The hills are alive when The Vern reviews The Sound of Music(1965)

Sound of MusicBefore I begin my review of this beloved classic that I have never seen until a few days ago.  I think it’s fair to share that this movie has been mentioned before in many other shows and movies I like.   My mother swears that we watched this as a family when I was a kid.  But I don’t remember.  Then again at that age, I thought all musicals were lame and dumb.

National Lampoon’s European Vacation– Clark’s Dream

This is the first time I have ever seen anything from this musical being used before.

Kids in The Hall – Lost Dog

This may be the first time I remember the whole Do-Rei Mei song being used and  kind of loving it.  It doesn’t fit and yet it kind of does.


Family Guy – Various

I haft to admire Seth McFarland for paying homage to this musical in many episodes.  Especially since most of it’s  target audience have most likely never seen it before.


Dancer in the Dark  – Favorite Things

If you have never seen this before, I’m going to reveal the ending.  Selma(Bjork) has been sent to jail for murder and is awaiting her execution.  When things go bad for her she escapes into the world of Hollywood Musicals. So on her last night she begins singing about her favorite things.  It’s indeed heartbreaking, and dark.  It’s also the only other time I heard a song from The Sound of Music before I actually saw it.

Ok Now that’s out of the way, we can get on to the review.


The Sound of Music

Cast: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker

Writers : Earnest Lehman(Script),Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstien II(Music and Lyrics)

Director: Robert Wise.Sound of Music 4The theater I saw this at was called the Riverview.  Located in Minneapolis, it’s a venue that plays a lot of 2nd run movies, but it looks like an old school movie house from the 40’s and 50’s.  It’s different from other movie theaters because it only has one screen and it’s  a place that will also play a lot of other movies from the past.  One year they played Alien, Jaws, and Mad Max 2 during the summer.  It would be this location that I would watch he adventures of Maria and the Von Trapp family for the first time.  The theater was filled with people who have seen this movie before.  There was a costumed contest and one of the employees even got proposed to.   I was in good environment to watch this for the first time


The opening helicopter shots that bring us to Maria on the hill top reminded me a lot of  The Shining.  Seriously, you could switch the music around and put the scrolling credits in place and you would have the same opening.   So on this big hill we meet Maria(Julie Andrews) and she is singing about how much she loves music and how awesome the world is.  It’s a very beautifully shot sequence, and indeed very iconic.  Of course, while singing she realizes that she’s late for I guess nun school and  then runs back to the convent.  The nuns then sing  about how to solve the  problem of Maria.  Which I never understood, because all of her problems are things everyone does.  I guess stuff  like singing and eating too much are a problem for a girl like her.  The head nun decides to place her in the home of Captain Von Trapp(Christopher Plummer) and his children.  It seems that no other governess could last more then a week there and immediately I thought the kids were evil.  Like Rhonda from The Bad Seed or the kids from Them.   It turns out that after his wife died, the captain became distant from being a father and turned into the twin  brother to the drill Sargent from Full Metal Jacket.   While away on business Maria warms up to each of the kids and gets them to trust and love her.  Oh and they also begin to  love music again too.  The Captain hears their rendition of the title song  and he too warms up to them again.  It seems like this Maria girl is a miracle worker if she can bring this family back together. Maybe she too can warm the heart of Mr. Von Trapp and the two could get married.  It’s here that we are introduced to what many people in my audience refer to as the villain, The Baroness(Elanor Parker)

Baroness Sound of Music

Every time she would appear people would hiss and boo at her and I never quite understood why.  Yes she was engaged to the man that Maria was in love with, but I don’t know if she did anything really that bad.  Now there is a scene where she does express some hostility towards our main character but maybe she was just being defensive.  I mean after all this is the man she is going to be marrying and then some nanny comes and tries to seduce him away from her.  Yeah I kind of understand, why she would be a bit cruel.  Plus from The Captain’s perspective.  The Baroness was  a lot more attractive then Maria  Don’t get wrong, She was pretty and all but I found the Baroness to be hotter.

Sound of Music 3In the third act we learn that Austria is making alliances with the Nazi party and that the Von Trapp family want nothing to do with it.  Even if you have no idea who or what a Nazi is.  This movie establishes pretty quickly that these are the bad guys.  I almost expected to see Indiana Jones stop in and face them .  The family must escape otherwise he will be forced to join them.   Maria and the others come up with a plan to help them escape.  How they actually left Austria was not as climatic as it was in the movie.  But that ending was kid of intense because even though I knew the outcome.  It still managed to keep me in suspense.


This was the 2nd musical I have seen from director Robert Wise who also helmed West Side Story.  I thought I would hate that movie too and I ended up liking it.  You can hear my thoughts on the We Sing Poorly (Click to listen)podcast and yes I do actually sing on it.  You have been warned. The Sound of Music was very good and like the last one mentioned.  The songs fit very well into the narrative of the movie and are themselves good.  I’m just not going to go out and listen to the full album right away.  I might do that with The Evil Dead Musical but not this.  Seeing it on a big screen for the first time sure made me appreciate this a lot more.   Earnest Lehman is known to me for having written North by Northwest which is among one of my favorites of all time.  When his name appeared on screen, I was the only one who applauded.  Mr. Wise is also well known for directing Star Trek:The Motion Picture  (click to read my review) and The Day the Earth Stood Still. This movie went on to win 5 Oscars including Best Picture, and Best Director.  I can understand why many people enjoy it and I’m glad I saw it.  Would I watch it again.  Of course but it’s not something I would seek out to watch constantly.  Those are my thoughts on The Sound of Music. Have you seen it before , sound off in the comments and let me know what you thought of it.


About The Vern

I love movies and I enjoy writing about them too. They both go pretty much hand in hand with each other and it's fun to discover new classics. I co host the podcasts The Film Pasture, ScreenTrax, and soon Cinema Recall. While also contributing reviews and articles to other great sites when I can.
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9 Responses to The hills are alive when The Vern reviews The Sound of Music(1965)

  1. Jordan Dodd says:

    I have never seen a musical. In fact it ticks me off when cartoons go into musical parts if I’m honest. This is also playing at a retro film fest near me, I might catch it, I dunno though, I might hate it…. I’ve got no idea what to expect really!

  2. Jordan Dodd says:

    BTW that theatre is freaking amazing!!

  3. David says:

    Dancer in the Dark was one of the most traumatic films I’ve ever seen, which makes it one of my favorites as well.

  4. Chris says:

    The Sound of Music does invite itself to lampooning, but the songs are classics, and Julie Andrews is unforgettable. I’m jealous you got to see it on the big screen. I knew a few of the songs for years. Finally watched the film last May and loved it.

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