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The Sound of Music

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The Sound of Music is a 1965 American musical film directed by Robert Wise and starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The film is based on the Broadway musical The Sound of Music, with songs written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, the musical book written by the writing team of Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, and the screenplay written by Ernest Lehman. Based on the book The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria von Trapp, the film is about a young woman who leaves an Austrian convent to become a governess to the seven children of a naval officer widower. The Sound of Music contains several popular songs, including "Edelweiss", "My Favorite Things", "Climb Ev'ry Mountain", "Do-Re-Mi", "Sixteen Going on Seventeen", "The Lonely Goatherd", and the title song, "The Sound of Music".

The Sound of Music was filmed on location in Salzburg, Austria; the state of Bavaria in Germany; and at the 20th Century Fox studios in California, USA. It was photographed in 70mm Todd-AO format by Ted D. McCord. The film won a total of five Academy Awards including Best Picture and displaced Gone with the Wind as the highest-grossing film of all-time. The cast album was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Album of the Year.

In 2001, the United States Library of Congress selected the film for preservation in the National Film Registry as it was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".


PlotEdit

In a high mountain pasture above Salzburg, Austria, a young woman named Maria (Julie Andrews) finds musical inspiration in the stunning beauty of the surrounding Alps ("The Sound of Music"). Living as a postulant at Nonnberg Abbey, Maria is constantly getting into mischief to the consternation of the nuns and the Mother Abbess ("Maria"). After receiving a request from a widowed Austrian naval captain for a governess for his seven children, Mother Abbess asks Maria to accept the position, and Maria reluctantly agrees ("I Have Confidence").

When she arrives at the von Trapp estate, Maria discovers that Captain Georg von Trapp (Christopher Plummer) keeps it in strict shipshape order, uses a whistle to summon his children, issues orders, and dresses his children in sailor-suit uniforms. Although initially hostile toward her—as with their previous governesses—the children warm to her when she comforts them during a thunderstorm ("My Favorite Things"). The oldest child, Liesl (Charmian Carr), who is "Sixteen Going on Seventeen", sneaks into Maria's window after a secret rendezvous with a messenger boy, Rolfe (Daniel Truhitte). At first she is adamant that she "doesn't need a governess", but Maria offers to be her friend, and she acquiesces. In the coming days, Maria teaches the children how to sing ("Do-Re-Mi") and to play, making playclothes for them from the old drapes in her room.

Meanwhile, the Captain welcomes a visit from a lady friend, Baroness Elsa Schroeder (Eleanor Parker), a wealthy socialite from Vienna, and a mutual family friend Max Detweiler (Richard Haydn), who is intent on finding a novel musical act for the upcoming Salzburg Festival. The Captain is not pleased to learn that Maria has been taking the children on picnics and bicycle rides, climbed trees, and going on boat rides on the lake at the estate. After watching the boat capsize upon its return—throwing Maria and the children into the water in the clothes made from old curtains—he confronts Maria in anger. When she begs him to pay attention to the children and love them, he furiously orders her to return to the abbey.

When the Captain hears the children singing "The Sound of Music" for the Baroness, he apologizes to Maria and begs her to stay—grateful that she's brought music back into his home. Maria agrees, and soon she and the children perform a puppet show ("The Lonely Goatherd") at the house. When Max announces that he has entered the children in the Salzburg Festival, the Captain forbids their participation. Maria and the children encourage him to sing a song, knowing he used to sing and play guitar. With his loving family listening, the Captain sings "Edelweiss".

Some time later, the Captain organizes a banquet in honor of Baroness Schroeder. As eleven-year-old Kurt (Duane Chase) watches the guests dancing the Laendler, he asks Maria to teach him the steps. When he sees Maria dancing in the moonlight, the Captain cuts in and partners her in a graceful performance, culminating in a close embrace. Maria breaks away and blushes, confused about her feelings. Later, the children perform "So Long, Farewell" to say goodnight to the guests. Afterwards, the Baroness, jealous of Maria, convinces her to return to the abbey.

Back at the abbey, Maria keeps herself in seclusion until Mother Abbess gently confronts her, urging her to "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" in search of God's will for her. Maria returns to the von Trapp family. When she discovers that the Captain is now engaged to the Baroness, she agrees to stay until they find a replacement governess. Soon, the Captain breaks off the engagement, realizing that he is in love with Maria. At the gazebo, they declare their love for each other, and the two share a romantic kiss ("Something Good"). Soon after, the two are married in an elaborate ceremony in the cloister church at Mondsee, with many of Austria's elite, as well as the nuns from Nonnberg Abbey, in attendance ("Maria (reprise)").

While the Captain and Maria are on their honeymoon in Paris, Max enters the children in the Salzburg Music Festival against their father's wishes. Austria has also been annexed into the Third Reich in the Anschluss. When they return, the Captain is informed by telegram that he must report as soon as possible to the German Naval Headquarters in Bremerhaven to accept a commission in the German Navy. Strongly opposed to Nazism, the Captain tells his family they must leave Austria.

As the von Trapp family attempts to leave during the night, they are stopped by Nazi guards outside their estate. They tell the guards that they must perform that night in the Salzburg Festival. Hans Zeller (Ben Wright), the recently appointed Nazi Gauleiter, agrees to accompany them to the hall, but insists that the Captain depart for Germany immediately after the performance. Later that night, during their final number, "So Long, Farewell", the family escapes with help from Max.

The von Trapp family seeks shelter from the patrolling guards at the abbey cemetery, but are soon discovered by Rolfe—now a proud Nazi—who threatens to shoot the Captain. The Captain is able to disarm the boy, who then calls for help. After the family escapes in a waiting car, the Nazis try to pursue, but their cars will not start—the nuns having removed the spark plug wires and ignition coils. The next morning, the von Trapp family are hiking over the Alps into Switzerland and freedom ("Climb Ev'ry Mountain").


CastEdit

  • Julie Andrews as Maria von Trapp, a free-spirited young Austrian woman, studying to become a nun. Due to her often singing and running seeming somewhat out of place in the abbey, Mother Abbess sends her to the nearby city of Salzburg to be governess to the seven children of Captain von Trapp.
  • Christopher Plummer as Captain Georg von Trapp, a veteran Austrian navy captain whose wife died, leaving behind their seven children. He extends his military background into raising them, at first represented as a strict disciplinarian. However, his attitude toward both the children and Maria softens considerably after she reintroduces music into the family. His singing voice was dubbed by Bill Lee.
  • Richard Haydn as Max Detweiler, a good friend of both the Baroness and the Captain, and an impresario. In searching Salzburg for talented singers, he finds what he wants in the von Trapp family, and constantly tries to convince the Captain to let him enter the children in the Salzburg Music Festival.
  • Eleanor Parker as Baroness Elsa Schraeder, the Captain's lady friend from Vienna, and later fiancée for a short period. She becomes jealous of Maria's talent, and convinces her to leave during a grand party at the house by exploiting her inner conflict about becoming a nun and her discomfort at the Captain's obvious affection towards her.
  • Charmian Carr as Liesl von Trapp, the first and eldest child, sixteen "going on seventeen". She believes she doesn't need a governess at first, but soon comes to trust Maria. She is in love with a messenger named Rolfe, who delivers their telegrams, but he later betrays her and her family.
  • Nicholas Hammond as Friedrich von Trapp, the second child, fourteen. He is very quiet and is also something of a gentleman, despite his involvement in the tricks against the previous governesses, which the children confess were merely to get the Captain's attention. After Maria arrives, he tells her that he "is impossible" according to "Fraulein Josephine: four governesses ago".
  • Heather Menzies as Louisa von Trapp, the third child, thirteen. She and Brigitta are often together, and she is a bit of a daydreamer. Her two favorite tricks on governesses are to fill their beds with spiders and pretend that she is one of the other girls, such as Brigitta- she tries this ruse on Maria, but fails.
  • Duane Chase as Kurt von Trapp, the fourth child and youngest boy, eleven. He often tries to act manly and is outspoken against the previous governesses and often questions Maria about things, once trying to learn an Austrian folk dance.
  • Angela Cartwright as Brigitta von Trapp, the fifth child, ten. She is very sharp-witted, honest, somewhat nonconformist, and not afraid to speak her mind about things (e.g., Maria's dress being ugly). Brigitta also reads books as she first appears. Maria later remarks that Brigitta notices everything.
  • Debbie Turner as Marta von Trapp, the sixth child- she is six when Maria meets her, but announces that her seventh birthday is approaching. She gets along well with Maria. She is the first child to show Maria kindness. She shares Maria's love of the colour pink, and hopes to get a pink parasol for her birthday.
  • Kym Karath as Gretl von Trapp, the seventh and youngest child, five. She initially comes across as shy- her father has to give Maria her name- but she's soon warm towards Maria.
  • Peggy Wood as Mother Abbess, the head of Nonnberg Abbey, who convinces Maria to leave there and explore life as a governess for a while. When she returns, she has her explain why she left and realizes she is in love, and convinces her to return and face her problems, to see what might come of this love. Peggy Wood was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars for her performance. Her singing voice was dubbed by Margery McKay.
  • Anna Lee as Sister Margaretta, a nun who looks fondly on Maria. She, as well as Sister Berthe, helps her to escape by sabotaging the cars of the Gauleiter and his soldiers.
  • Portia Nelson as Sister Berthe, a nun who does not believe Maria belongs in the abbey; she nevertheless helps her escape by sabotaging the cars of the Gauleiter and his soldiers.
  • Marni Nixon as Sister Sophia. She appeared on screen first telling her opinion to the nuns about Maria and then singing for herself. She was cast in the role by director Robert Wise.
  • Daniel Truhitte as Rolfe, a messenger who is in love with Liesl. The two become estranged after his enthusiasm for the Nazi cause leads him to forsake Liesl, partly as he realises that her father does not support Adolf Hitler and thus has no regard for him.
  • Ben Wright as Herr Zeller, Gauleiter, an enthusiast for the Third Reich and the Anschluss, and the main antagonist of the film. He is oppositional against the Captain as early on as the party held for the Baroness. After the Anschluss he is appointed Gauleiter of the region.
  • The famous marionette puppet sequence for the song "The Lonely Goatherd" was produced and performed by the leading puppeteers of the day, Bil Baird and Cora Eisenberg-Baird.

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