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Some movies are a guilty pleasure, the sort that you wouldn't admit to enjoying but secretly like. I feel that way about The Sound of Music. I like it but I shouldn't. It's sentimental, uplifting and gloriously cheesy. The Austrian scenery is gorgeous and the music is catchy. It will never be considered a classic by the critics but it has entertained millions of people since its release in 1965. Fans adore it, seeing it countless times and even going to the cinema showings where they put the song lyrics up and you can sing along. It's a sort of communal karaoke with people dressed as nuns, sitting in the front row.
I think that the main reason for its incredible success is the performance of Julie Andrews as Maria. She has an amazing voice and her personality lights up the screen. It's an antidote to the grittier, cynical films that I tend to watch. Of course, the Nazis do make an appearance but they don't stand a chance in the face of songs like My Favorite Things and Climb Every Mountain.
For anyone who has just dropped in from Mars, the story concerns a rebellious trainee nun, played by Andrews who accepts the post of governess to Captain Von Trapp's family. The widowed Captain, played b Christopher Plummer, is a distant man who finds it difficult to control his seven children. The children all adore their new governess and she and the Captain eventually fall in love. The Sound of Music is based on the true life escapades of the real Von Trapp family who toured the world as a choir, after evading German soldiers during World War II.
The opening scene is one of the best of any film. The camera sweeps majestically across the mountain range and zooms in on Julie Andrews as she breaks into song. The movie was shot around Salzburg and there is a thriving industry surrounding The Sound of Music, with organized tours of all the locations used.
The interest in the musical goes on. Andrew Lloyd Webber, who's been responsible for a few hits of his own, is putting The Sound of Music on stage in his new production. The search for someone to play Maria was on, and a talent show was broadcast on UK television to find an unknown to play the part. Lloyd Webber judged the contestants and viewers also voted for their favorite. A winner was found and a very happy young woman has been plucked from a job in a call center to star in the show.