Showing posts with label die Trapp Familie. Show all posts
Showing posts with label die Trapp Familie. Show all posts

Friday, June 20, 2014

Favorite Things Friday || Something Good: Von Trapp Series Part 3

So far In this series I've written about my, hmm, appreciation I guess, of the German language and about my own personal history involving The Sound of Music. This week I think I'll go back about thirty or forty years for last weeks post and talk about the 1965 film of The Sound of Music and how it came to exist.

A lot of people who have seen The Sound of Music film know that it was based off of the 1959 Broadway musical of the same name. There are differences between the two, many of which I mentioned in my four part review of NBC’s recent telecast of The Sound of Music Live starring Carrie Underwood.

The major difference is song order. Mainly, My Favorite Things and Lonely Goatherd. In the play Reverend Mother sings My Favorite Things with Maria before she leaves for the von Trapps and Maria sings Lonely Goatherd to the children during the Thunderstorm. There are also a couple of songs from the Broadway show that were not included in the film and a couple of songs included in the film that were not in the play. The songs from the film are I Have Confidence and Something Good. 

Oscar Hammerstein died in 1960, about 4 years before film production began. When they scored (placed the songs in) the film there were a couple of spots where it was felt new songs were needed so Richard Rodgers wrote both the music and lyrics for I Have Confidence and Something Good. 

In 1956, nine years before the film and three before the play, a German studio released Die Trapp Familie followed by Die Trapp Familie in Amerika (1958) which is the original work based on Maria von Trapp's book The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. The German films cover events in the von Trapps lives from Maria leaving the abbey, similar to the 1965 film, and then all the way up through the family leaving Austria, being detained on Ellis Island, and up to purchasing a house in Vermont.  I have only seen the very condensed American version of the film, dubbed in English and entitled The Trapp Family. This was actually the film Mary Martin had seen when she approached Rodgers and Hammerstein with the idea of making a musical play about the lives of the von Trapp Family Singers.




Sunday, December 8, 2013

Carrie Underwood Sound Of Music Review Part 2

Songs and Scenes

As I mentioned in part 1, the reason why I wanted to watch "NBC's Sound of Music Live!" was because, according to Julie Andrews in an interview, this performance was supposed to be the original theatre version of the Sound of Music. There are many differences between the theatre and film versions, not just the songs being "out of order" as my brother described it. 

Because I had to work last night, I missed Reverend Mother singing "My Favorite Things" with Maria, "Do, Re, Mi" occurring much earlier in the show than it does in the film, and "Lonely Goatherd" in Maria's room during the thunderstorm. I was glad that I did make it home on time to see both of the songs that Frau Schraeder sings. (Yep, Frau, not Baroness, but we'll touch on that in the next post.)

"How Can Love Survive?" is one of the songs featuring Frau Schraeder that was cut from the film version. It's very theatrical and basically plays off of stories that poor, struggling people are the ones with great romances  and rich people who have "everything" do not have the time or the means they need to fight for love.

Schraeder's other song in the theatre production is "No Way to Stop It." Where she and Captain von Trapp realize their political differences in a less than subtle way and know that a marriage between them is not meant to be. Very different from the 1965 film scene where she graciously steps aside because she sees that the Captain has fallen in love with Maria. The character equivalent of Schraeder in the German movie Die Trapp Familie (1956) doesn't have any songs, just like in the 1965 Sound of Music film.

Something I noticed that was similar to the movie was when the captain, Max, and Maria are discussing whether or not Maria should have dinner with the party guests the underscoring is "How Can love Survive." In the movie, they use it just a tiny bit later, when Max is talking to Elsa right after Maria has left to go back to the abbey because Elsa said the Captain was in love with her. Which brings me to the next point.

In the movie, Baroness Schraeder tells Maria that the Captain is in love with her and in the play, it is Brigitta who shares this information to Maria. What really happened, according to Maria von Trapp herself in her book The Story of The Trapp Family Singers, is sort of a mix of both stage and screen scenes. Princess Yvonne (Elsa Schraeder ;)) notices the captain admiring Maria. She tells Maria the Captain is in love with her, which surprises Maria and makes her want to leave, but the princess convinces her to stay until the wedding so she can look after the children until they go away to school. Sound familiar? Following a few more events and finally a broken engagement with the Princess, the children ask their father if he will marry Maria so she can stay with them. The captain tells his children he would love to marry her but he didn't think she liked him much. The children then go to Maria and tell her that their father doesn't think she likes him much, to which she replies, "Of course I like him." The children then went back to their father to say Maria would marry him. Of course, when Georg walked Into the room where Maria was cleaning a chandelier, spoke to her about marriage she was surprised yet again. This time Maria did leave. She returned to the abbey, this part is accurately portrayed in the 1956 German film, and asked Reverend Mother if it was the will of God that she marry Captain von Trapp. Of course, we all know what Reverend Mother's answer was.

Okay, now on with the show

Lonely Goatherd or Marco Polo. What was with that? The duet with Uncle Max blindfolded playing with the children in the yard. It was just so strange to use the song in that game, I think the film version with Baroness Schraeder passing the basketball with the children is a much more "normal" scenario.

Soon after that scene Maria returns, looking for her life, and Frau Schraeder leaves. In NBC's Sound of Music Live, the Captain and Maria finally reveal their feelings for each other by singing "Something Good." I was very disappointed by this. Had they really used the entire theatre score they would have sung "An Ordinary Couple." The song "Something Good" was written solely by Richard Rodgers, he composed both music and lyrics in the early 1960s when asked to write a new song for the film for Captain and Maria's duet. Oscar Hammerstein had died in 1960. 

I did enjoy the scene where Liesl introduces Maria to Rolf. This occurred when Rolf, delivers a telegram to the house after Georg and Maria are married. In the 1965 film, there was actually a scene that occurred somewhere around the "Do Re Mi" montage when Maria an the children are in town and Liesl introduces Maria and Rolf. It was thought to slow down the film and was ultimately deleted. 



The last scene in the movie that I both enjoyed and slightly cringed at was the concert scene. I thought it was played very well. I enjoyed the transition from the von Trapp villa to the concert hall was really cool, as I've said before, but the concert itself did not really go as well as the transition into it. First, the brass drowned out all nine actors singing the "Do Re Mi Reprise," Then it seemed like Stephen Moyer could have used a lot more practice on the guitar for "Edelweiss," and finally, at the end of "So Long Farewell," his voice nearly drowned out Carrie Underwood altogether. Obviously whoever ran sound was not hearing what the television audience heard. I know I wasn't the only one to notice this because when I went to work on Saturday my boss mentioned the sound during the concert scene and asked if I thought it was off balance too.

Because I have never seen the actual play and am so familiar with the film version, some of the scenes in Sound of Music Live seemed awkward, or disjointed compared to the relative smoothness of the film. I would give Songs and Scenes a 2.5 out of 5. Some things went really well, but when they didn't go well, they just really didn't at all. Plus the added disappointment in the fact that a film song was used to replace a theatre song. I read in "The Sound of Music: a Critical Review of the Changes Made from the Original Stage Play" by James M. Becher that the Rodgers and Hammerstein Estate is limiting aqusition to the songs which I assume was the reason for the change in this performance.


*Photo: Hirsch, Julia Antopol, "The Sound of Music: The Making of America's Favorite Movie", Contemporary Books, 1993
*Copy and Paste link to go to The review by James M. Becher: http://voices.yahoo.com/the-sound-music-critical-review-changes-1273471.html?cat=40