The Sound of Music revisited.

converted PNM file

“This freaky clown is controlling my every move”


I am old. I grew up in a household with a telly with clunky push-button controls on the front – remote controls hadn’t been invented. It is beyond the comprehension of my ten year old that there were only three channels which didn’t even transmit all day – there were hours when the only thing you would see would be the girl, the balloon and a terrifying clown of the BBC trade test transmission  –  and it was long before it was possible to record programmes, let alone watch films when you wanted to on videos, DVD, streaming, downloading, iPlayer…

angelaWhat with that and fairly strict parenting, Christmas day involved going to church in the morning, no presents from under the tree until after the Queen’s speech at 3pm (and we all had to watch it). The only chance to watch decent telly (such as was programmed) was after that. And, according to my memory, this pretty much always meant The Sound of Music (with my father snorting rudely about the direness of singing nuns)  or Mary Poppins or Chitty Chitty Cang Bang followed by the excellent Morecambe and Wise Christmas Special, which would include something amazing such as strait-laced newsreader Angela Rippon causing a furore by dancing in a skirt that ripped off, flashing a fine pair of pins.

the-sound-of-music

Bloody hell. The hills are alive with singing nuns.

So it was with some amusement that I found myself watching Miss Bossypants ‘If I can wear curtains, so can you” Maria in The Sound of Music again this year. On New Year’s Eve actually, and it came about as a consequence of noticing someone I like on Twitter, journalist Rachel Roberts (@scouserachel), announcing that it was on thus: “CODE RED – Sound of Music is on BBC1”.

Great, I thought, excellent chance for a bit of nostalgia. I used to rather enjoy it. And now I’d get the added joy of Twitter witterings to keep me amused. A little bit further into the film Rachel tweeted: “the captain is fit. CORRECT?”. To which the deputy features editor of the Guardian, Tim Lusher responded: “@scouserachel His use of whistles doesn’t put you off a tiny bit?”. Her answer: “@timlusher gets shit done”. Marvellous stuff.

The thing is, as a child, what I really liked watching was the children and the singing. Maria seemed fun because she stood up for them all and wasn’t a whistle-blowing tyrant who made them wear uniforms. But re-watching as an adult, I realise Georg is indeed fit and that the much more interesting woman in the film is really the Baroness, Elsa Schroeder. She and “Uncle Max” look like much more entertaining people to knock back schnapps with.

And the other thing is, it’s such a preposterously long film. Nearly three hours. I’d forgotten all the stuff post-marriage. Maybe I used to nod-off in a pudding-and-turkey stupor during those bits. Maybe I’d start playing Coppit with my brother until we’d argue and throw the little pointy ‘hats’ at each other. Luckily everyone else on Twitter was getting bored too.Rachel: “@caitlinmoran I don’t watch past the wedding.” Caitline replied: “@scouserachel That’s where I would end it too! PERFECT end! next 40 minutes STUPID”.

The Hills may still be Alive, and Georg (Christopher Plummer) may be vastly more attractive than I’d realised in my youth, but frankly they need some CPR to keep a modern audience awake until the bitter end. I’ll leave the last (Twitter) words to my other half @RobKRead “No wonder I used to think Sound of Music exceedingly long. Whole swathes of boredom in the summer house … Please bring on the Nazis.

Posted by Inkface

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