A Tribute: Why The Sound of Music is still One of Everyone’s Favorite Things

By Wednesday, March 18, 2015 , ,

Maybe you’re like me and barely remember a time that you weren’t familiar with The Sound of Music and all of its cheerful melodies. Or maybe you remember exactly when it first wrote on your life that was previously an empty page (so says Rolfe). Either way, it’s undeniable that The Sound of Music is a well-known classic that can coax a smile from most and that plenty will continue to watch for a long time. Recently, media everywhere has been revisiting the movie for its 50th anniversary this year, commemorating its delights with the film’s stars and with descendants of the real von Trapp family. I find it all perfectly enchanting. There was a time in my childhood when my sister and I watched The Sound of Music literally on repeat for several months, and I still enjoy it today. At the risk of being unoriginal, I decided to give a little tribute here to this longtime favorite. After all, fifty years of steady popularity for a movie is quite an accomplishment, and there are some very good reasons why The Sound of Music remains one of my (and almost everyone else’s) favorite things.

 1) There is something for everyone and every age
When I was little, I think the presence of children in the movie resonated with me, and the happy songs and dancing drew me in every time. Though I still listen to the songs unapologetically, now, the historical setting, breathtaking Austrian scenery, and story of family fascinate me on deeper levels. The centrality of the seven children brings a fresh, youthful innocence and energy to the movie that isn’t seen as often in films anymore, and whenever I hear “Do-Re-Mi” now, I like to entertain dreams of frolicking across a grassy hilltop in the Austrian countryside. There’s also now the advantage of understanding the historical context, and the dangers of war and Nazi tyranny the family faced make their journey and the joyful message all the more admirable and hopeful.

2) Interesting, dynamic characters
I’m a stickler for good, developing characters in a story, and The Sound of Music has plenty. From the stern captain, to jovial Maria, to the energetic children, the film is full of growing up, self-realization, and learning to love. Captain von Trapp’s softening is perhaps the most noticeable development, and I also enjoy watching 16-going-on-17 Liesl transition from a somewhat flighty teenager to a thoughtful young lady. Maria’s cheerfulness and journey of falling in love with the children and the captain also bring a smile on almost any day. It’s practically impossible to stay in a bad mood once I start humming “My Favorite Things” to myself.

3) Family is upheld
Somewhere between the songs, the children, and the message of family and love lies the secret of the success of The Sound of Music, so says Julie Andrews, the ever-classy British dame who will forever be branded in the minds of multitudes as Maria von Trapp. I certainly agree that the theme of family holds some of the secret. In so many movies now, children are encouraged to grow up too early and parents are seen as unnecessary or uninformed. Not so in The Sound of Music. All members of the family are exalted as ones to be loved, respected, and supported, and together, they form a cohesive, adoring unit. And the children are indeed children – vivacious, adventurous, imaginative, and innocent. It’s refreshing to watch, and I think we could use more of it in today’s films.

So, sometime in the next few weeks, do yourself a favor and settle in to revisit this timeless favorite. I know I intend to, hopefully (if an Easter basket “surprise” comes through) with the brand new 5-Disc Collector’s Edition that will not only bring the gorgeous Austrian scenery to life in digitally restored brilliancy, but also offer bonus material and behind-the-scenes secrets to my nerdy heart’s content. Maybe I’ll even enjoy tea with jam and bread while I’m at it.

Picked up this gem a couple of weeks ago. If you're like me in that you enjoy nerding out over bonus features and movie secrets, it's most certainly worth reading!

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