As part of the Conversation Series, I’ll be speaking with certain contributors about certain movies at certain times.
Zach Schonfeld is a “writer” living in “Manhattan.” He is currently a reporter for Newsweek Magazine and studied English and American Studies at Wesleyan University, for which we’re all very proud.
We spoke at length about 1965’s Best Picture winner, The Sound of Music.
Sam Sklar: Let’s first start with overall impressions and thoughts about the movie.
Zach Schonfeld: Well, I’d seen the play before but I’d never actually seen the film before. And it was very whimsical I thought; it was very family friendly. It is interesting that movies like that were pretty frequently nominated for Oscars in the ’60s. And now musicals don’t win best picture anymore.
S: The last one was Chicago [in 2002]
Z: I mean, La La Land, came close…but today, movies that are so whimsical are seen as being un-serious by critics, but that wasn’t the case back then, which I find interesting. There’s an historic element to the film, too. It captures a specific era of history, which would be the Nazi era. But it translates it for family-friendly audiences.
S: It sanitizes it a little bit, where the Nazis were just your typical adversarial element rather than a world-changing evil, in a way.
Z: Yea, it didn’t really contend with the reality of Nazis, but you can’t really expect it to do that. The music – not my thing, as I don’t really listen to show tunes, but it’s obviously endured incredibly. It’s hard to think of another musical from that era that has endured.
S: The only on I can think of “My Fair Lady”.
Z: Yea, I mean. Even that hasn’t been quite as ubiquitous. Maybe West Side Story?
S: So what do you think it is about these songs, because you can remember, “Doe, a Deer…” and obviously you’ve got “My Favorite Things” (wait is that that song, yes that’s that song). Then there’s, “How do you deal with a problem like Maria” songs that are very nostalgic.
For me, I first saw this as a kid with my dad [probably around 1996], and I liked it because it was basically made for kids. I enjoyed more now [in 2018] as a piece of nostalgic media rather than a “great movie,” but the story’s pretty solid. I don’t know what classifies it as a “timeless, great film.” Continue reading “ The Sound of Music I”