Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Sound of Music’s 50th Anniversary Revelations

Even though it premiered in theaters 50 years ago, the much beloved Rodgers and Hammerstein musical still has its own surprises to offer to both old and new fans? 

By: Ringo Bones 

Recent revelations about the much beloved 1959 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical turned cinema blockbuster – i.e. The Sound of Music – says that this 50 year old cinema classic isn’t just for your grandmother anymore. But what factoids – both esoteric and revelational - could it offer to both old time fans and the uninitiated? 

Just like The Golden Age of Stereo still fascinates young ones who’ve just discovered their soldering skills to cobble up single ended triode and pentode vacuum tube amplifiers that represent 1950s era high resolution sound that contemporary solid-state audio amplifiers from big consumer electronic firms still have trouble matching in sound quality terms, it seems like The Sound of Music – especially the movie version that stars Julie Andrews – still offers a unique zeitgeist of how the world view countries who pledge their loyalties to the Third Reich 20 years after their defeat and surrender. 

Even though it was later dubbed “The Sound of Money” weeks after its runaway blockbuster success after the initial March 2, 1965 opening in the United States, it seems like the producer and director Robert Wise has been blinded by the glory of the Marshall Plan as its lifesaving economic aid sweeps across Europe that were formerly controlled and then ravaged by the Third Reich. Take the song Edelweiss for instance, which is a cornerstone of the movie’s soundtrack and to be sung by Captain von Trapp. In truth, Edelweiss was a Rodger’s and Hammerstein construct and it is not an actual folksong in Salzburg, Austria signifying loyalty to the Austrian nation. Thus Robert Wise’s headache when he found out that no native Salzburg resident knew how to sing the song in either English of German. 

And let’s not forget the iconic boat scene where Julie Andrews is singing with the von Trapp kids. It seems to be the most idyll scene of the movie but almost ended in tragedy when the boat tipped over and one of the von Trapp kids almost drowned. And given the 50th Anniversary of The Sound of Music is a year long celebration in 2015, who knows what other revelatory factoids will emerge about this iconic cinema classic. 

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