My favourite things about The Sound of Music

Why is The Sound of Music a classic? What is it about this film that continues to entertain the next generation? It’s not just one thing that makes this movie a classic. It’s a number of things, some of which are only small.

First off, it’s the story. It blew my mind when I discovered it was based on a true story. We follow Maria as she learns who she is & where she wants to be. We see Captain von Trapp change through music and the love of his children. We see the children become children again. We see the Baroness realise it’s no good to try & stand in the way of true love. We see the Von Trapp family overcome the Nazi’s. We all smile when the Nazi comes out to announce that the Von Trapps are gone. Which leads me to my favourite moment in the film. When the nuns admit to taking the car parts out of the Nazi’s engines. Love it.

The characters and the acting also make this film timeless. I honestly love all of the characters in this movie, even the Baroness, but actually not the Nazi’s. We fall in love with Maria (Julie Andrews) instantly from her spectacular scene at the films opening. Captain von Trapp (Christopher Plummer) changes for the better as the film goes on. I absolutely love when he sings for the first time with the children watching on with shock & awe. I also love when he sings Edelweiss, both in the middle and in the end. When he sings in the show at the end, it is such a triumphant moment. He is standing up for what he believes in, his country.

Then we have the love-story. Which is understated and beautiful. I’ve seen The Sound of Music plenty of times. What I didn’t realise when I watched it as a little kid, is that it’s so obvious Maria and Captain von Trapp really like each other from the get-go. My absolute favourite scene is when they dance outside at the party. Again, it’s understated and we just watch out two heroes realise that they really do like one another. I also love that we get to see The Baroness see this too. I love her quip back to Captain von Trapp, “it looked rather warm to me”. Yes, it sure did Baroness. He looks at Maria a lot differently than how he looks at you!

Then of course the music.There’s classic song after classic song. They’re all catchy and fun to sing-a-long to. They also beautifully tell the story and how the characters are feeling. I don’t think you can help to sing, when you watch this movie.

But why of all the films ever made is The Sound of Music still loved today? I think it’s mainly about the film’s message and the values it portrays. It’s a good story about good people. It’s a love-story. It’s a triumphant story. It’s a story that is not just about following your dream, but about finding who you are & where you belong.

Which of course, is timeless.

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Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

I have to say in this day in age it is hard to find four hours to dedicate to anything. Re-watching Lawrence of Arabia was a great investment though.

From the overture of the film with Maurice Jarre’s score, you know you are in for a big, sweeping epic. A David Lean epic no less! This was my second time watching the film. The first time was over 5 years ago and I must admit, I found the start/end bookends a little confusing. This time I did get a greater grasp, but it is still an ambiguous end. Consequently, I have been thinking about the ending for a while after now. I think it’s better that you invest in a film & the filmmaker invests in you to contemplate and bring your own meaning to the film.

If you haven’t seen it before, it’s based on a real-life man, called T.E. Lawrence. Peter O’Toole plays Lawrence and Ali is his right-hand man, played by Omar Sharif. (Sharif also went on to star in Lean’s Doctor Zhivago (1965). Basically we follow Lawrence the entire film through the desert of Arabia. Lawrence is a British soldier who teams up with the Arabs in the Turkish Revolt.

What I love about the film is the character progressions (or regression). It really is a character film, my favourite kind of film. We follow Lawrence who goes from displaced British solider, to triumphant, honorary Arab and to a confused “ordinary” person. I guess it’s got such a strong sense of place and the Arabian desert is as much of a character as Lawrence and Ali are. The desert drives the action. It is serene at times, yet deadly at others. When Lawrence is adorned in his Arab white robes the desert seems magical. Just moments before the desert had threatened to kill him on his rescue mission for one of the men.

I do think the first half is a lot more enjoyable but probably because Lawrence is a lot more likeable as well. Not often in films do characters become more arrogant, confused and deadly. Usually it’s the other way round. The desert that appeared to save Lawrence and give him purpose originally, seems to haunt him by the end. Is it the desert or is he haunted by himself? I think a bit of both.

Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif are legends both in this film and throughout their careers. Imagine seeing this film in 1962 and not knowing who they were. You honestly would have been blown away. Lean did an incredible job and without this film, we probably wouldn’t have had Star Wars or Indiana Jones. You can really see the references these two films make in their production values when you bear it in mind watching Lawrence.

Lawrence of Arabia isn’t a typical war movie. Although it’s about a war – it’s real war is personal, inner conflict. From Lawrence wanting to rescue men initially to then enjoy killing them . To Ali’s tears over his friendship with Lawrence versus to staying true to himself and leaving Lawrence. The film packs more of a punch without showing graphic violence.

The film doesn’t answer who Lawrence is. It leaves it to us to question this. I still haven’t figured it out.

And I think that’s the point, you’re not meant to.