Christopher Plummer as Georg von Trapp and ‘The Sound of Music’ have left an indelible impression on minds of hearts of people across the world
Devastated with the news of Christopher Plummer, popularly known as Captain von Trapp’s passing, I felt the intense urge to write about the movie that impacted my life morally as well as musically. The Sound of Music was perhaps one of the first movies I saw with my mother as a child. A movie revolving around seven mischievous children, one determined governess and their father, the daunting Captain von Trapp.
Robert Wise’s The Sound of Music has and will forever remain a classic. Originally a stage musical composed by the incredible Rodgers and Hammerstein II, the movie not only bagged five Academy Awards, but left an indelible impression on the minds and hearts of people all over the world.
A tale of music, romance and the importance of family, The Sound of Music has been one of my greatest value education teachers. Just recently as I re-watched the movie with one of my closest friends for the umpteenth time, I realised how it has contributed to the person I am today.
The title of the movie could not be more apt. The movie was my initiation to western music. Music in general has the extraordinary power to shape a human being. Scientifically speaking, music exerts a great influence on the cognitive and psychological make-up of a person. Multiple instances in the movie have reiterated this fact.
All the main characters of the film can be seen serenading the audience with melodious songs, exuding joy and hope. Every song from the title track of the same name as the film to the Reverend Mother’s ‘Climb Every Mountain’ showcases the heart and emotion of benevolence and humanity.
Various life lessons are interlaced throughout the movie. The movie greatly emphasises the power of love. As Khalil Gibran once said, “When love beckons to you, follow him…” The movie restates just that in the form of Maria’s love for music, the children and ultimately the Captain.
It’s a perfect portrayal of love’s “hard and steep ways” and how it can produce wonders in the life of a human being. Love binds every character together and helps them rise above the brutal Nazi occupation of Austria. The songs, ‘I have Confidence’ and ‘My Favourite Things’ not only inspire but also reminds us to not be afraid of challenges.
One song that is particularly emotionally stirring, ‘Climb Every Mountain’ teaches us to chase rainbows and follow our dreams. The unadorned optimism and encouragement of the song will resonate with almost anyone listening to it. Even Captain Von Trapp’s homage to his homeland, Austria, through the song ‘Edelweiss’ is simple yet radiates patriotism. What a home country can and should mean to one is wonderfully captured.
Initially slated to marry the Baroness Elsa, when the Captain realised his true feelings for Maria, he confessed with clarity his feelings which the Baroness not only understood but accepted with inordinate grace. Her acceptance of rejection with forbearance and understanding should serve as paragons of how to be a good human being.
Another line from the movie that resonates with me till date is, “When God closes a door, somewhere he opens a window.” Eons ago Heraclitus rightly said, “Change is the only constant” and change brings with itself new opportunities. In the movie as Maria prepares herself to face the new challenge of governing seven children, she is bestowed with the opportunity of proving her capabilities on a new job.
Coming to the real world, although the Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc in the lives of many, it has brought about a monumental change in the way we look at things and perhaps presented many with newer opportunities and space to grow.
The movie The Sound of Music, the character of Captain von Trapp, so well brought to life by Christopher Plummer, and many others is a sublime reminder of the rudimentary lessons that we should always try to incorporate in our lives.
(Konina Mandal is an Assistant Lecturer at Jindal Global Law School, OP Jindal Global University)
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are the author’s own. They do not necessarily reflect the views of DH.