- The Sound of Music was the second biggest box office film ever (Gone with the Wind -adjusted for inflation) at the time of its release (it is still #3) and hailed by some as one of the best films of all-time. Others decry it outright and point to some of the “you wait for the sun to come out” schlock as evidence of its worthlessness. The truth, at least artistically, lies somewhere in-between.
- Robert Wise was riding a career high coming into The Sound of Music. He made West Side Story in 1961 and The Haunting in 1963. This shares much in common with those two (admittedly superior) films- large canvas, wide screen (this one is actually larger- 65mm, 2.39 : 1 aspect ratio Eastmancolour).
- Ernst Lehman adapts the film for Wise (also worked on West Side Story) and of course the music and lyrics are from Rodgers Hammerstein.
- This is still only Julie Andrews’ third film. She is 30 years old in 1965, with only this, The Americanization of Emily, and of course Marry Poppins (1964) on her resume- and she is as big a star as any actor in the world after the film’s release.
- Perhaps the highlight of the film though is the Gazebo sequence. Wise is smart enough to use this set piece twice. Once for “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” with Charmian Carr as Liesl von Trapp and Daniel Truhitte as Rolfe, and once later with Andrews and Christopher Plummer. It is in the second instance that Wise gets one of the strongest shots of his entire career with the silhouettes on the glass.
- Like West Side Story (and many musicals, epics and films with a longer run time) this has an intermission. Unlike West Side Story, there are longer stretches here that are cinematically quiet. It does seem to lack Jerome Robbins’ influence on the actual musical numbers (some of the musical numbers in The Sound of Music are the flattest cinematically- and these actors, unlike West Side Story, are not dancers).
- Like the gazebo setting, Wise goes back to one of the greatest scenes in the film- the helicopter shot on the mountain- to end the film
- Highly Recommend- top 10 of the year quality
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