Take a Drink: for the sound… of music
Take a Drink: every time someone chastises Maria
Take a Drink: whenever Christopher Plummer is… efficient
Take a Drink: whenever the children are naughty
Take a Drink: whenever Plummer lays down a sick burn on someone
Do a Shot: if you’re like me, for every musical number if not… for Nazis?
By: Henry J. Fromage (Five Beers) –
I recently committed the cardinal sin of visiting Salzburg without having been steeped in The Sound of Music since I was a wee little teabag, so I was somewhat surprised to see its name plastered all over the place- tours, hotel packages, etc, etc. Did this beautiful Alpine city really need a touristic edge derived from a 50 year old musical? Was I missing some sort of essential cultural touchstone?
Does this make me a shambling shell of a human being?
Clearly, I watched the film right away upon returning home. It’s basically about the kind of Catholic novitiate that sports a fetching Audrey Hepburn-esque pixie haircut and runs around singing to the birds or whatever (Julie Andrews) whose convent pawns her off as a nanny to the family of a strict, Germanic, militaristic, but totally not Nazi retired navy (Austria’s navy clearly being a strategic priority) man (Christopher Plummer). She whips his six children, apparently some sort of hellbeasts who’ve driven off scores of nannies before, into shape in record time, even turning them into an excellent a capella group. Good thing none of them sound like orgasming goats when they sing (like I do)! Anyway, sprinkle in a love triangle here, some Nazis there, a little bit of frankly baffling geography, and oodles and oodles of musical numbers and voila! You’ve got yourself one crowd-pleasing whitewashed history of the 1940s musical sensation Von Trapp Family Singers!
Okay, I can see how this film pretty much replaces any need for Salzburg tourist brochures. The opening, with the camera flying over the green mountains and blue lakes of the surrounding countryside, or the many, many lovingly framed shots of the city itself, are stunning, and sort of make me want to go straight back again, and the rich interiors of the von Trapp family mansion are a nice counterpoint to all the *shudder* outdoors beauty. Director Robert Wise certainly knows how to cook up some eye candy.
Otherwise, the film has some low-key, but undeniable charms and not a few laughs, particularly from Andrews’s energetic performance and Richard Haydn’s sly dandy Max and his bon mots. Also, as always I can’t find any fault with a Christopher Plummer performance, and, at least until he starts fucking singing, he provides some much-needed gravitas and brooding intensity to his role. At parts he gave off a very Michael Fassbender-y vibe, so I’m not surprised of the, ahem, affect Captain von Trapp has had more than a few female comings of age.
Is it humid in here, or is it just me?
Sure, I could point out all of the historical, geographic, and emotional inaccuracies, take the sometimes cheesy comedy and cloyingly artificial sweetness to task, the sometimes creepy vibes of Plummer’s Mr… Reich, how characters pivot on a dime hot and fresh from the Plot Convenience Mint, or even Liesle’s hideous evil dolphin squeal….
What the fuck was THAAAATTT??????
…. but honestly, it’s the music. When people say they hate musicals, it’s this syrupy, teeth-rotting pap that they’re talking about.
Well, that’s both self-centered and a grammatical abomination.
Like, seriously lobotomized, taste-eroding…
What the fuck was THAAAATTT??????
Ain’t no burn like a Pauline Kael burn, so while I have to admit that I didn’t entirely hate this shiny, mindless bauble of a film, minus a musical number or seven, I’ll let her sum things up: “[The Sound of Music is] the sugar-coated lie people seem to want to eat” [and] “we have been turned into emotional and aesthetic imbeciles when we hear ourselves humming the sickly, goody-goody songs.”
“So Long, Farewell” sure is catchy, though…
I”m one of them now, aren’t I.