When I was 19, my parents took me to Europe. (Don't get so excited! We flew space-available and I was annoyed at having to leave my beloved college town, Austin, for even a few days. My mother likes to recall that I was much more pleasant after a glass of wine with dinner.) Anyway, one of the main things I remember about that trip, aside from how totally gorgeous Switzerland is, is being forced to endure a full-day trapped in a minivan with a bunch of other American tourists on a Sound of Music tour in Austria. The soundtrack played nonstop as we traveled swervy mountain roads to scenic stops from the famous movie about the Von Trapp Family Singers.
Quite some time has passed since then and I am happy to report that I can now watch The Sound Of Music 45th Anniversary Edition, which came out on Blu-ray/DVD a few weeks ago, without wincing.
I will assume that everyone in the entire world knows the premise of this film, but in case you don't, here's the run-down from Amazon.com:
When Julie Andrews sang "The hills are alive with the sound of music" from an Austrian mountaintop in 1965, the most beloved movie musical was born. To be sure, the adaptation of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II's Broadway hit has never been as universally acclaimed as, say, Singin' in the Rain. Critics argue that the songs are saccharine (even the songwriters regretted the line "To sing through the night like a lark who is learning to pray") and that the characters and plot lack the complexity that could make them more interesting. It's not hard to know whom to root for when your choice is between cute kids and Nazis.
It doesn't matter. Audiences fell in love with the struggling novice Maria (Andrews), the dashing Captain von Trapp (Christopher Plummer), and, yes, the cute kids, all based on a real-life World War II Austrian family. Such songs as "My Favorite Things," "Do Re Mi," "Climb Every Mountain," and the title tune became part of the 20th century Zeitgeist. In addition, The Sound of Music officially became a cult hit when audiences in London began giving it the Rocky Horror Picture Show treatment, attending showings dressed as their favorite characters and delivering choreographed comments and gestures along with the movie. --David Horiuchi
Disclosure: I received a copy of the newly-released The Sound Of Music 45th Anniversary Edition to facilitate this review. I think I know what my mom's getting for Christmas.