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The Sound of Music (1965)

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Page 4

Maria and the children sing

Despite having been warned that "The Von Trapp children don't play; they march," when the captain leaves for Vienna to visit the baroness, Maria and the children break all the rules. Decked out in play clothes made from the drapes that used to hang in her bedroom, they go on a picnic where Maria teaches the children how to sing:

"DO, a deer, a female deer. RE, a drop of golden sun. ME, a name I call myself. FA, a long, long way to run. SO, a needle pulling thread. LA, a note to follow so. TI, a drink with jam and bread. That will bring us back to DO."

Maria and the children on bikes

Although a simple song, "Do, a Deer" provides the musical foundation for one of the film's greatest improvements over the stage production -- an extended montage that not only allows the audience to watch the bond between Maria and the children develop through music over a period of time, but also permits the children to "learn how to sing" over time rather than in a single sitting as happens in the stage show.  Aside from its expository function however, the montage also gives the audience a better sense of the story's setting through its panorama of real Austrian locales, in Salzburg and beyond.

Maria and the children sing

"Do, Re, Mi, Fa, So, and so on, are only the tools we use to build a song.  Once you have these notes in your heads, you can sing a million different tunes by mixing them up, like this...

"So, Do, La, Fa, Mi, Do, Re.  So, Do, La, Ti, Do, Re, Do.

"Do-Mi-Mi, Mi-So-So, Re-Fa-Fa, La-Ti-Ti!

"When you know the notes to sing, you can sing most anything!"

Maria and the children at the fountain

Maria and the children marching around the famous Pegasus fountain at the Mirabell Gardens in Salzburg.

Screenwriter Ernest Lehman, who championed the idea of a film version of THE SOUND OF MUSIC from the beginning, is credited not only with the idea of opening up "Do, a Deer" into the integral production number it eventually became, but also with the addition of the "I Have Confidence" song and montage that helps Maria's character transition both physically and emotionally from the abbey to her new role as a governess.  Other improvements Lehman made to the original stage book by playwrights Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse include the addition of humorous moments like the pine cone at the dinner table, the unexpected swim in the lake and the distributor caps.

Memorable Quotations:

  • "When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window." --Maria.
  • "Oh, there's nothing wrong with the children -- only the governesses." --Captain von Trapp.
  • "Whistles are for dogs and cats and other animals, but not for children, and definitely not for me." --Maria.
  • "I'm Liesl. I'm sixteen years old and I don't need a governess!" --Liesl.
  • "Only grown-up men are scared of women." --Kurt.
  • "There's nothing more irresistible to a man than a woman who's in love with him." --The Baroness.
  • "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help." --Rev. Mother.
  • "Reverend Mother, I have sinned." --Sister Margeretta.

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Last updated: June 21, 2010.
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