column by Robin Hendricks
Julie Andrews wowed audiences in 1965 with her clear tones and impressive vocal range
as she portrayed the persistently optimistic Maria on her mission to find a place where she belonged.
50 years later and the audience still claps after every song.
Regal Cinemas Columbiana Grande Stadium had a special showing of The Sound of
Music in celebration of the film’s 50th anniversary. It was part of Fathom Events, which shows entertainment of a slightly higher class than movies like Hot Tub Time Machine, like ballets and operas.
It wasn’t very different from any other movie showing. But there was an introduction
describing scheduling conflicts with the director and some trials the cast and crew went through during filming. Apparently, the helicopter that filmed the opening shot of Maria on the hill created too much wind with its propellers and knocked Andrews clean off her feet.
Watching the film as a young adult is completely different from watching it as a child.
Instead of just a happy-go-lucky musical of a nun becoming a wife and a mother, it is
filled to the brim with social, religious and political commentary.
When Maria dresses the children in homemade play clothes made from drapes and takes
them through Salsburg, the kids have the time of their life. But Captain von Trapp is appalled that his children were seen in such an undignified manner, as if they were poor. Children should not be treated differently because of social status or wealth, because in the end they are the same.
Maria’s transformation from nun to wife portrays a very effective theme. It is
possible to be pious while leaving your life, because everyone is meant for a different path.
The political undercurrents leach into the rest of the story, creating an urgency from the
first moment they’re introduced, conveying the happiness Maria and the von Trapps achieve will not last long without some major hurdles.
The Swastika flags that paint Salzburg adds a new chill down the spine. Von Trapp’s
tearing of the flag adds a new sense of pride for the character and a new understanding for his motives of leaving Austria.
This classic film offers new aspects for its once children viewers to mull over.