This week, we follow Julie Andrews again, this time as Maria through the lush fields and mountains of Austria with seven singing children, a handsome Captain and some nuns in “The Sound of Music” (1965). No, we have not become a Julie Andrews column (not that it would be such a bad thing).
Allie Morgenstern (AM): This has been one of my all-time favorite films since I was in preschool, and I used to watch it once or twice every day. How do you fit a three-hour movie into every single day, you might ask? Well, my mom used to stop the movie after Maria and the Captain’s wedding scene because she didn’t want me to see the Nazis. Yes, that’s right, I never knew that there was an extra 45 minutes or Nazis in this film until I was a little older. According to my mom, their wedding is the perfect happy ending, and you don’t need more than that!
Anna Hirshman (AH): I used to skip through the beginning of the film at the convent like I skipped through the black-and-white part of “Wizard of Oz” (1939). I wanted to go right to the children, especially Gretl. At one point 5-year-old Gretl claims she cannot sing because she has a hurt finger. And nobody calls her out on it. It is a brilliant comedic moment that is often overlooked.
AM: Can I use that excuse for my homework?
AH: We all should. Also, the accents in this musical are incredibly confusing. There are American actors attempting British accents, some not even trying, and then there are some actual British actors. Yet they are all supposed to be Austrian.
AM: British accents always sound better, I guess. Let’s get to the iconic soundtrack of this film. I think I know the words to all the songs, which I am very proud of.
AH: I cannot say the same. While there are a few songs and musical moments etched in my mind, many had not stuck with me. I did not remember the song “I Have Confidence,” but now I think it should be my new anthem. We will all be better off listening to this soundtrack every day.
AM: Maria’s undying confidence, even when she’s just faking it ‘til she makes it, is something I have always admired. She is sassy, a little bit naive, but certainly not afraid to speak her mind. It’s easy to see how she swoops in and alters the Von Trapp family for the better.
AH: Maria is kind of Mary Poppins 2.0. And prior to rewatching the film, I hadn’t put together how many things in life I associate with “The Sound of Music,” primarily thunderstorms and gazebos.
AM: Every time I find myself in a gazebo, I’m tempted to run around and dance like Liesl and Rolfe do in “Sixteen Going on Seventeen.” Speaking of which — Liesl is supposed to be 16. Good one.
AH: And that somehow makes her significantly less experienced in life than Rolfe, who is 17? If “The Sound of Music” has taught me anything, it’s that I must find someone older and wiser who tells me what to do. I love Rodgers and Hammerstein, but I would have appreciated some more uplifting messaging.