At this distance it is hard to separate Robert Wise’s lush film version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical from its current incarnation in thousands of singalong performances. But bad films don’t survive to be loved as much as this one is. And from the soaring opening shot, swooping over the mountains to find the glorious figure of Julie Andrews singing with a voice as clear as a mountain stream and as pure as an angel, to the closing moment, the movie has a confidence and a sense of moral purpose that warms the hardest heart.
Its enduring appeal stands, I think, on three sturdy legs. The first is that behind the beautiful scenery and under the charm, something important really is at stake. The movie is full of ethical dilemmas, where people must choose between right and wrong.
Its second strength lies in the performances. Andrews is just a joy, conveying enough doubt beneath that brisk, clean exterior to stop her character becoming a prig; her comic timing and the way in which she convinces in her relationships with the children are so understated they can be underrated.
Finally, of course, there are the songs. Indelible, indestructible, magnificently structured, they make The Sound of Music a film to watch over and over, and even to sing along with.
The Daily Telegraph
With special guest Julie Andrews
Please note that the festival is over 18s only