This film is breathtakingly beautiful. I heard a man behind me gasp repeatedly during that sweeping intro through the mountains. (At least, I assume it was the imagery that rattled him and not a medical condition. I should have checked.)
When you mostly watch movies with friends and family or alone at home, the sudden thrills of a stranger in a dark room are a little weird, I must admit.
But the film is every bit as wonderful as it is on that dusty old VHS at home. Better, even. With The Sound of Music in the theater, you feel as if you're frolicking on the mountaintop with Maria (Julie Andrews), or dancing in the ballroom with the Captain (Christopher Plummer) and his lady love, Baroness Shraeder (Eleanor Parker).
The opulence of it all is displayed in the setting, the fabric...everywhere. You'll notice it more with larger pictures, of course.
- I never before noticed the rough weave on Maria's first few outfits as she leaves the abbey.
- The Captain's green cuffs and collar are made of velvet.
- As Maria, sent to become governess to the Captain's seven children, becomes accustomed to her surroundings, the Captain's wealth seeps into her clothing. The coarse fabrics gradually give way to smoother textures.
- Although Maria's wardrobe is upgraded, she still wears calf-length dresses like the children. The sultry Baroness doesn't show anything above her ankles.
- At the big party, Maria emerges from the greenery (nature); the Baroness emerges from the ballroom, looking like a beautiful Barbie dressed in spun sugar (refinement). They talk to the Captain on the patio where the rough outdoors and refinement meet.
- You wish you could spend more time in the Captain's ballroom, just to study the paintings on the wall.
- You'll notice the chandeliers in the ballroom are covered in muslin when we first see them. It is a forbidden room that the Captain has not used since his wife died. When music returns to the house, the light fixtures are resplendent at the party.
- There are little beads intricately woven onto the bodice of Liesl's party dress. (Not the famous dinner dress; the other one when she asks to taste her first champagne)
- The male children wear lederhosen obviously made of actual leather. On my VHS copy, they merely look like brown shorts.
- During the "Climb Every Mountain" number, the detail is remarkable. You can see the wood grain of the pole that Maria hangs onto as she listens to the Mother Abbess singing her advice.
- During that same song, there is that famous, half-shadowed, closeup profile of the Mother Abbess. On the big screen you notice her soft, corrugated wimple next to circles of glass behind her. The circles of glass make up the back wall which allows the light to shine through; she's almost glowing. It's a powerful scene.
- Layer upon layer... there are so many wonderful things to see. You just want to pause it and stare at the detail.
|Eleanor Parker as the Baroness|
About the audience of the showing.
- It was a packed house. Sold out.
- There was a range of ages. A silver-haired lady of a certain age quite jovially said, "You don't have a two-year old with you, have you?" I did not. " Oh good!," she said,. "That's why we moved from over there."
- There were some technical difficulties before the film began, so during the 20 minute wait, someone began singing one of the songs from the musical. I dreaded that this showing might become a singalong. It didn't.
- Someone started laughing ahead of the comic cue in the storyline, then stopped themselves and laughed on schedule with everyone else. Ah, the problems of watching your favorites in public. :)
- A few ladies in the audience expressed profound sadness with an "Aww" when the Baroness makes her teary-eyed speech. I never in my life pitied the character until then.
- At a seminal moment you could hear an audible sigh of relief from the audience when the Nazis leave the area.
- There was definite grumbling and revulsion when Liesl's boyfriend says her father had better obey the enemy if he knows what's good for him.
- I cried (as I do every time) when the Captain thinks of the homeland that no longer exists. When his voice cracks singing about his nation, I almost cannot watch it; it's so emotional.
The Sound of Music is a classic for many reasons: great cast and crew, storyline, music and source material. But it is also great because the attention to visual detail is staggering. Sure, it's a feast for the ears - it's a Rogers and Hammerstein musical. It is also a feast for the eyes.
I strongly recommend viewing a classic movie in your neighborhood, if it is convenient for you. It will add another layer of appreciation for the craft; you will see details you've never seen before; it might be the only time you'll have to see these films as they were meant to be seen - on the big screen.
- The Sound of Music is playing this evening (4/22/2015) at 2pm and 7pm local time. Click here for more information. (http://www.fathomevents.com/event/the-sound-of-music)
- To keep up with the schedule for classics in a theater near you, visit www.cinemark.com/cinemark-classic-series
- I love reviewing these big screen favorites. Here's another: I Could Smell The Sweat: West Side Story on the Big Screen
- Maria's Fashion and Character Critique in The Sound of Music