Watch-along-a- “The Sound of Music”
Salzburg beckons, so I’m immersing myself in “The Sound of Music” to maximise my appreciation of the sights and sounds. Mozart eatcherheartout!
Pull up a chair and a bowl of popcorn and listen a-while as I drive you nuts with constant interjections and observations about the movie as we go.
Bit of a quiet start. Makes you wonder if you’ve got the sound up loud enough. Good mountains though. The twittering of the birds is taken up by the woodwind section. Ooh, I wonder if we’ll see that castle in the lake. It’s a bit like Eilean Donan Castle…
Hold on, here she comes.. and spin…
“The Sound of Music”
Cut to the bells chiming – don’t forget your habit! Off she goes. And we’re into the title sequence. Very fancy font. I don’t think they’d get away with this long a medley these days. Nice views of Salzburg. Hope I’m paying enough attention… I’m sure these credits would be better off at the end. But maybe it’s quite far to the abbey and they’re making her run there in real time.
Choral singing in the Abbey and nuns are heading in for prayers. I never liked their snoods (wimples?). Very wrinkly. I like Reverend Mother’s cuffs though.
Maria is missing. Some dodgy acting and contrived lines. But anyway…
“How do you solve a problem like Maria?”
Ah! “Flibbertygibbet” – great word. A flighty woman. Or something to do with escaping the gallows. I think these nuns are wearing quite heavy make-up.
And here she comes, so late that she needn’t have rushed. As well to be hung for a sheep as a lamb and all that.
So, she’s summoned to see Reverend Mother, whose wallpaper is far too dark. And Maria is sent away to the Von Trapps on a childminding gig.
Great. Here she comes. Immediate flashbacks to a Dawn French sketch of “I have confidence”. Such a great outfit – with that orange UFO for a hat and a carpet bag, just like the one Anne of Green Gables used to have. And a guitar like mine.
“I have confidence”
There’s a fountain I should be paying attention to! Note to self: flick the fountain.
And here she is at the big iron gates. That’s quietened her down a bit. I think she’s impressed with the hallway. She shouldn’t be snooping, but she can’t help herself. More dim decor. She’s going to be sprung. What is she doing? Sprung! Here he is: Captain Von Trapp. He even has a Harrison Ford chin scar. Too much make-up though. Sounds like a train coming, but it’s the children. And one is missing from the duckling parade. Here she is. Now they are introduced.
“Reverend Captain”: good one.
Mr Frosty has gone and they are at ease. Think Gretel might want to audition as Princess Leia with that hairdo.
And Maria’s late again. And all the children have changed for dinner. What a palaver that would be in real life. I think Christopher Plummer’s make up in the scene makes him look almost ill.
Enter Rolf. Trousers are a bit tight.
And we get the first mention of the Baroness and Uncle Max. Liesel is out at the pagoda with Rolf. Just as well she changed for dinner. And the first hints about the Anschluss.
“I am sixteen going on seventeen”
Rolf’s singing voice is a bit high. And here we go with the misogynist lyrics. And then the rain comes on and they are into the handy pagoda. And a farcical big kiss and an off-key squeal.
Enter Leisel, through the window. Looking a bit wet. And in real life, she’d wipe her face a bit. So, they are all choreographed on the bed. Quite tricky to get them all on, I’d imagine. But Liesel is still in the bathroom I suppose.
“A Few of My Favourite Things”
Oh, and here’s the Captain again, with the aura of Darth Vader. And Maria LIES to him about Liesel’s evening. Did she learn nothing at the Abbey!?
Now she has her brainwave about the curtains and has a wee reprise visualising the flock lederhosen she’s going to run up the next day. I can’t help suspecting that there’ s not actually enough of that fabric there for them all. But here they come…
Ooh! Will I cross that bridge? Looks like a good place for a view. And then a square and then the horse fountain again. Flick! But I won’t be kidding on I can’t juggle at the market.
With an Alpine backdrop, Maria solves the children’s attention-seeking behaviour. Pass the guitar.
Genius song. I don’t know how anyone would have learned to sing without it. I was going to do a mini-series, each post being a different note… maybe….
Change scene, change clothes, change view.
Synchronised cycling. Bit hazardous, I’d imagine.
More fountain shots. Different horse. Now a gateway, another fountain, and now to the staircase. Sadly there won’t be enough of us to to the staircase thing. But I couldn’t hit that top note anyway.
“How fake is that background?” asks SOS. Good point. Here we have Max, who reminds me of Bruno Tonioli or that guy that used to wheel and deal with the St Trinian’s girls. The Baroness certainly has a better hair-do than Maria, and a better outfit. But she doesn’t seem very relaxed. She looks a bit like a city-slicker. I think the brick-orange suit clashes a bit with the setting. How much of a scrounger is Max? As soon as Georg leaves, the Baroness and Max lapse into their natural characters.
Here comes Rolf again, chucking stones at the house and is sprung. The Hitler salute. So Von Trapp doesn’t like that.
Here come the children in the boat. And they’re all in the water. Great reaction from the Baronness. Maria’s looking a bit wet and must have some sturdy corsetry going on to maintain that figure. Maria goes for it. Home truths. It’s like they are married already. “Captain, Fraulein”. Great.
And in the background we hear the children singing. A quick change into their uniforms. A few bars, and he’s smitten. All of a sudden they’ve worked out parts! I think the getting-dad’s-attention strategy has worked. And Maria has wormed her way out of a momentary sacking. Phew.
“The Lonely Goatherd”
Good to see the ballroom getting some use. Quite an intricate presentation. He must have been in Vienna for quite some time for them to rehearse all that.
The baroness is beginning to look a little shaky in her domination of the Captain’s affections, her eyes flitting back and forth with uncertainty. And we get Eidelweiss. Go Leisel.
After that the Baroness doesn’t know where to look. And no one hands her the guitar. Maybe they should have. She tries to capitalise on the music theme and orders up a party. Now Maria is the wet blanket, announcing bed time.
So the orchestra that has been off stage is now fully present and the house is filled with guests and the Austrian flag is looking a bit prominent in the hallway. Some disapproving looks from a wee guy with a ferret moustache.
Now Leisel echoes Maria’s pretending-to-dance from the beginning, when she was doing her snooping when she first arrived. Luckily Frederick saves her from her solo. And then it’s Maria and Frederick, and here’s Mr Austria at the doorway. Cutting in, and away they go. And they are rumbled by the Baroness who can see the sexual chemistry, even before the soft focus sends Maria into a flushed lather. Faculty loss.
“So Long, Farewell”
Silly pronunciation of “and you”. Nice falsetto gag. Star of the show: Gretel. And then all the guests chime in on the last word…. eh…naw…
Max is mixing it a bit, inviting Maria to the party, and the Baroness isn’t going to take it! And the Captain manages to rile a Nazi.
The two women are in the bedroom the Baroness messes with Maria’s head. And with the intended result. Poor Max gets stood up and Maria is out of the picture. Then the Baroness goes and gets her man, while Maria gets on the worst outfit again and leaves a post-it with her apologies.
The best scene in the whole movie. The children are playing with the Baroness and she is hopeless. Ungainly in heels and hopeless with children. All a bit forced. Great acting. Give this woman a pink lemonade. Then, horrors, we discover she’s going to send them off to boarding school. Boo! And the va-va-voom has gone out of their singing. And here’s the bold Georg, looking a bit lacklustre also. Pink Lemonade – “just too pink”. And then the killer line: “You’re going to have a new mother”. Not really the turning point he was hoping. Bit of a damp squib. And the kissing is great. Loving Kurt.
Not liking the mother their father has chosen, they are off down the Abbey to select a new one. Gretel’s sore finger isn’t enough to get Maria out of seclusion.
Back to Reverend Mother’s wallpaper emporium. What’s sister Margeretta eavesdropping for? “I can’t face him again” – ah – so now it’s confidential! I think Reverend Mother is impressed she’s managed to land such a big fish in such a short time. And now we’re back to fording streams and all that.
“Climb Every Mountain”
What is with the poor lighting in that song? Luckily there’s a window to allow Maria to see the light at the end. What a high-note! Again, visions of Dawn French.
Now we have the berry-picking web of deceit. And a “Favourite Things” reprise. And here she is again. No improvement in the haircut, but at least someone is going to be suitably interested in Gretel’s fingers.
So, she’s a little deflated hearing that the Captain is engaged, but no matter. And here’s is the Baroness, quivering with triumph. But she has a bit of a Gordon Brown smile.
The Balcony Scene: The captain is rumbled, ogling Maria from the balcony and the Baroness starts gibbering on. Maria has messed with his head by coming back. The Baroness is fully aware of the subtext. As she suspects, he is about to cut through her ramblings to chuck her. She concedes immediately and has enough graciousness to claim that she has had a Plan B all along. So, she leaves with damp eyes and sparkle. I think we like her as she leaves. She also gets one of the best lines: “And somewhere out there is a young lady, who I think will never be a nun.” Very perceptive. “Auf Weidersen, Darling…”
And now the bit that annoys me. Dramatic irony. Maria doesn’t know what has gone down back at the ranch. And then he comes along, holding all the cards and hits out with a patronising tone, not enlightening her for ages. He’s acting all innocent and wants her to confess love, even although he knows she thinks he’s engaged. And he’s giggling. And asking annoying questions. She has to use her cover story, but that’s not what he wants to hear. And then he tells her. The baroness is history. I feel soft focus coming on. Kissing. Eek!
Quite a turning point. It’s all going Maria’s way.
“Perhaps I had a wicked childhood”
And into silhouette. Ew. More kissing. And straight to an engagement.
And it’s wedding day!
For once she gets to wear a decent dress. If only the same could be said for her “coming-down-the-aisle” tune! “A flibbertigibbet, a willow-the-wisp, a clown”. And the poor nuns stuck behind bars. Are all the guests in the pews all his friends? But then, I suppose this is how Maria was solved. And that’s one serious mitre on that priest.
Lots of clanging of bells. And the Nazis have taken over. Lots of marching and swastikas. And fast driving. Here they come, to harass Max. And Max gets to do his honeymoon gag.
Here’s Rolf. He’s gone all uppity. And Nazi. I think Liesel could do better.
There’s a big swastika flag on the front of the house, but the Captain makes short work of it. Now here they are. Maria has lost her virginal sheen and is wearing a suit. I think she suits it better than those dodgy dresses.
And then the telegram is handed over. Surely Maria could have had a better haircut by now. How long since she left the Abbey for the first time? Now they’re calling her “Mother”? And her hair has grown not a single millimetre.
“You are sixteen going on seventeen”
Berlin. The Nazis are after him. So they plan a miniature exodus and wait until nightfall.
It’s oh so quiet. And then Kurt nearly lands them in it. But either way: sprung! It’s the Nazis. Are we meant to blame the butler? There they are with their lights blazing. Great line coming up: “Well apparently we are both suffering from a deplorable lack of curiosity.”
Only now does the Captain appreciate all Max’s efforts in getting the family Von Trapp into the festival. Travelling clothes as costumes… pfff…lame excuse Maria. If it were me, it would be comfy leggings and a loose T-shirt.
So we are now at the festival with the wee archways, row on row, reminiscent of the Muppets’ title sequence. And they sure sing passionately about jam and bread. And then he gets all political. “Eidelweiss” again. The Nazi bloke is looking a bit uncomfortable. No wonder. Place is full of Austrians. And then his voice packs in. Not so Maria. And then the whole place leaps into life. “Bloom and Grow Forever”. But Maria is an octave above.
Now the most memorable two words in the whole movie. Max says “Even now…” and you realise how close he is to getting sucked into the Nazi Navy and away to war. He is surrounded. Good rhubarb rhubarb from the audience.
“So long, farewell”
I’d have thought the Captain should have been first off, rather than last off, so he could have got a head start to the convent. And why did they go there? It’s the first place I’d have looked for an ex-nun in Salzburg.
And off they go…
Then we have the comic relief from the woman who came in third. And then the runners up. And a few false fanfares for the winning Von Trapps.
And then “They’ve gone!” The Nazi guy smelt a rat and was foiled!!
Then the scramble to the convent. The Nazis are getting impatient at the gate. Nazis all over the place across the courtyard and in the cloisters. And the family go away into the graves and get locked in. Spooky. So, the borders are shut and they come up with plan B – walking over the mountains.
This is the scary bit. They have to be so so quiet or they’ll be sprung. People have been sprung a lot in this movie. This is the one time they must not be sprung. So put a sock in it Gretel. Who has they key for the gate? Did Reverend Mother give it to Von Trapp? Must have.
The Nazis shake all the doors. It is just like that bit in the toilets in “Witness” with Harrison Ford.
Shoogle, shoogle, reverberate, reverberate. Silence. And repeat.
They manage to keep their travelling clothes behind the grave stones and most of the Nazis give up. But not Rolf. Leisel takes a sharp intake of breath and I think lands them in it. Rolf hides.
Out them come. I don’t know why they come out so soon. I’d have waited a few hours.
It all hangs on Rolf. Nazis or Leisel?
The Captain’s psychology backfires a bit. He manages not to get shot, but by claiming Rolf as not-a-Nazi, that makes him yell out and then it all kicks off.
And away they go.
Then the nuns get their gag in, with the random bits of engine they have taken from the Nazis’ cars.
Cut to the spectacular mountain scenery and the Von Trapps climbing every mountain until they find their dream.
So, there we go.
I look along the couch to see who is still watching with me….
Right. Cup of tea, anyone?
With jam and bread?
Tea with Jam and bread with jam and bread with jam and bread with jam and bread and bread!!!!