The Sound of Music (1965)
We welcomed 55 people to our first singalong format film and after receiving inspiration from Tanya and Joe were well loosened up for the songs we all knew so well. I felt the singing nun added something special to the evening and I'm sure the home baked strudel did too - for those lucky enough to get in early enough. The pre-show entertainment comprised a 12 second trailer for all the firms in the coming season now that public votes had been counted. We certainly have a great line up. That was followed by a short sketch where Julie Andrews led a rather large Swiss family Pratt in a song that is still worming its way through my brain 24 hours later. Eugene.
Umpteen classic catchy songs. A luminous performance by Julie Andrews. Charming children. Stunning Alpine scenery. What’s not to like? A large audience was totally engaged by the singalong Sound of Music. In the discussion group, led thoughtfully by Tanya, we considered how we felt about the 1965 film after seeing it again. For several of us, it was 30 years on. We had a stimulating start as Jenny told us about her first-hand experience of being caught up in the August 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. It’s these surprises and personal testimonies that have lifted our discussions over the months. Here are some of our points made The film now feels more frightening. Is it because the 1965 audiences were seeing the Nazi scenes as something in the past? Are we now more aware of growing right-wing views globally and so see the Nazi scenes now as a warning that it could happen again? We talked about fundamentalism and the situation in the US. Rachel recommended The Man in the High Castle TV series, based on a sci fi novel by Philip K Dick, where the song Edelweiss is used as a theme.
There are now some elements of the film that feel old-fashioned, such as the attitudes towards women – marriage was about being owned by a man. Perhaps seeing the words on screen made us more aware of messages in the lyrics. However, the nuns, particularly the compassionate and wise Mother Superior, provided strong female role models. They took an active stance against the Nazis.
Finally, Tanya told us that the film was going to be called ‘Love Song.’ We agreed that The Sound of Music was a far better title – it was the sound of music that enabled the family to escape to freedom in Switzerland.