Year: 1965 Director: Robert Wise
I had a notion to re-watch this again last night. And I’m glad I did.
It’s not just the tunes that are brilliant. I had forgotten how well staged it all is. Massive, lush, widescreen exteriors make the most of the Austrian scenery. Creamy, rich interiors look like they’ve been painted in oil. The scene where timid Maria arrives at the Captain’s foreboding house, silence echoing around the marble entrance hall, reaches Hitchcock levels of suspense. It feels solid, a proper film you can relax into and feel you are in safe hands.
It also sidesteps the usual off-putting song-and-dance routines that are a key ingredient to most screen musicals. There’s absolutely no professional-looking dancing or synchronisation on show here. It all looks very natural (don’t laugh), maintaining a high-school level of choreography that lets the characters’ charisma and youthful exuberance shine through.
The story is the essence of finding genius in simplicity. A young woman finds her place in the world working as a governess for the children of a retired Captain, while the fingers of Nazi domination slowly tighten their grip in the background. There are no real surprises, but the dramatic arc » Continue Reading.