This has to be one of my favorite movies of all time, so I had to start my blog with this musical. Who didn't dream of growing up in a large family that sang choreographed songs in coordinating outfits made from curtains?!
For those of you who may not be familiar with this movie (and I hope there are none), it is Rodgers & Hammerstein's recreation of the real-life story of postulant Maria, played perfectly by Julie Andrews, who left Austria's Nonnberg Abbey, became a governess to seven motherless children, fell in love with their father Captain Von Trapp, and helped lead the singing family out of Nazi-occupied Austria to Switzerland (and then to America).
The Sound of Music is one of ten musicals to ever win in this category. Perhaps what helped it win was that it is a "bio-pic"- a movie based on real-life people or events; those tend to be favorites among the Academy. This wholesome film even surpassed "Gone With the Wind" (1939) as the #1 box office hit of all time. In 1965, this movie was up against "Darling", "Doctor Zhivago", "Ship of Fools", and "A Thousand Clowns", none of which I've seen, so I can't offer any honest commentary about how it deserved to win. I read that "Doctor Zhivago" had the same number of nominations (ten) and both DZ and SoM won five awards that night, so I bet it was a close race. According to me, however, this movie deserved to win.
Forty-five years after its release, this sentimental movie is just as celebrated as ever. Even Oprah had the cast on her show recently to commemorate this musical achievement in our history. Who out there can't sing a verse or at least hum a little of "My Favorite Things" or "Do, Re, Mi"? The music of this movie has become as famous, if not more famous, than the movie itself. Did the movie become so popular because of its Oscar win or did it win because it was simply brilliant? Both are true, I believe. It is a timeless story of love and perseverance.
My jaw drops every time I remember that the beautiful Julie Andrews was my age (29) when she filmed this movie. Her gorgeous voice and wonderful expressions should have lent her the award for Best Actress, but it didn't. I guess I'll have to settle for her win the previous year for another one of my favorites, "Mary Poppins".
In the summer of 2006, my wonderful husband and I traveled to Europe and decided to stop off in Salzburg, Austria and go on our own SoM tour. I got a map, grabbed us a couple of bikes, and headed off to find the filming locations or the inspirations for the movie. Thanks to our handy travel guide by Rick Steves, we discovered the Von Trapp family mansion used in the movie was actually two separate homes in Salzburg. One house was filmed only from the front when Maria first comes singing and skipping down the lane. A different house was filmed for the backside in order to have the lake behind it. Both of these houses were being lived in when we visited, so we tried avoiding looking like voyeurs as we snapped our pictures from a distance. (The inside of the mansion was filmed on a soundstage.) If any of you are lucky enough to visit this city too, make sure to stop by the gazebo now resting in a local park. And don't forget to check out the real Nonnberg Abbey and Salzburg Cemetary that served as inspirations for the movie sets.
The real Von Trapp family settled in Vermont after coming to the States and even opened a vacation Lodge for the public: http://www.trappfamily.com/. I'm sure this goes without stating, that staying at that Lodge is definitely on my Bucket List.
MY FAVORITE SCENE:
Maria takes the newly-clad children out in Salzburg and has many new adventures; they visit the farmers' market, ride in a carriage, learn to sing, have a picnic lunch, climb trees, and even ride along in (and fall out of) a boat. To me, it's a perfect scene to depict the fun and innocence of youth. The part that always makes me smile is pictured below... Maria teaches the children to sing with the gorgeous backdrop of the green Austrian mountains. The hills were truly alive with the sound of music!
Singing leads to happiness. Whether you're wishing for confidence, distracting yourself from a scary situation, or putting on a marionette show, singing simply makes you smile and feel better.
Children need fresh air and play clothes. Since I can't sew, I choose to buy them for my kiddos, but nonetheless, children need clothes they feel comfortable in while playing outdoors. There's something about fresh air that invigorates the soul (and wears them out for a good nap...)!
And on a more serious note...
The Lord will lead you where you need to be. Our Father has a plan for all of us. If we listen to Him and seek His will in our lives, we shall be content. When our lives become confusing and difficult, fervent prayer can lead us back to Him.