Saving The Von Trapps

Julie Andrews’ most famous and most successful films are Mary Poppins (1964) and The Sound of Music (1965). Last year has seen the reiteration of both of these stories, one as a (faithful) remake and one as the story behind the story.

I am talking, of course, about The Sound of Music Live! and Saving Mister Banks. The Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson film was a box-office success and, given its Academy Award nomination, it can also be considered a critical success.

It was a meta-story about Walt Disney’s attempts to convince P. L. Travers to let him adapt her children stories about the magical nanny Mary Poppins. Since the film was made, the result was pretty obvious. However, it wasn’t the end result that mattered, but the road which was taken until that final point. And the success of Saving Mister Banks proves that a meta-film can actually work on many levels.

But the story of The Sound of Music Live! is a completely different one, from this perspective. While the live telecast had a record number of viewers (when compared to other shows and even sport events), it was bashed by the critics – it wasn’t that the story was changed, but that the actors didn’t make the best of it.

In one of her interviews, Julie Andrews said that The Sound of Music is her favorite film. Then she also said that nowadays, in Hollywood, more and more remakes appear. She didn’t go in any details as to how these remakes are, or even why they are made. However, she said something very important: The Sound of Music is too perfect to get the same treatment.

And everything resides in the perfect cast, from the captain to the children (the latter weren’t at all professional actors or singers and, after the film’s release, went on with their lives outside of the industry). It was a genuine story told by people that loved it – the interest wasn’t to make big bucks, which is obviously the aim of all the remakes.

I also believe that this movie shouldn’t be remade or re-imagined or anything between these lines. However, a story about the making of the movie would be very interesting, given the complications which arose during its production (no less than 6 directors were asked to do it, while Maria Augusta von Trapp didn’t approve with most of the critical changes made to the original material).

Of course, Saving the Von Trapps isn’t a title at all. However, given the lack of new ideas which haunts Hollywood right now, the concept is an interesting one. I, for once, would love a movie like this.

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