The Sound of Music (1965)
Seven Von Trapp siblings
Classic film references are like secret handshakes, affirming shared base camps in pop culture, and songs from musical films like The Sound of Music seem to worm their way in our collective memory, too. Although I have no idea what age I was the first time I saw the film, I could sing every lyric by age 6, and each of the seven Von Trapp children have a distinct place in my memory.
With music from Rodgers & Hammerstein, it is no wonder The Sound of Music songs stick. A lifelong Texan, every time I hear "adieu" I still flash to "So Long, Farewell," with little Gretl on that grand staircase. Though his voice was dubbed over for the screen, "Edelweiss" will always bring to mind handsome Christopher Plummer as the Captain – stern and hard-to-know in the film, reportedly much different than his real-life gentle persona.
In our home renditions, I was always Brigitta and my little sister Marta, though we fought tooth and nail over who was the pretty, firstborn Von Trapp, Liesl. After all, the flirty moonlight dance with Rolfe (we should have seen his Nazi uniform coming) in "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" was our introduction to romantic scenes and all that they entail. Louisa, a spirited dreamer, probably would have made a better role model. The two boys, Friedrich and Kurt, taught us new pranks, though I distinctly remember finding their nerd chic tolerable at best.
The story of the Von Trapp family band of singers (10 children in real life) pivots around Maria, and perhaps no other musical film star shines as brightly in recent history as Julie Andrews. Only a lady as lovely as she could pull off that strange 1960s bowl haircut while simultaneously aggravating and endearing a group of nuns. Throw in marionettes, jumpsuits made of curtains, a frightening escape from Nazis, and the punny "Do-Re-Mi," and the film is bound to stick in audience brains forever. Indeed, even though it's saccharine and only loosely based in historical facts, The Sound of Music is still one of my favorite things.
June 8-9, Paramount: Saturday, 7pm; Sunday, 2pm