Film Follies, How Have You Not Seen That?

How Have you Not Seen That?-The Sound of Music

A compelling love story. Check. Cute Kids. Check. A catchy musical number (or four). Check. Nazi bad guys. Check. I’m not sure what you look for in a film, but by my measure, any movie that checks off all those boxes has instant classic written all over it. Though it is no surprise that a hit Broadway musical would find cinematic success, the idea that The Sound of Music would become one of the highest grossing films of all time (adjusted for inflation) certainly did not occur to the numerous critics who panned it upon its initial release. But here it is, over fifty years later, hailed as one of the greatest movie musicals ever made. More than that it is perhaps the film musical most likely to draw the question How Have You Not Seen That?
While the film does not carry quite the impressive amount of star power that some of the other films we’ve featured here in this space do (most of the cast are children after all) it more than makes up for that with what it does bring to the table, namely Julie Andrews and an enduring songbook from Rodgers and Hammerstein. Sure Christopher Plummer and director Robert Wise are A-list talents but when people re-watch The Sound of Music for the hundredth time they do it for those musical numbers and Andrews’ gloriously optimistic performance as Maria. Fresh off her other legendary performance in Marry Poppins the year prior this was the zenith of her career. And I challenge you to find something in this universe that you makes you feel as warm and fuzzy on a bad day as Julie Andrews performance of “My Favorite Things” in this film.
And that is really the crux of this film’s legacy. The plot isn’t overly sophisticated and certain moments in the film strain credulity (hey its a musical after all), but it is innocent and wholesome and makes anyone who watches it feel something beautiful rising up inside of themselves. It takes you back to a simpler time. Who cares whether or not that simpler time ever actually existed or not. It’s just as important for all of us to believe that it did once exist and that it could exist again.
But The Sound of Music isn’t just a feel-good film that I feel you should have seen by now. It’s ten Oscar nominations and five wins including best picture and best director speak to its impact upon its release in 1965 and its inclusion in the National Film Registry and three of its songs staking out spots on the AFI top 100 songs in movies list show its lasting impact on both film and society. The idea that anyone could have made it out of their childhood without having seen this classic movie musical boggles my mind. If you are one of those people, wait until you have a day when you are feeling particularly sad then queue this film up. I guarantee you’ll feel so much better by the time the credits roll. And as a bonus no one will ever say to you The Sound of Music, How Have you Not Seen That?