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Visual Index ~ The Sound of Music (1965) "Best Shots"

Each Tuesday night we ask anyone with a pinterest, blog, tumblr or what have you to post their favorite shot from a preselected movie. To kick off Season Six: The Sound of Music (1965) for its 50th Anniversary.

Unlike its obvious counterpart in belovedness, The Wizard of Oz (previously featured in this series) it was wildly popular from the day it opened. If you adjust for inflation it remains the third highest grossing film of all time after Gone With the Wind (1939) and Star Wars (1977). Like GWTW, its production trouble seems to have magically made it a stronger film rather than torpedoing it. Funny how fate works. For example Christopher Plummer's contempt for the project (he turned it down several times and loudly denounced it afterwards) bleeds through but affects the movie in surprisingly perfect ways, balancing the sweet with just enough sour. 

In short, it's one of 'Our Favorite Things'. 

Best Shots from

Chosen by the HMWYBS Club and displayed in rough chronological order. Click on the shot for its corresponding article from these 21 participants several of them first timers. Welcome!

I Want to Believe makes a great Moulin Rouge! reference

The Film Experience on falling in love with country, men and movie stars

The Spy in the Sandwich shares a fantastic personal memory

The Entertainment Junkie on the balance of power in many of the film's frames

Coco Hits NY on Julie Andrews long take splendor and the Do Re Mi sequence

Lam Chop Chop on childhood viewings and unbridled joy

Queerer Things points to the depth of emotion the enormous sets allow

Dusty Hixenbaugh on the film's impressive multi-tasking

The Film's The Thing conveys the movies superb attention to detail and capacity to surprise you after multiple viewings

A Fistful of Film wonders how Christopher Plummer wasn't nominated for this?

Awards Nazi has a great piece on Maria's thrilling and terrifying realization

Sorta That Guy loves the small moments in a big film


Video Valhalla rediscovers the stealth movie within this one -- the one starring the Baroness

Running Reel watches the movie for the first time! 

Operation Kino used to fast forward this part. No longer!

Dancin Dan loves the heart shape created by this unlikely pair

Paul Outlaw wonders what exactly miserable and wicked Maria did in her youth?

Film Actually also went for the romance Von Trapp

CineMunch on tearing the film's innocence to shreds

Antagony & Ecstasy on how the Favorite Thingsyness gives way to the Nazism

 Unbreakable Janet V has a fun anecdote about the nuns


Please to enjoy all those articles. I plan to!

NEXT TUESDAY: Paris is Burning (available on Netflix Instant Watch) our first documentary in the series -- it's only 71 minutes long and it's a landmark film in LGBT cinema history. Perfect deep research for the new season of RuPaul's Drag Race.

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Reader Comments (30)

I love the fact that Christopher Plummer denounced the film and really hated being part of it. He's said to have been a real piece of work on set. Whether he wanted to or not, it has become his most iconic role and I think as time has passed, he's grown to love being a part of a project that was truly special.

March 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKaitlin

I didn't re-watch the film but some of these choices make me want to. Especially the ones from the Something Good scene. I forgot how wonderfully romantic that scene (and song) was and how beautifully framed it was. Dancin Dan mentioned the heart shape between them which I always thought was a nice touch, unintentional or not.

Plus, the Fug Girls sort of made that scene briefly hilarious because of how they pointed out "Maria, there isn't going to be any Baroness anymore" sounds as if the Captain promptly had her murdered.

Great picks/articles, guys.

March 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDerreck.

Kaitlin -- i think his dislike of it really helps the movie in a weird way. plus he's damn good in it, whatever his reservations were. Funny how it all turned out. He does seem to feel softer towards it now in his old age.

Derreck -- i'm pretty sure intentional. There are so many meticulous details (the film's the thing has a fun list of a few) that i can't imagine it was accidental.

March 4, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

It killed an entire genre.
It drove legions of people with good taste into suicide.
It lowered the IQ of everyone who's ever seen it.
And it caused generations of cinephiles to forever turn their backs on the medium.
Naturally, it will be celebrated here at the Mecca of kitsch.

And please note that I'm not talking about the so-called "sophisticated" cinephiles here. You don't have to be "sophisticated" to dislike a terrible film that's done a lot of harm.

Nevertheless, I do appreciate that the images chosen for this episode of Hit Me With Your Best Shot at least illustrate why The Sound Of Music is so unwatchable. But unfortunately, those images also make me wanna vomit and that's something not even the Mary Poppins episode managed to do. Hm, first Mary Horror and then The Sound Of Horror. What's next? Hawaii?

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterWilly

Beautiful shots everyone! We need more directors like Robert Wise doing musicals.

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

The Sound of Music is my favourite film - it made me happy when I was a child and as I grew up watching it over 20 times every year (word) it made me fall in love with movies too. I went on the Sound of Music tour in Salzburg in January and it was magical (I am *that* person).

I don't really have a platform to participate, but Sorta That Guy picked my choice for best shot. The whole Laendler scene, but that moment when the Captain gives Maria his hand and she hesitates for a second and then takes it, and his smile... it melts my heart every time. And it goes so well with the overwhelming theme of taking that chance in love.

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKiki

First, Willy, if you hate it so much (and have such disdain for this wonderful site), then why are you here.

Moving on...YAY! I love this movie so much, even more so after participating here, thanks to all the great articles and thoughts of my fellow bloggers. So happy to have been a part of this week, and looking forward to next as well.

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

I know that I'm not allowed to complain because I didn't participate, but...NO frames from the wedding?! And no one chose the stained glass profile of Peggy Wood singing Climb Ev'ry Mountain?

I also love the shot of Maria crossing paths with the new postulate, whose green dress she wears to reunite with the von Trapps. And the one of Maria, holding a suitcase, staring into the great hall as she leaves for the Abbey.

This movie triggers ALL of the feelings.

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHayden W.

@Hayden I was very close to choosing an image from the wedding, it's so majestic. I screencapped Climb Every Mountain too!

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSquasher88

I don't have disdain for this more or less wonderful site, I have disdain for the site's ongoing Julie Andrews celebration (and for some, but not all of the regular commentators). Either way, if Christopher Plummer can't stand the film in question, then why should sane viewers with good taste?

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterWilly

Willy -- you've inspired me. Perhaps we need a whole JULIE ANDREWS WEEK since there's so much beyond Poppins & Von Trapp

March 4, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Nate, I would DIE for a Julie Andrews week! UGH, she's easily one of my favorite actresses of all time!

If you do it, so will I!

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

I co-sign the Julie Andrews support. Do it, Nathaniel! I absolutely adore her.

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSquasher88

I have to laugh - I had three shots in the running for this (the third being Hayden's suggestion of Peggy Wood in the stained glass light) and decided not to do the twirling on the mountaintop shot because I figured it would get written about a lot. And of course, the shot I did pick ended up being the most popular!

Anyway, I LOVE what Paul Outlaw said about it, too. That was beautiful, Paul. Thank you.

And I co-sign on the need for a Julie Andrews week. People forget how great (and versatile) she is.

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Julie Andrews Week would be awesome Nathaniel! Would love to see it happen.

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

I"m in for a Julie Andrews week. So much to talk about.

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

RE: The wedding scene.

It's amazing how this movie steps outside of itself for that sequence. It's as if you cut from a cinematic narrative (and the film's most intimate "Something Good" sequence) to spectator TV footage of, like, a royal wedding. It's a brilliant moment of depersonalization so that when we re-meet the characters after the honeymoon, there's this patina of diplomacy and such a distinct change in Maria. She's become a woman, a mother, a partner, a patriot.

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHayden W.

Lord and master, she'll be 80 this year. Not that you'd need a special occasion for celebrating Satan's Bride.

And no matter what you do, you can always be sure that Joel will love to see it happen, since every single posting on this site gives him the opportunity to do what he always does: talking about himself. So maybe we'll get his own rendition of Jolly Holly during Horror Week. It certainly would be appropriate.

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterWilly

@ denny: Thanks! I love how five people chose this scene (and several others honorable- mentioned it), but managed to choose four different frames, each depicting a different detail of the romance. As you wrote the film version of The Sound of Music "brings out an intimacy and maturity the stage show so often lacks."

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

"Jolly Holly"

Oops. Okay, it's Jolly Holiday. Although you can't really understand what's coming out of Dr. Sloan's mouth in this "film".

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterWilly

What a delightful way to begin my morning, sipping tea and glancing through this array of well chosen shots from The Sound of Music. Kudos to all of the contributors whose eye for details within the various frames chosen makes for interesting reading.

I have a real affection for the opening shot of this film, it is so iconic and hard to resist. A few years ago I went hiking with family and friends in the Canadian Rockies. It was wildflower season and after a long climb we got to this meadow with a view exactly like the one in the film. Do you think we could resist? We could not, all of us including the guide, broke into "The hills are alive..." and twirled around. It was perfection.
And that is why it is the best shot, and a great film.
Participants - thank you for making me so happy.

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

No one has mentioned what Andrews says on the dvd commentary: that the "Something Good" scene was filmed in darkness because she and Plummer were so exhausted and punchy they literally could not film the scene without laughing. If you look closely, you can see the smirks.

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered Commentervladdy

vladdy, I will *never* listen to that commentary now!

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

KiKi - I didn't even notice his subtle smile as soon as she grabs his hand until re-watching the scene now after your comment, so right on!

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

Julie Andrews Week, YES! I'll make up some T-shirts and bring snacks!


March 4, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Willy - are you saying Blade Edwards was Satan?

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

I don't have a blog or any other way to participate on this, but CineMunch comes closest to what I would have included. My best shot would be the overhead shot of the Nazis marching in the square in Salzburg. I love the way it echoes the opening overhead shots of "innocence' with the clearcut Nazi evil.

I also have to give a shoutout to the entire structure of The Sound of Music because it succeeds where so many musicals fail (like Funny Girl, which I love by the way). Adding in the Nazi menace and the escape to the story gives it a terrific third act and elevates it above the typical opposites-attract love story. I mean it takes a bunch of Nazis to cut through the treacle of singing nuns and adorable moppets in curtain clothes. :-)

PS Go Baroness!

March 4, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Alamitos Beach

Roark, have you seen his last three Pink Panther movies? Surely Blake Edwards must have been the devil.

Although Andrews was also married to set and costume designer Tony Walton who won an Oscar for All That Jazz.

March 5, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterWilly

What a great challenge! Sorry I didn't see it in time to join in. But I love the shots and stories! (I used to fast-forward through "Something Good" too . . . and then I hit puberty, and started watching it several times over every time I reached it. :-D )

March 17, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGina

No one has mentioned what Andrews says on the dvd commentary: that the "Something Good" scene was filmed in darkness because she and Plummer were so exhausted and punchy they literally could not film the scene without laughing. If you look closely, you can see the smirks.

July 4, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRingtone Cutter

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