The first generation of this version of the Siamese King and a English widow who was invited to teach the King's children English boasted the brilliant casting of Yul Brenner as the King and Deborah Kerr as Mrs Anna Leonowens, making it one of the most memorable musical which ever made it to the big screen.
This movie was one of the early collaboration of the 2 talented Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, in which they composed and presented a set of wonderfully catchy and evergreen soundtracks which is still in everyone's mind till this very day.
This version was definitely a much more lively version and you could never get bored of watching Yul Brenner's excellent portrayal of the autocratic Siamese ruler.
King Mongkut was the character or the symbolic figurehead on which this story was based on.
In fact, the whole movie was an adaptation from the book Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon.
I could never forget the wonderful scores of "Getting to Know You", "Shall We Dance?" and "Whistle a Happy Tune" where the tune of this songs instantly plants the image of the fair lady in a bouncing frock and a bald and indignant man who wears only a pair of pants and with his hands on his hips.
The Story started with Deborah Kerr, playing Mrs Anna Leonowens arriving on a ship with her son, Louis in Bangkok.
She was here to teach the royal household of King Mongkut.
She was greeted by the Prime Minister, Kralohom, whose first impression astounded both mother and son as he appeared half-naked (apparently it was the norm in Siam).
Her second shock came when she learnt that she was supposed to stay in the palace although she had been promised a house of her own.
She demands to see the King and his majesty did see her, and was very pleased with her arrival.
Before she could say anything else, the King happily led her to be introduced to his 106 wives and 15 children (much to Anna's surprise) and he mentioned that he has sixty two more wives who were not presented at the moment.
Anna agreed to staying in the palace and to teach all of them.
Anna was constantly bickering with the King over matters; as she found the King to be a highly-opinionated person and male-dominant minded.
It was hilarious when she discussed with him about Moses, and also his order for her to write a letter to the President of America to send some MALE elephants for the Civil War.
However, the King was also seen as a person who emphasized on education when he intervened in Mrs Anna's class, reprimanding his children who did not believe Anna's lesson on the subject of snow and scoffed at her description of the small size of Siam.
The King barged in and told them off for not believing in their teacher.
Anna also found out about Lady Tuptim who was the King's latest addition to his list of wives. Tuptim also confided in her about her love interest, Lun Tha whom she had been seeing since childhood.
Anna, initially hesitant, decided to help them when she reminisce of her husband, Tom.
The King received news from hearsay that he was called a barbarian in England and decided to throw an English or European style feast to invite all the government officials from the European region. He commanded Anna to help in the preparations, planning, make dresses and also orchestrate an European style music among his orchestra. It seemed rather overwhelming but Anna was reminded by the King of how Moses mentioned that the whole world was created in 6 days.
The time came and Anna had made beautiful dresses for the King's wives but to her horror, she forgot about their undergarments and reminded them to stand with their backs to the wall upon meeting the Ambassador. However, she did not expect the Ambassador's spyglass which he hung to have a good look terrified the women who imagined that he had the head of a goat.
The Ambassador had a great shock in return when the women held their dresses up high, exposing themselves (without the undergarments) to him.
Anna was shocked but she was also surprised to meet an old acquaintance cum old flame in the very distinguished gentlemen, Sir Edward Ramsey who was the highly regarded right-hand man of the Ambassador.
Their reminiscence of the old times was interrupted by the jealous King who led Anna to the table for their dinner.
The King displayed his general persona of an intellectual and knowledgeable man to impress his guests followed by a narration of Uncle Tom's Cabin by his Lady Tuptim.
Tuptim had plotted her escape with her lover, Lun Tha that night immediately after the play and they ran away.
The King and Anna enjoyed discussing about the success of their banquet that night after the event and even enjoyed a little polka dance to the song "Shall We Dance?"
It was then their romantic moments were interrupted by Kralohom who reported that Tuptim and Lun Tha was found and the King wanted to whip her; to Anna's protest.
In her fit of anger, she called the King a true barbarian and that left the King throwing the whip on the floor and leaving the room.
Lun Tha was later found dead in the river.
Anna, in her disappointment and after incurring the wrath of the King, knew she could no longer stay in the palace and she gathered her son, Louis and started packing.
She was then informed that the King was seriously ill and she went, to have a look at him. He was indeed very sick and he handed her a ring and pronounced that his successor to the throne will be his eldest son, crown Prince Chulalongkorn.
While the Prince announced his intentions when he rules the country, the old King dies silently, observed and grieved by Anna by his side and his ever faithful Prime Minister.
It was highly animated movie and you will be laughing by your sides at the King's attempts in speaking English and being seen as intellectual.
Who could ever forget his famous connotation of Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera?
I have compiled the following quotes from the movie, and can you believe this movie is older than The Sound of Music?:)
King: Etcetera etcetera etcetera
King: Your head must be lower than mine!
King: When I sit, you sit. When I kneel, you kneel. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera!
Ambassador: How many children do you have?
King: Oh, I have only 106. I have not been married for very long.
King: And I am expecting 5 more.
King: You will order the finest gold chopsticks.
Anna: Your Majesty, chopsticks? Don't you think knives and forks would be more suitable?
King: I make mistake, the British not scientific enough to know how to use chopsticks.
King, in asking Anna to write to the President of America
King: ...Pairs of male elephants to be released into the forests of America. There it is hoped that they will grow in number and the people can tame them and use them as beasts of burden.
Anna: But your majesty, I don't think you mean pairs of MALE elephants.
King: Moses said God created the world in 6 days
When Anna argued about having so much work to do to prepare for the banquet in one week,
King: Remember Moses said God created the world in 6 days!
Before banquet preparations
King[praying to Buddha]: Help also Mrs. Anna to keep awake for scientific sewing of dresses, even though she be only a woman and a Christian and therefore unworthy of your interest!
Mrs Anna was offended of course and she got ready to rise
Anna: Your Majesty!
King: A promise is a promise! Head must not be higher than mine! A promise!
King: This is not right.
Anna: Why, of course, your majesty, you're doing perfectly wonderful
King: You do not hold your hands like that
Anna: No, we don't
King slips hand to hold Anna's waist
Watch it, it's a classic and you'll never regret it. This is one of the best musicals produced and Yul Brenner was marvellous!~
Remember that this was even the forefather of The Sound of Music and what should I say except that the Rodgers and Hammerstein production is absolutely amazing?:)
Shall We Dance....(Tam tam tam)
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Who could forget the great melodies of 'Do Re Mi', 'My Favorite Things', 'Edelweiss'? Such melodic classics!~
I am definitely a fan and this is another of those movies that I have watched for more than 10 times, and I still don't mind watching it again.
This movie had one of the best storyline and the music-filled journey made it all the more better. If you are not a fan of women with soprano pitch and men joining in the songs with their annoyingly great voices, you will be after you watch this movie.
I have always felt that this is a movie that one should watch at least once in their life.
A Rodgers and Hammerstein musical movie, it was based on the books, ' Maria von Trapp' and 'The Story of the Trapp Family singers'
You can read more about the history of this production from wikipedia
The movie was hugely popular following the end of the World War II and besides, the catchy tunes made people feel more appeased by the musical scores and the family touch to the drama.
The opening scene brings us to the wonderful view of the hills and plains in Salzburg, Austria and then a woman appears, twirling herself and singing the theme song of the movie, 'The Sound of Music'. She danced in the nature, seemingly enjoying the feeling of being free on the plains.
Maria (Julie Andrews), is a postulant or a practising nun, who lives in an abbey. She has a love for singing but she is not allowed to sing inside the abbey. She does it secretly which annoyed the other elder nuns who constantly complained to Mother Abbess about her ruthless attitude and her frequent absence from the abbey.
While they were complaining about Maria singing in the abbey, I wonder why they are singing 'Maria' at the same time.
(I know it's a musical, but somehow it does seem to contradict with their own verdict, right?)
I also find it rather absurd that the nuns were being so hard on Maria, being one who comes from a Catholic background herself, I didn't quite agree with their behavior.
Anyway, Mother Abbess took it to her stride to point out to Maria about her attitude in the abbey and also suggested that perhaps Maria should go out into the world and have a different perspective of life. She sent Maria to be the governess of 7 children of widower Captain Von Trapp in the outskirts of Austria for a couple of months.
Maria obliged, leaving it to the mother and the Lord above to decide for her.
She left the abbey with a heavy heart but yet believed that it is a wonderful world out there as she sings 'I have confidence' along the journey.
She was in awe of the huge mansion which awaits her and she took a big step into the mansion where she was greeted by the family butlet; a rather sullen one by the name of Franz and also the housekeeper, Frau Schmidt who showed her around.
Frau Schmidt left her for a short while she leaves to summon the captain to meet Maria and the inquisitive Maria explores around the house, ending up in a fully decorated ballroom and in an awkward and embarassing situation when she was found by the man of the house, Captain Von Trapp (played by Christopher Plummer).
A rather stern and no-nonsense man, Maria knows he is not to be messed with when he introduced himself and also the way he summoned his children using a whistle.
She incurred his wrath when she rejected his suggestion of using the whistle as her signal and yet blowing the whistle at the same time when she didn't know how to address him.
Left alone with the children, Maria tries to get to know them better and found that she got more than she bargained for when she found a frog in her dress pocket.
That didn't end there, for when she was late for dinner, she even found her bottom tickled by a pineapple when she tried to sit down on the chair and of course, made a fool out of herself in front of the Captain and the children.
She got even and decided to mention about the children's misbehavior when she caught the gleam in Kurt's eye and decided not to get the children into trouble. However, she played very carefully with her words which created the guilt in the children and resulted in a massive crying at the dinner table where the Captain was slightly annoyed.
Liesl (Charmain Carr), the eldest daughter, heard about a telegram which arrived and ran out secretly after dinner to meet her sweetheart, a telegraph boy, Rolfe. They danced out in the rain, while singing to the sweet tune of 'I am Sixteen, going on Seventeen' and Liesl had to climb up the window which landed her in Maria's room.
At the same time, the lightning and thunder brought the siblings to Maria's room when they wanted to seek comfort. It was hilarious when the boys tried to act macho and yet were afraid.
Maria taught them how to overcome their fear by thinking of 'My Favorite Things'
She even found a friend in Liesl whom she covered for when Captain Von Trapp came to shoo his children back to bed.
As the Captain informed her that he will be leaving the next day to Verona to meet Baroness Schrader ( a widow), Maria requested for more clothing material and Frau Schmidt told her that it's not possible because the von Trapp children do not play, they march.
Maria came up with a brilliant idea and used the old drapes in her room to make play clothes for the children whom she brought to the outskirts and the countryside for a day's out and taught them music and at the same time, enjoying themselves tremendously.
As the Captain and Elsa (Baroness Schrader) and also an old friend, Max were on their way home, they saw a bunch of kids on the trees along the road who were the Captain's own children.
The Captain couldn't find his children upon reaching home and was furious when he saw his children coming in wet after the boat they were in capsized in front of his house.
He reprimanded Maria and commanded her to leave his house due to the bad influence she had on his kids.
He was surprised to hear a wonderful melody coming out from his house at the same time and following the tune, he found his children in the study room, singing 'The Sound of Music' to his baroness and Max.
He realized that Maria brought music back to the house, and asked her to stay after thanking her for her wonderful efforts. With this, Maria was once again welcomed back into the house and they put up a show for their father and guests, yodelling to 'The Lonely Goatherd' in a puppet show, entertaining their father and the guests tremendously.
As the Captain praised his children, they requested their father to sing and Maria brought him his guitar where he sang 'Edelweiss' live with his eldest daughter, Liesl.
The Baroness wanted to feel accepted into the family and suggested that they hold a formal ball and party to introduce herself to their friends and also to announce on their engagement. This was also to curb her jealousy of Maria who is slowly finding her way to the Captain's heart.
At the ball, the children were enjoying the serenade of the wonderful Austrian folk song and dance, Laendler where Kurt begged Maria to teach him how to dance and his father appeared to dance with Maria, under the watchful and jealous eyes of the Baroness.
Maria, sensing some weird feelings, stops dancing halfway and requests to leave.
The children were about to go off to bed, and performed 'So Long Farewell' which left the entire crowd awed and touched by the warm performance.
As Maria was about to retreat to bed as well, Max requested for her to be his partner and she obliged while the Baroness offered to help her dress.
The Baroness, while alone with Maria in her room, drops hints that the Captain may be falling in love with her and scared the poor Maria who packed and left the house that very night.
Upon Maria's leaving, the children lost their enthusiasm and rarely played, even when the Baroness requested to play with them.
They left the house and went in search of Maria at her abbey where she had been praying and in silent retreat since she was back.
Mother Abbess sensed her change and sent for her, where she knocked some sense into her, by telling her not to run away but to face any situation in front of her bravely, singing, 'Climb E'vry Mountain'
Maria decided to go back and was greeted warmly by all the children who spilled her the news that their father and the Baroness will be getting married soon.
Devastated, she walks alone in the gardens at night where she was spotted by Georg (the Captain's first name) and the Baroness. Georg broke up with the Baroness and expressed his feelings for her where they kissed and Georg proposed to Maria.
They were married and she walked down a really long aisle to the chorus of the song 'Maria'.
After their marriage, Maria and Georg left for their honeymoon while Max secretly prepares the children for the Kaltzberg Music Festival. At the same time, Herr Zeller, who was a Gauleiter, demanded that they raise the flag of the Third Reich in conjunction with the occurrence of the Anchluss.
Maria and Georg arrived after their honeymoon and he objected to his children performing openly in public. Max tried to persuade him and it ended up in an argument as Georg clearly states that Austria's existence has perished then. Maria and Liesl talk about the topic of romance and love and right at that moment, a telegram arrived and Liesl was suprised to see the cold treatment Rolfe is giving her.
The Captain read and was furious at being offered a commision in the German Navy where he discussed it over with Maria and decided that he shall reject their offer and the whole family shall flee the country.
They used the excuse of having to perform in the music festival as a way of dodging his order to report to Bremerhaven, to the approval of the Admiral.
During the concert, the family fleed with Max's help and hiding in the old abbey, with the nuns' help. They ended up on the mountains in the ending; which signalled their successful escape; with the final reprise of 'Climb E'vry Mountain' by the nuns.
Have I not mention that it was good? It was like magic, it just took me by surprise, I fell in love with this movie and every little part of it. No part was too boring or draggy for me, it was really perfect and the songs were such wonderful to sing along with and no one, I repeat, no one that I've ever known do not know of The Sound of Music (okay, except one, this gal...whom I will talk about later).
I love the awesome sceneries and the house in which the movie was filmed.
I can list down the 10 things I love about this movie:
1. The songs!! They are like memorable tunes forever...evergreen favorites
2. The amazing Salzburg view, the snow mountains, the green pastures, the hills, the lakeside, they are just so beautiful!~
3. Julie Andrews - oh the Golden Voice....she needs no further introduction.
4. The 7 children - they are just the perfect factor to watch this movie, their antics and their chemistry was so amazingly good that they seemed like real siblings!~
5. The romance of Maria and Captain Von Trapp....so sweet
6. The good ol' churches....so antique but just so beautiful!~
7. The performances - one after another, the Do Re Mi by the hills, the farewell song at the ball, the Laendler dance, the yodelling puppet show
8. The magnificent ball and the ever so romantic Laendler dance
9. The bickering between the Captain and Maria on whistles, playing, songs, etc.
10. It's Catholic!~:)
I love this movie...and I wrote the synopsis without watching the movie. Nope, I haven't watch this movie in years and I am writing this entire post based on my memory.
It's so brilliantly memorable that I can even remember my favorite quotes from the movie; and of course, my favorite scenes!~
Captain: Turn around
Maria twirls around
Captain: It's the dress. You'll have to put on another one before you meet the children
Maria: But I don't have another one. When we entered the abbey, our worldly clothes were given to the poor
Captain: How about this one?
Maria: The poor didn't want this one
Captain: You're the 12th in line of all the governesses. I hope you do better than the last one; she stayed only 2 hours
Maria: What's wrong with the children?
Captain: There's nothing wrong with the children, only the governesses.
Captain: Why don't you try?
Maria: Oh no, I don't need a whistle. I mean, I will call their names, they have such lovely names
Captain: Fraulein, this house is very big and the grounds are very expensive. I shall not have any shouting in the house
Go ahead, use it, the children will help you.
(Pushes the whistle to Maria)
Now, when I need you, this is the signal you will hear
Maria: NO!!! I will never answer to a whistle! Whistles are for cats and dogs and animals. They are not for children and definitely not for me.
It will be humiliating...
Captain: Are you this much trouble at the abbey?
Maria: Oh much more, sir!~
Maria blows whistle after the Captain
Maria: Excuse me, sir, I don't how what is your signal
Captain: You can call me, Captain
Liesl: I am Liesl, I'm sixteen and I don't need a governess!
Maria: Why, thank you Liesl, in that case, we can be friends
Brigitta: I am Louisa
Maria: You urm..didn't tell me how old you are, Brigitta.
Louisa: I AM Louisa, she is Brigitta. She is thirteen and You're smart. I am ten and I think your dress is the ugliest that I've ever seen!~
Kurt: Louisa, You shouldn't say that
Louisa: Don't you think it's ugly?
Kurt: Of course, but Fraulein Helga's the ugliest
Martha: I am Martha, I am seven and I'd like a pink parcel for my birthday
Maria: Really, pink's my favorite color too
(Little Gretl stomps her feet)
Maria: Yes, you're Gretl? (Gretl nods and makes a five)
Maria: And you're five years old? (Gretl nods) My, you're practically a lady!~
Maria screams after finding a frog in her pocket
Frau Schmidt: You're very lucky. With Fraulein Helga, it was a snake!~
At Dinner table, Maria jumps up after hitting a pineapple at her bottom
Captain: Enchanting little ritual, something you urm...learnt at the abbey?
Maria: No..erm, just rheumatism
Maria: Excuse me Captain, have we forgotten to thank the Lord?
Maria: You know, I'd like to thank each one of you for the precious little gift that you left in my pocket today
Captain: Err...What gift?
Maria looks at Kurt, It's meant to be a secret between the children and me
Captain: Ah ha...then let you just keep and let us eat
Maria: Knowing how Nervous I must have been being a stranger in a new household. Knowing how important it must be for me to feel accepted. It's so kind and thoughtful for you to make my first moments here so warm and happy and pleasant
(Smiles at Captain)
Martha starts to cry
Captain: Now, what is the matter, Martha?
The rest starts to cry and the captain looks bewildered
Captain: Err.. Fraulein, is it to be every meal or nearly at dinner time that you would intendedly leading us all to this rare, wonderful new world of indigestion?
Maria: Oh, they're all right, they're just happy
(Children cries louder)
Maria: Are you afraid of the thunder?
Maria: Where are the rest?
Gretl: They're asleep, they're not afraid
Thunder rumbles and all the girls ran in
Maria: Okay, now everyone up on the bed and let's wait for the boys
Brigitta: You won't see them, the boys are brave
Thunder rumbles and the boys ran in
The girls look up and giggle
Maria: You boys aren't afraid too, are you?
Friedrich: Oh no, we're not...we just wanted to see if you are
When the Captain finds his children wet from an outing
Captain: Is it possible or have I imagined it....have my children by any chance been climbing trees today?
Maria: Yes, Captain
Captain: I see...and where did they get these....
Captain: Is that what you call them?
Maria: From the drapes that used to hang in my room
Captain: Are you trying to tell me that my children had been roaming in the whole Salzburg wearing nothing but some old drapes?
Maria: Yes, Captain and having a marvelous time!~
Captain: What's that?
Maria: It's singing
Captain: Yes, of course I know it's singing. But who's singing?
Maria: It's the children
Captain: The children?
Maria: I taught them something to sing to the Baroness
Liesl and Friedrich dances outside the ballroom
Maria: How come you children never told me you could dance?
Kurt: Because we are afraid you might turn us into the 'Von Trapp family dancers'!
Kurt: What's that dance?
Maria: That's Laendler, it's an old Austrian folk dance
Kurt: Can you teach me, please?
Maria: Oh, I'm afraid I don't remember very well
Kurt: Oh, you must still remember, please?
Maria: Oh, all right, come along here
Louisa: Your face is all red
Maria: Is it?
Maria: When the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window
Captain: Where have you all been?
Friedrich: We went berries picking
Captain: Berries picking! Of course...what berries?
Friedrich: Blueberries, sir
Captain: Blueberries, indeed....it's too early for blueberries
Friedrich: They were actually strawberries...
Friedrich: But it was too cold that they turned blue!~
Captain: ahhhh... since you must have had a feast on those delicious berries, I don't think you will need your dinner anymore. I will just tell Frau Schmidt that you'll skip dinner
Kurt: I wonder what grass tastes like
Liesl: I'd like to stay and taste my first champagne...YES?
Max: I wonder how you're going to handle the kids
Baroness: Haven't you heard of a wonderful thing called boarding school?
Memorable scenes from the movie (a compilation of scene snippets I have done!~)
Nuns sing 'Maria'
Maria runs in, knowing she is late and she stops near the nuns (knowing she will get reprimanded again)
Maria arriving at the house
Introduction to the children. Maria meets the 7 for the first time
Maria teaches the children Do Re Mi
Georg finding his children singing
Liesl and Rolfe singing in the gazebo
My Favorite Things
Yodelling Puppet Show
So Long Farewell
Fantastic movie...don't be like a friend/ex-housemate of mine who had never heard of this movie...those who doesn't know about this classic, ought to be hung!
Go watch and enjoy singing along!~
Music by Richard Rodgers
Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Julie Andrews -Maria
Christopher Plummer - Captain Georg Von Trapp
Charmain Carr - Liesl Von Trapp
Daniel Truhitte -Rolfe
Nicholas Hammong - Friedrich
Duane Chase - Kurt
Heather Menzies - Louisa
Angela Cartwright - Brigitta
Debbie Turner - Martha
Kym Karath - Gretl
So...a Needle pulling thread!~
La...a need to follow so...
Ti...a drink with jam and bread...
That will bring us back to do..oh..oh oh.oh oh....