Sunday, May 13, 2012

Tonight's Movie: The Sound of Music (1965) at the Egyptian Theatre

I had an extra-special Mother's Day today, taking my mother to see THE SOUND OF MUSIC on the big screen at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.

Prior to the screening there was a booksigning for the spectacular new SOUND OF MUSIC FAMILY SCRAPBOOK. As I recently wrote, "Any serious SOUND OF MUSIC fan must own this book."

Present to sign the book, left to right, were Charmian Carr (Liesl), Angela Cartwright (Brigitta), and Kym Karath (Gretl), along with their coauthor, Fred Bronson, at the far end of the table.

As someone who has loved the film since first seeing it as a preschooler in the '60s, it was incredibly special for me to have the chance to speak with them briefly in person. It was a strange but wonderful feeling being able to talk to people who have been, in a sense, part of my life for as long as I can remember. I'm far from the only person who feels this sense of connection, as illustrated in Charmian Carr's previous book, LETTERS TO LIESL.

Prior to the screening Fred interviewed Charmian, Angela, and Kym, who shared a few of their memories. What makes the film even more special is that the seven "children" formed a real-life family of close friends, always there for each other in good times and bad for nearly half a century.

Kym Karath shared that if you watch her face closely in "My Favorite Things" -- which might be my favorite scene -- you can see her total adoration of Julie Andrews, which wasn't acting. In the new book she also said "While we were doing that scene, I felt as much like I was in the heart of a family as I could have possibly felt. It was the happiest feeling for a five-year-old girl."

Charmian shared the story of flying through a gazebo window when doing "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" and then dancing on a sprained ankle for the following three days, and Angela joked about how she and Heather Menzies (Louisa) drove everyone mad with their love of the Beatles.

They also lightly joked about how somewhat crochety Christopher Plummer has mellowed and come to embrace the film as he has gotten older and said how nice it was to spend time with him again as adults.

It had been many years since I last saw the film on a big screen, and having the opportunity to see a beautiful 70mm print on the huge screen at the Egyptian was incredibly special. If you've not seen this film on a giant screen, in some sense you've never seen it.

This was roughly my 20th time to see the movie, and despite that -- or more likely because of it -- as the music swelled and the camera moved in closer and closer to Julie Andrews for the iconic opening shot, I couldn't stop a few tears of happiness.

THE SOUND OF MUSIC is the one film for which I feel I can't, or don't want, to write a regular film review.  It is so significant and special to me that I don't think I could write about the movie without simultaneously telling the story of my life. I could try to confine myself simply to describing the countless things that make it so special, but even then I could write for pages. Perhaps one day...but not now, when revisiting it is so fresh.

I know every frame, every expression, every vocal inflection in THE SOUND OF MUSIC by heart, yet I never tire of it and I always take away something new to appreciate. It's a perfectly made film which fills my heart with nothing but joy, pure joy and gratitude.


Blogger DKoren said...

I completely forgot this movie was playing yesterday! I loved this post, and I know both the opening and closing shots would have brought me tears of happiness too. My favorite moment in the whole movie is that ending where they're crossing the Alps. I can't even watch it on tv without getting teary. :-D

What a lovely mother's day experience! Thank you for sharing.

2:48 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Deb!

When I was little I would cry as they crossed the Alps, because it meant the movie was over. Still makes me teary. :)

As we've discussed in the past, "back in the day" we tried to memorize every moment and it was hard to say goodbye to a beloved film like this, because when it ended you might not see it again for years...and if you did, chances are it would be hacked up, with commercial interruptions.

Best wishes,

2:53 PM  
Blogger Melissa Clark said...

Thanks for sharing your experience at the Egyptian Theatre with us. What a treat for you to see the movie and meet some of the cast, especially on Mother's Day. I often say that I loved The Sound of Music even before I was born -- I think I absorbed the love of it from my mother in utero! It's such a family tradition, and has now passed down to my nephews, who like to watch the movie when they spend the night at my parents' house. There aren't many movies that bridge the generations like that!

4:15 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

That's a great way to put it, MC, that you loved it before you were born. Love that! :)

You're so right about it bridging generations -- as well as enjoying it with my parents, one of my special memories is my grandparents indulging my repeated requests to go see it over and over again when it was reissued in the early '70s. When it played on TV many years later, my grandfather told me that seeing it again made him happy, remembering all the times he took me to see it at the movies.

Best wishes,

4:22 PM  
Blogger James Corry said...

Laura, that WAS (your comments) one of the best reviews you could have possibly written.


8:34 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Brad, I really appreciate you saying that. :) It's an interesting thing feeling that if I attempted a more formal review I would either be incredibly long-winded, completely inarticulate, or both (grin). This movie has always been very, very close to my heart, and perhaps I was able to convey that. Thank you!

Best wishes,

9:06 PM  

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