The Sound Of Music (50th Anniversary Edition)

The Sound Of Music (50th Anniversary Edition)

Like South Pacific a handful of years earlier, the 1965 film adaptation of The Sound of Music helped slake what was proving to be an inexhaustible thirst for stories about World War II—in this case, of a cheerful young governess caring for the children of an Austrian Naval officer at the dawn of the Nazi occupation. Played by Julie Andrews—who’d broken through in America in part because of her work with Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II in 1957’s Cinderella—Maria von Trapp became an avatar for a kind of bootstrap optimism that resonated especially powerfully with an American audience rebounding from war into the suburban, baby-booming era in which the movie came out. The film would become a generation-defining smash, with songs that became vertebrae in the spine of American culture—tunes that were reborn and reinterpreted in numerous forms, from jazz standards (“My Favorite Things”) to grade-school mnemonics (“Do-Re-Mi”). Decades later, The Sound of Music sing-alongs would keep millions of moviegoers humming along to what might be Rodgers & Hammerstein’s most beloved show. Sadly, Hammerstein didn’t live to see it, having died from cancer in 1960. Commenting on the music’s optimism just a few months before his death, he said it was important to acknowledge the bad in the world—but at least as important to acknowledge the good.

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