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Worth A Look: 17.2%
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2 reviews, 81 user ratings

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Sound of Music, The
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by David Cornelius

"The ultimate pick-me-up movie."
5 stars

I was having a fairly bad week, until I popped “The Sound of Music” into my DVD player. By the time Julie Andrews had hit that final high note in “Do-Re-Mi,” I was smiling. No, not just smiling. Beaming. And I couldn’t stop, even when I was busy getting choked up both times Christopher Plummer sang “Eidelweiss.”

And wow, how powerful that “Edelweiss” reprise can be. It works as both a highly charged emotional moment - sung as a farewell to the country the Von Trapps may never see again - and a potent mix of music and politics on par with the “Marsellaise” scene in “Casablanca.” Here’s an entire crowd of Austrians singing, in unison, a lullaby tribute to their homeland, which in turn acts as a spit in the face of the invading Nazis who have just taken over their land and continue to claim that “nothing has changed.” With music, the people defiantly say otherwise.

Those final scenes work on a genuine suspense level (smartly manipulated by the director Robert Wise and editor William Reynolds - notice how this musical suddenly becomes devoid of music, and the absence makes things all the more tense). This is a bit surprising, however, since nothing that comes before is about thrills or dramatic tension. It is instead a movie of unadulterated wholesomeness, one in which the biggest crisis is where to get the material to make new clothes for the kids. Let’s face it: “The Sound of Music” is perhaps the cleanest, most purposefully pleasant, downright whitest movie ever made by Hollywood.

But it is never sickeningly so. On the contrary; Wise and his crew deliberately set out to dilute the sentimentality of the story by keeping performances relatively realistic in nature, the photography subdued and not oversaturated with color. They grounded it, and so this story - one that, when you boil it down, is about singing kids and nuns vs. the Nazis, and how utterly schmaltzy is that? - never plays as overbearing in its corniness. It’s inoffensive to a fault, yes, but it’s also thoroughly compelling for three hours straight. And we wouldn’t sit still for three full hours if the cheese was too ripe.

The film opens with somewhat of a nod to Wise’s previous musical, “West Side Story.” Whereas that film began with aerial shots of New York, this one starts off with majestic fly-by footage of the Austrian mountains. It’s a wonderful moment, beautifully captured in bigger-than-life widescreen. As this plays, we hear the orchestra slowly creep in, expanding their sound as we find Julie Andrews herself, walking across the hilltops, ready to break into song, in what’s one of the most recognizable scenes in movie history.

It’s easy to find this corny, especially as the clean-cut Andrews sings about the wonders of nature, but there’s an unbridled joy to the moment, and it’s just as easy to get sucked into the whole thing. “The Sound of Music” tells you right off the bat: this is not a movie for cynics, so check your gloominess at the door, if you please.

Our gloominess duly checked (don’t worry, you’ve got a claim ticket, you can be back to sulking after 175 minutes), we’re invited to sing along to such cheery tunes as “My Favorite Things,” “Maria,” and “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” among so many others. This was the final collaboration between Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, and it’s some of their finest work. If nothing else, it’s certainly some of the most hummable; just try to shake “Do-Re-Mi” out of your noggin. Can’t do it.

Actually, it’s that goatherd song that’s stuck in my dome right now, and I don’t mind one bit. But while the music is what usually gets the most attention in this film (for good reason), let’s not overlook Wise’s contributions. As director, not only did he help subdue the corniness by keeping things as low-key as possible, but he also formed the pacing of the story - vital to movies of this length. And when not expertly fiddling with the ups and downs of the plot rhythms, Wise was busy crafting some stunning visuals. Just as “The Sound of Music” is a joy to hear, it’s also a joy to watch. The movie is filled with grand sights, even in unexpected moments; Wise turns the main hall of the Von Trapp estate into the centerpiece of some gorgeous cinema. Watch Maria’s arrival, or her departure right before intermission. These shots are beautifully framed, dwarfing Maria under the splendor of a magnificent interior set. This is one of those movies you can freeze-frame on your DVD player at random and always come up with a terrific image.

More than Wise, however, it can be argued that Andrews provided the biggest contribution to the film. Reynolds loved to joke that whenever he was stuck in some editing dilemma, he could always cut to Andrews. The actress, fresh off the star-making (and and even whiter white bread) “Mary Poppins,” was (and still is) the embodiment pure charm, and we want to smile every time she steps on screen. The combination of Andrew’s charisma and Maria’s lovable flightiness makes for one of those movie characters that brightens every frame. The fact that she’s a fine actress and an exceptional singer helps, too, ya know.

So am I wrong for loving “The Sound of Music” so much? Am I a wuss or a cleancut doofus or something? Not at all. I’m just a guy who loves great storytelling, able to know that sappiness doesn’t necessarily always equal badness. When handled as well as Wise and company did here, even something as cornball as “The Sound of Mucus” (as Plummer often jokingly called it) can become a majestic film experience. There’s a reason this musical has won the hearts of so many: because it’s a great movie all around, but more than that, watching it just makes you feel wonderful.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=889&reviewer=392
originally posted: 02/09/05 15:39:51
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User Comments

2/14/17 Louise Juvenile review Scott. It's a film to be enjoyed by all ages, not just oldies. 5 stars
3/01/12 stanley welles the audience is asleep with the sound of music 1 stars
1/29/11 Linda J One of the best films ever made. A great family film. 5 stars
8/29/09 smrithi the music in this movie has taken me to different world 4 stars
6/21/09 Richard Walsh I saw "The Sound of Music" when I was 18 in 1965. 44 years later I still love it. 5 stars
1/09/09 Anonymous. this film deserves no reviews/ratings under five stars. 5 stars
9/12/08 David Cohen I hate musicals...but this one is pretty good...for a muscial 5 stars
6/25/08 Emily Petrie I've seen it tons of times and I never get tired of it!! 5 stars
4/04/08 Pamela White Simple songs and the children make the movie 5 stars
1/28/07 Steph It should be a LAW that everyone see this at least once. A true classic! 5 stars
1/22/07 action movie fan boring--thunderball was 1965's best movie, mister moses, crack in the world also good 1 stars
12/16/06 R.W.Welch Socko opening sequence. The rest is pretty good too. 4 stars
11/28/06 Laurie jones saw the film seven times . i would still watch it seven times seven more 5 stars
10/20/06 AnnieG Watch the DVD - TV version we all know cuts various scenes. 4 stars
9/12/06 Jessie Qiou I've watched this fantastic movie for countless times but still not get tired of it.Amazing 4 stars
2/19/06 Yuvan Seth Excellent movie 5 stars
1/02/06 Daveman As gushy as the odious Mary Poppins only this has a great s/t and beautiful photography. 4 stars
12/23/05 Green Gremlin Sentimental, corny but impossible to dislike 5 stars
11/18/05 M.F. a lovely movie 5 stars
10/20/05 Leah and Kelly the hills came alive 5 stars
9/14/05 Actress variously known as Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron&Ashley Judd Superb! Please cast me in an R-rated remake! 5 stars
5/16/05 LARRY LEISE sR. I Loved this Movie and think every one should see it. 5 stars
5/01/05 Nicole classic..should be known to everyone 5 stars
4/26/05 John charming as can be....great 5 stars
4/06/05 brody boring..... 1 stars
3/25/05 Denise awesome 5 stars
3/18/05 lora Amazing...pure complete entertainment 5 stars
2/25/05 rebecca it is the best movie ever *but Julie Andrews is good in any movie!!!* 5 stars
2/22/05 gracecchu A pure classic, this is my 26-year-old, straight brother's favorite movie. 5 stars
2/20/05 fiona fantastic movie...but it loses it when they get together! oh well... 5 stars
2/20/05 debra fey great oldie but goodie 4 stars
2/18/05 Shel Wonderful! Too bad many of todays youth won't see it..it's too old 5 stars
2/14/05 Carolyn Rathburn Love this classic musical with it's dreamy music and beautiful scenery 5 stars
2/11/05 rebecca gilbert feels good. a classic 5 stars
2/10/05 Sharon Davis Wonderful, how could you be down 5 stars
2/07/05 Gray first half sucks ass, the second half brings me to tears (Edelweiss) 4 stars
1/25/05 Ashley Smith I love this movie, but I love anyhting with Julie Andrews 5 stars
10/24/04 emma tabelisma one of the best ive ever watch 5 stars
10/19/04 kite its so wonderful! 5 stars
10/15/04 Pete I'd never get tired of watching it again and again 5 stars
9/16/04 Shalmali Dilip Kamat very good 4 stars
9/01/04 John It has a few good moments but except for the scenery I found it rather dull 3 stars
8/15/04 djacosta Very good children movie 5 stars
6/09/04 Nobody A classic! I first saw this when I was a little kid, it remains one of my favorite things 5 stars
12/22/03 Chris Lovely and sweet. It ranks in my top 10 of all time. A masterpiece. 5 stars
12/11/03 Wayne Gifford Its the best movie ever made. Period. 5 stars
10/03/03 DM Best song ("How Can Love Survive?") is cut out, and it's too sappy anyway 3 stars
4/14/03 susan it's great! one of my all time favorites 5 stars
4/12/03 Dave One of the greatest musicals ever made. 5 stars
4/09/03 Daisy Brown Its simply a superb moovie which captures all ur attention..3 hrs pass like 3 secs 5 stars
3/24/03 Colleen This is my all time favorite movie. A must see for everyone 5 stars
3/22/03 Actress known as Angelina Jolie, Ashley Judd, and Charlize Theron Splendid. Please cast me in an R-rated remake of this! 5 stars
3/20/03 May Q. Horney Compelling, for all the hokiness anyone ascribes to it. 5 stars
1/19/03 Douglas E. Smith Still a must see movie. I meet and spoke with Eleanor Parker yesterday, a wonderful person. 5 stars
12/29/02 John Aster Habig they cut out the best song "No Way To Stop It" 4 stars
11/05/02 Daryn M. ***** A true classic! ***** 5 stars
10/23/02 Flounder This is probably the greatest family/music film ever made 5 stars
10/23/02 Charles Tatum The Sound of Mucus 3 stars
10/08/02 chris super-wicked-awesome 5 stars
8/29/02 Peter Parker 5 stars
8/04/02 Ruth Gonzalez BEST MOVIE EVER !! 4 stars
7/17/02 Lottie Anyone who says it isn't great should be shot. By a French firing squad, with no cigarette. 5 stars
4/19/02 JOE MAMA retarded 1 stars
4/03/02 actress var. known as Charlize Theron, Ashley Judd, and Angelina Jolie Astounding movie. Please cast me in an R-rated remake of it. 5 stars
3/07/02 Mo Anand the music...the story...the scenery...this movie is a classic 5 stars
1/21/02 Spencer Lent Music is AWESOME. 5 stars
12/10/01 Melanie i think its a great movie(I'm not 100 years old and think anthing with music is sweet ) Bu 5 stars
10/26/01 Andrew Carden It Starts Out Really Good, but It Gets Quite Dull Later On. 3 stars
10/12/01 British Bulldog This film is a classic from start to finish. 5 stars
9/25/01 Honesta Romberger It is a very sweet, good natured movie, that brightens anyone's day, and lift's ones soul. 5 stars
7/03/01 Georg Hurdalek I had some really good ideas for this picture. I really did. They blew them all. Bastards. 1 stars
5/17/01 Bada Bing Crosby What would have happened if one of the little bastards did not FEEL like singing? 1 stars
4/04/01 Hawkeye It somehow seems wrong to call this movie "fuckin' awesome" and yet.... 5 stars
10/28/00 Melanie Pair This was my favorite movie as a little girl and I still love to watch it and sing along!!!! 5 stars
10/14/00 rdmanning@hotmail.com I liked it so much, I wrote the sequel! 5 stars
7/12/00 Eric Can't help myself, I LOVE IT PASSIONATELY!!!! 5 stars
4/28/00 C.K. McConnell Great Movie 5 stars
10/19/99 The Velvet Edge I just peed myself. (I'm rating the review, not the movie ) 5 stars
10/13/98 Chi-Fan Hu Best of all time!!! 5 stars
9/27/98 Heather How do you solve a problem like overplayed Rogers & Hammerstein musicals? 3 stars
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  24-Aug-1990 (G)
  DVD: 02-Nov-2010



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