best films: #31: THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965)
Call me a cheeseball if you will, but I am and always will be taken with the can-do attitude and impeccable singing voice of one Maria von Trapp and her band of merry Austrian children. From the hill-top opening sequence (still magnificent 45 years later, in my humble opinion) to the highly musically educational “Do Re Mi” to the rambunctious “Lonely Goatherd,” The Sound of Music is a timeless (well other than the whole WWII thing) film classic that still translates as cross-generational. I remember watching this on videocassette virtually every time I spent the night at my grandparents’ house, and it still impresses and amuses me more than a decade later. For starters, it’s hard to top the musical fortitude of Julie Andrews (and yes, she won the Oscar for the wrong movie, Mary Poppins). As the wayward nun Maria, Andrews is both boyish and adventuresome (I mean, who can pull of that bob haircut like her?) and motherly and whimsical in one fell swoop. Add to that Christopher Plummer (both still alive – how great would a second pairing of these two be?!), who’s pitch-perfect as the staunch and cold family man turned guitar-strumming, friendly dad, and you’ve got the makings of a great 1960s musical. Though Rodgers and Hammerstein arguably border on the obnoxious at times, some theater aficionados might say, I think The Sound of Music transcends most criticism. It has a fantastic musical score, it boasts some incredible performances from its leads, and it’s always a pleasure to look at with each repeat viewing.