How do you improve on a beloved long-running Broadway musical? Two words: Julie Andrews. The true-life story of the musical von Trapp Family, who escaped from the Nazis before World War II and toured the world performing traditional Austrian music, had been a success on stage with Mary Martin in the leading role. Twentieth Century-Fox paid an impressive $1 million for the stage rights, originally assigning William Wyler to direct a darker version that focused on the German occupation of Austria. When Fox executives nixed his approach, Robert Wise took over and from the first fought to cast Andrews, even though she had yet to star in a film. Her crystal clear singing and sunny, warm personality cemented the film’s appeal to its legion of fans. This was one of the first movies to become a major hit through repeat viewing, briefly supplanting Gone With the Wind (1939) as the top-grossing film of all time. Its popularity extended to a hit soundtrack recording, smash television ratings, record home video sales and repeated revivals, including special “sing-alongs” attended by cast members and descendants of the von Trapp Family. With superlative work in all production areas and sparkling performances from Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Peggy Wood, Eleanor Parker and an array of talented children, THE SOUND OF MUSIC is as vibrant today as it was at its premiere 50 years ago.
(d. Robert Wise, 174m, Digital)
50th Anniversary celebration presented in collaboration with Twentieth Century Fox