The Sound of Music Movie -
Where Were You on March 2nd 1965?
The Sound of Music movie was released on March 2nd 1965 after the Broadway stage production had finished. It was, and still is, a hugely successful movie. But what were the reasons for its success and for it being the most viewed movie of all time?
Maybe some of the reasons below can explain why Myra Franklin, a woman in Wales, has seen the movie 940 times………….Wow that’s even more times than I have watched it! Myra gained a place in the Guiness Book of World Records for viewing The Sound of Music on the big screen, more than any other person in history.
If you are unfamiliar with The Sound of Music story, read a brief summary. If you wish to read more about this wonderful musical, we have selected the best books that are available for you to purchase in our book store.
Its ultimate success (and the main difference between the stage production and The Sound of Music movie) was because the movie was filmed
on location in Salzburg. The beauty of the Austrian countryside, in particular the idyllic surrounding Salzkammergut region, made it ‘a blend of travelogue, a nature documentary, a musical and a cinematographic tour’.
Adapted for the screen by Ernest Lehman, the director, Robert Wise took this award winning Broadway musical, and turned it into a ‘cinematic wonder’. Salzburg had suddenly become the city of The Sound of Music, welcoming 300,000 Sound of Music fans a year, many of whom take
'The Original Sound of Music Tour'.
The Sound of Music score was originally written for the stage production by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein back in 1959. They were a brilliant team, composing music to perfectly fit the movie and stage scripts (written by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse) of The Sound of Music. Most of the songs have music written by Richard Rodgers and the lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, however Rodgers wrote two additional songs by himself after the death of Hammerstein in 1960; (any instrumental musical parts were written by Irwin Kostal). The songs are easy to remember, showing that Rodgers and Hammerstein were geniuses in composing catchy melodies.
‘This is a movie filled with exuberance, memorable songs and great beauty. A joy to be savoured’ - Steve Rhodes 1997
There were some changes from the original
Sound of Music stage show, one of which meant a few songs were cut for the movie. There were also a few songs from the movie version which were not in the original stage show. Other minor differences between the two productions included the ordering of some of the songs.
But whatever the differences, I am sure that everyone knows at least some of the songs from The Sound of Music movie!
The Sound of Music film is a good wholesome movie which is another reason for its phenomenal success. It can be viewed by children, adults and grandparents alike without worrying about whether it is suitable or not. It is a wonderful family classic, as there is
‘… no sex, nudity, violence or profanity’ - Steve Rhodes 1997
It is a top movie with mass appeal that has something for everyone in it. I can remember sitting and watching The Sound of Music DVD with my son. He waited patiently, for virtually the entire length of the film, for the scene when the Nazis chase after the von Trapp family!
‘It contains everything that makes a good film……….it is a migration film, there are children, there’s music, the landscape and Nazis. All you need.'
- Joerg Steintz
My daughter also loved The Sound of Music the movie, as it is a heartwarming love story between a naval officer and a nun. One minute you can be laughing, the next minute crying!
It really does seem unbelievable that The Sound of Music movie was first shown in cinemas over forty years ago - and is still being enjoyed by children today.
The casting for The Sound of Music movie was crucial to its success. Robert Wise knew exactly who he wanted to play the leading roles, but he also gave equal importance in making the right choice for casting the supporting roles. The chemistry between all the talented actors contributed to achieving a spectacular performance from each person.
Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Rodgers and Hammerstein, the loveable children, the beautiful Austrian countryside, the sensitive nuns and the catchy tunes are just a few of my favourite things when I think about why The Sound of Music movie was such a hit!
The Sound of Music’s resounding success was rewarded by it winning five major Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Sound, Best Score and Best Film Editing.
It also received two Golden Globe Awards for Best Picture of a musical or comedy and Best Actress of a musical or comedy.
The Sound of Music became the first film to beat Gone with the Wind (1939), as the biggest money maker in movie history.The Sound of Music is credited as being the film that saved 20th Century Fox, after high production costs and low returns for ‘Cleopatra’ (made in 1963) nearly bankrupted the studio. This could have partly been due to the way 20th Century Fox distributed the film for viewing when it was released. Tickets were sold in advance for a higher price than normal. This system worked to their advantage, creating excitement for the film's general release. The Sound of Music movie became the longest-running and top grossing film in many theaters.
Its success made everyone who participated in producing this fantastic film, and those who went to see it, the happiest people on earth! Just like it said on the original Sound of Music poster – well nearly! (see right).
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I recently acquired the new (and fabulously mastered) 50th Anniversary Sound of Music soundtrack CD, and I thought it might be an interesting exercise …
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