kinda way), nun falls for the dashing, strict Naval Captain, Naval Captain gets engaged to a Baroness, nun becomes torn between love and duty, nun flees back to the convent, nun comes back, the naval captain calls off engagement …
Ooh, I wish my darling husband would get home before the Nazis come and I become a blubbering wreck. Anyway luckily he did so was able to compose myself before the elder stepdude could laugh at me like Nelson from The Simpsons (1989-). He knows I sob at romantic films or tragic moments, so he wasn’t surprised when darlin’ husband told him I cried during the recent Star Wars film.
I then decided to watch The Sound of Music on the subsequent showing on Hogmanay. Finnish TV channels repeat films at least twice a week on most terrestrial channels. This is handy if you have an annoying friend who talks through it or a darlin’ husband – who despite holding your hand when the Nazis do arrive – will riff it constantly and try to convince you that the other famous Austrian, Arnold Schwarzenegger played a character called Captain Von Trapp in the Commando (1985) film. Which to be fair I almost fell for, til I saw him smirk which meant that he was up to something.
My youngest sister is just as bad, as in the years before you could find out things on the internet, she convinced me that the actress who played the youngest daughter, Gretl was run over by a bus on the last day of filming so it wasn’t her in the final scene. It was so successful I wondered why they never mentioned it in TV specials as a child and was even more perplexed when she appeared much older in the recent reunion programmes.
Christopher Plummer as Captain Von Trapp is as likeable as ever, however, he is upstaged constantly by son Kurt who gets all the best lines..for example when Maria asks why the children haven’t told her they can dance, he retorts that they didn’t admit it as they were worried she’d make them “dance together as the Von Trapp family dancers”. He’s got a point.
I presume the possibility of this happening echoed in this poor child’s head as he left show business a year later. Plummer is visibly (and audibly) supported by Julie Andrews (Maria). And probably physically too as Plummer has confessed to being drunk during the singing competition scene.
It also has a superhero in the making as the other son, Frederich was played by Nicholas Hammond was TV’s The Amazing Spiderman (1977-79). He also starred in Dallas (1978), as a character involved with Lucy Ewing. The actress playing Lucy (Charlene Tilton) says this was really thrilling for her and she added
“I kept asking him questions about Julie Andrews which I am sure became annoying”.
Personally, I’m sure the majority of viewers would prefer to annoy Plummer with endless questions about the Star Trek VI (1991), of which his appearance darlin’ husband rates highly. Hammond however, really is the darling of the soaps as also indirectly played for Dallas‘s rival Dynasty (1981-89) as Aaron Spelling in the car crash of a TV Movie Dynasty: The Making of a Guilty Pleasure (1985). I watched this once on television and it’s worth seeing but it’s a bit like Naomi Watts in Diana (2013), the cast looks better from behind. He also turned up in Falcon Crest (1981-90).
The Sound of Music has everything from singing nuns, a film advertisement from the Austrian Tourist Board, Nazis, a puppet show and even a naval captain of a landlocked country (thanks for that British comedian David Mitchell!). It’s as a total weeper now of course purely for the romance.
As well as the more predictable one… there is a romantic subplot of the eldest daughter dating the telegraph delivery boy who turns out to be one of the Hitler Youth. He ultimately shops her and her family to the Nazis. I’m sure the film was also responsible alone for inspiring the Laura Ashley dresses our mothers made us girls wear – when we were wee – in the 1970s. Photos of which they now put on social media sites just to taunt us. Thanks, Maria.
Finally, if the thought of sitting through this movie is more than a bit grim, I recommend it so as you can take note of the many scenes Family Guy has parodied. Believe me, after seeing Stewie mocking Julie Andrews and Chris and Meg riffing the Von Trapp kids…you will get into the habit of looking out for these references to wind your musical crazy fanatic while they are watching the movie. Remember it’s like the infamous Black Panther aftershave in Anchorman (2004)..”60% of the time, it works every time.”
Weeper Rating: 😦 😦 😦 😦 😦😦 😦 /10
Handsqueeze Rating: 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 /10
Hulk Rating: /10
Classic Movie History Project Part 2, 2016 No 12
For this blogathon, I am writing about The Sound of Music (1965). Christopher Plummer can also be found in his Remembrance Tribute and my posts Star Trek VI The Voyage Home, Starcrash, Dreamscape and his International Velvet reviews. Julie Andrews is listed in a review in 5 Garry Marshall Gems and in SOB. Kym Karath appeared in The Thrill of it All and Charmian Carr is remembered HERE. Nicholas Hammond appeared in Dynasty Making of a Guilty Pleasure, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Dallas.