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Monday, July 6, 2015

The Sound Of Music (1965)

A young postulant (Julie Andrews) has trouble adjusting to life in a convent. The Abbess (Peggy Wood) of the nunnery suggests she try life outside the abbey for awhile. To this end, the girl is sent to work as a governess to the seven children of a widowed sea captain (Christoper Plummer). One of the highest grossing and most popular films in movie history, THE SOUND OF MUSIC receives much hate as sentimental twaddle. Well, if this be twaddle, give me more of it! Sentimental? Well, yes. Manipulative? Most certainly. Hopelessly optimistic? Perhaps. But when it's done with such skill (both in front and behind of the camera), those irresistible Rodgers and Hammerstein songs, the breathtaking Salzburg locations and the great Julie Andrews at the center of it all, this is simply one of the most enjoyable movie musicals ever made. So sue me! The screenwriter Ernest Lehman and the director Robert Wise had removed much of the treacle of the 1959 Broadway show and with Plummer's acidic performance and Andrews' spunk and grit, it avoids the pitfalls of what could have been. Kudos to Irwin Kostal whose orchestrations and arrangements of the R&H score shimmers. With Eleanor Parker, who brings a pathos to her "other woman" when a lesser actress might have played her as a bitch. Also Richard Haydn, Charmian Carr, Norma Varden and Anna Lee. 

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