Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Film Review: The Sound of Music

Otherwise known as 'Nun Game'.
This is not so much a film review as an exercise in Catholic romanticism. I am sometimes prone to that. My bad. Not sure what the cure is, but I don't want it anyway.

Bellita, this one is for you :-)

Is this the film that spawned millions of 'I wanna be a nun' wishes by Catholic (and even non-Catholic) young women?
Is this the film that could have changed the course of my life?

I make no secret of the fact that like a lot of Catholic women (at least from my generation) at some point in their lives, I did consider religious life as a possible option for me.

It was a serious consideration.
But in the end, I knew it wasn't for me.
But for ever and ever, I shall sing the praises of nuns. I know why I respect these women...

Yes, I sometimes have mini-seizures over nuns who seem to be outside of my little picture-perfect idea of what a nun should be like.

I get all heated up under the collar when Congolese nuns demand The Pill because they are at high risk of rape in war zones, as I think this is as anti-Catholic as one can get.
Right, Bell?
So, sure, we don't let even nuns get away with anything.
But I think that's healthy. It shows we are not biased...

But we give credit where credit is due.

I have grown up with nuns and priests. I still have a lot of contact with nuns and priests. I 'get' them. I know them. I like them.

And for those who think Catholic priests are lucky because they don't have women yapping away in their ears all day (otherwise known as 'nagging'), think again:
I heard this joke a long time ago. I really hope it's not a true story, but I have this sinking feeling that it might be.

A man goes into the confessional at his local church to confess his sins and take the opportunity to complain bitterly about his wife, who he believes is responsible for his sinning in the first place.
He says to the priest: "Father, you are so lucky not to have a woman in your life ruining everything for you".

The priest turns round and says, "Are you kidding me? I am the chaplain of a convent. I get all the trouble from women and none of the good part. At least you get to have sex once in a while!"


I once joked on this blog that I lived in a convent high in the Swiss Alps.
It was in fact, only a half-joke.
I do know a group of nuns who live in a convent in a location like this, in fact not far from where 'The Sound of music' was shot.

I have said this before, but I really do believe that nuns (in a cruel twist) would make the best wives and mothers. There is a freaky reason why this might be so, but I shan't dwell on this right now. Perhaps others may have their own theories on this?

The ones I know can be incredibly "wife and mother material". Surprisingly so.
I have noticed this all my life.
Maybe this is why I wanted to join them.

I must have watched 'The Sound of Music' a thousand times by now.
But it is only now dawning on me that it is one of the most Red Pill films ever!

A confident older man with seven kids successfully (if accidentally in this case) Games a would-be nun so much that she abandons God in favour of him...

'The Sound of Music' reminds me very much of the film 'Firelight'. An alpha man, a child/children, a woman arriving into the frame to care for said child/children. Love ensues...

Of course Maria never made it to full religious life.
I think I would have had the same complaints made against me as shown below, had I been in her shoes: when you are not cut out for it, you just aren't.

The first encounter between Maria and Captain Von Trapp. It's all there...dominance, negs, aloofness. She didn't stand a chance, poor girl :-)

But the most important question for me is, will I ever outgrow this scene? Some of these creatures bear an uncanny resemblance to one of my cuddle bunnies :-)

And if I ever have a daughter, she is memorising this song from the age of ...sixteen!
This is the ultimate Girl Game, no?
Liesl is sixteen and can't wait to marry Rolf. To her, Rolf is soooo much older and wiser!
How many women can say to a man, 'I will depend on you?'
Exactly. We just don't know how...in this modern age. And yet, many men are dependable. Not all, sure, but the majority still are.
But I accept that a boy of seventeen going on eighteen is the wrong person to say this to, granted!

Maria is in love with Captain Von Trapp. She can't handle this, so she runs away back to the convent. Mother Supeior sends her right back to 'face her problems'. A convent is no haven from worldly problems. True. This is good Red Pill advice, for both men and women.
What a beautiful family anthem!
Bell, this will be you one day, homeschooling your brood :-)
The convent I know doesn't have a Sister Mary Clarence. But they could sure use one to spice things up a bit :-)
Mass is never this exciting where I am either!
And even the Pope gives a standing ovation when they sing 'I will follow Him' :-)
Yes, the reality is that some nuns evoke bad memories in some people. Films like 'The Magdalene Sisters' apparently don't even do this subject enough justice.
I refer here to 'the good kind'. People I know. And the lessons I can draw from their good example is... priceless.
If anyone wants to watch all of 'The Sound of Music'...
Gentlemen, recognise yourselves in 00:46:01-00:47:10 and 1:08:00-1:14:00?
1:25:20-1:32:30 is total chick-crack! The men would do well to avoid this bit.
How lovely is the ländler! It is as graceful a dance as the tango is sensual...
And out of the mouths of babes...
Kurt says: "Only grown up men are afraid of women!"
And Gretl says: "I think the men look beautiful".


Anonymous said...

Hi, ST, PVW here.

Of course, I saw the Sound of Music. Such a uniquely Roman Catholic story, but I can't say I saw it as often as you. The family eventually relocated, though, to the US and their descendants live in Stowe, Vermont.

So they began near you in Switzerland, and would up near me in northern New England.

I think a number of very religious Roman Catholic girls think at some point about the possibility of becoming a nun. I know I did at some point, but I was in junior high school. I forgot about that as I got older.

In thinking about nuns from the Episcopal Church perspective, it can get confusing. There are orders for women religious who are nuns, but not all of them are--an old friend is a member of an order, but she might not be a nun. I'd have to look up the differences.

When women were ordained only to the diaconate, they could remain deacons only as long as they were single (ie., remained celibate). Once they married, they could no longer be deacons. Were they ordained? I am not sure. I'd have to look that up too.

But I do know that in today's world, most calls are to the diaconate and priesthood, male and female, celibate or not, they decide. But if a woman wanted to become a nun, that is certainly acceptable.

It is interesting, but orders for women religious in the Angican Church only came about, as far as I recall, from the Anglo-Catholic revival led by the Oxford Movement in England. At first, many Anglicans and Episcopalians were appalled that they were becoming too "papist" in rejecting their Protestant roots. John Henry Newman is the most well-known of the Anglo-Catholics. He became a Roman Catholic priest and eventually a cardinal.

It is interesting, our new priest whom we just called, is very Anglo-Catholic, he wears a Roman-style collar, he has chosen to be celibate although he doesn't need to. It is quite understandable, in that he came from a strong Roman Catholic upbringing prior to Vatican Council 2. Yet for some reason, he didn't want to become a Roman Catholic priest.

Spacetraveller said...

Small correction, PVW.

The Von Trapp family came originally from Austria. With the Anschluss (the unification of Austria with Nazi Germany) they escaped into Switzerland by trekking through the Alps in the middle of the night.

My own 'vocation' didn't last very long, I must say.

But there are times (like now) when I hark back to that time in my life and I wonder what might have been...
It's a nice trip down memory lane.
Of course I am not the same person I was at 15...
It is however nice to encounter that girl again and to say 'hello' to her :-)

There are vocations for old, married women (and men) to religious life too. These people are usually widowed but not exclusively.
That doesn't appeal to me, but hey, you never know...

Carnivore said...

I prefer reality to Hollywood glitz. Maria married Georg von Trapp in the late 20's. Georg lost his fortune during the Depression, while still in Austria, so they retreated to a section of their villa and rented out the other rooms. They left Austria for Italy, before Austria was absorbed into Germany, and then traveled to the USA.

Unfortunately, poor quality, but a look and hear of the real family. The priest playing the keyboard is Father Wasner, who was their director and conductor for many years.

Beautiful audio quality with still pictures

Spacetraveller said...

@ Carnivore,

Thank you for that extra info!

It's true, the reality is even better than the fantasy with this family. I am astounded as to how they have remained close all these years despite their hardships. For instance, the youngest child ("Gretl" - actually her real name was Martina) died at the age of 30 during childbirth, and delivered a stillborn child. (Can you imagine the grief of her husband, who would have lost both his wife and daughter at the same time...).
The eldest daughter Liesl (Agathe in real life) and one of the boys also died before Maria...

The great-grandchildren are carrying on the tradition, which is fantastic!

I have always liked the idea of large families. I myself come from a small family, and after I got over the whole nun idea, my next thought was...a large family! :-) So you could say, I swung from one extreme to the other.
But alas, at my age that may not be possible unless I have multiple pregnancies...

Large families tend to be trouble lol but I like the idea of them because they represent a certain wholesomeness - the perfect antidote to the 'me me me' culture we live in...
And, (and forgive me for my nauseating nostalgia), there is something so CATHOLIC about a large family. Think Ireland in the 40s and 50s before The Pill was introduced...

But alas, a man in a culture such as this would really have to be a man of means.

But it is also true that 'God will provide'. Georg von Trapp lost all his money in the Depression as you say.
But they survived - Maria made sure they sang their way into prosperity. Talk about a Proverbs 31 wife!
So yes, a woman with a good imagination and creative mind can be an asset to a man...whether he is poor or rich...

In today's culture, Maria may well have divorced Georg when he lost his fortune...
There's another Red Pill lesson in there somewhere for me...

Lonely Himalayan Bear said...

"But alas, at my age that may not be possible unless I have multiple pregnancies..."

I can help you get started
by offering an idea. :-)

Adoption could be a good way to go and less hassle-free than what most people think.

Spacetraveller said...

@ Bear,

You naughty boy lol.

I fell into the trap you set out for me :-D

Well, I think I phrased my words wrong. I meant 'more than one baby per pregnancy' when I said 'multiple pregnancy'. I didn't mean 'several pregnancies' if that helps.

Ooooh, I think I might be ruffling Bell's feathers (and yours) a bit when I say this...
I am not at all a fan of adoption. And yes the bureaucracy makes the process far from enjoyable, I hear.

Having said that, I wonder if I am just not 'mature' enough...
Who knows, I might well end up adopting. But I am one of those women who really REALLy want their own biological children.

But yes, after two or three of my own, I could erhaps also adopt more to fulfill my dreeam of ths super-large family :-)
Assming I (we) are financially able to look after them all. And of course, my future husband's opinion on this would be paramount.
And this is where the plan could fall flat on its face. No matter how much I may wish to adopt, if my husband says no, no it is. I couldn't see it working ala OctoMum who went on to have fourteen children against her husband's wishes...
I don't think I could ever do that! I think having/adopting children really should be a two-people decision...

There is also another reason I have come to view adoption with suspicion: all those celebrities adopting kids from all corners of the globe, (especially those single ones) makes me think they are doing it as some sort of 'fad'. I hope I am wrong of course, but it really does seem like they do it as some sort of 'fashion trend'. Which is so wrong. We are talking about a child's life. They should not be used in this way.
Sure, they end up with a nice life, as opposed to poverty in some orphanage somewhere, which is a good thing.
So perhaps I should keep my peace on this :-)

I know Bell is an ardent fan of adoption. She has said as much on this blog. If someone like her adopts, I shall have true respect. It's all about the intent/motive. Bell's intentions would be noble/real/genuine.
I am not so sure about Hollywood stars...

Anonymous said...


OctoMum who went on to have fourteen children against her husband's wishes...


She is unmarried. As far as I understand, she used donor sperm and inseminations. I don't know whether he is a known donor.

Spacetraveller said...


Yes she is single now. But she was married. She went against her husband's wishes vis à vis kids, and this may have contributed to their divorce. He said after the divorce that he didn't want so many kids - and this is when she only had six!
As a single woman, she went on to have the eight that made her famous...

I have actually no problem with her having so many kids (and frankly, this is not my business anyway!) but I think she would have been wiser to 'negotiate' better with her husband...He might still be with her now if she had respected his wishes more, or at least persuaded him to go along with her decision...
But then again, maybe she is happier without him?
I wonder...

Anonymous said...

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Spacetraveller said...

@ Anonymous at 3:06PM,

Feel free to email me. Address provided under 'About me'.

just visiting said...

I think that the more a person makes a conscious effort to live their life with principals, integrity and honor, the better person they become. It makes sense that a nun would make a good wife and mother because she would have spent a great deal of time contemplating these things. And whether cloistered or not, they would spend a great deal of time learning patience and selflessness.

Spacetraveller said...

Touché, JV!

I think you are right!

As you may know, I went to an all-girl convent school.
One of the nuns said to us when I was around 16/17:
"As a nun, you are taught to love more widely. This way, you can spread the love of God to people beyond your family and friends. You are not restricted to a few people. Same goes for priests".

(It is one of the reasons priests were no longer allowed to marry after a certain infamous period in the Church's history where priests were acting in their family's self interest to the detriment of the wider Church).

That is actually the moment that killed it for me. I didn't want to be a nun anymore.
I wanted to love a certain specified 'unit'. That 'unit' I have come to understand to be my own little family... NOT an unspecified wider world.

It was at this point that I realised I was way too selfish to become a nun.

Quite apart from the fact that I also wasn't sure I could handle a lifetime of celibacy :-)

Um, well, it IS possible, I guess. But at 16, my endocrine state was a little different from how it is today :-)
Even in the absence of boys in my social circle I had doubts about this.
Well, I am glad I was honest with myself.
Perhaps that nun (my headmistress) knew what she was doing? Several of us girls dropped out of the running after that little speech of hers. She sure knew how to weed out the wheat from the chaff, didn't she, lol.

God rest her soul.

Bellita said...

Bellita, this one is for you

A whole post dedicated to me? :D Oh, ST, you shouldn't have! *bats eyelashes*

But did I ever tell you that The Sound of Music is my favorite movie of all time? Hahahaha! Yes, truly! One day I'll do a full analysis of it on my blog and dedicate it to you!

Ooooh, I think I might be ruffling Bell's feathers (and yours) a bit when I say this... I am not at all a fan of adoption.

I guess I will surprise you now by saying my opinion may be closer to yours than you think! While I probably would adopt a baby who was abandoned on my doorstep (as mentioned in an earlier thread), I don't know if I would go out of my way to "get" a child. There's something about the modern process of adoption that is too akin to the process of surrogacy: the former may not involve an actual sin like the latter does, but it crosses too many ethical lines for me. Children end up going to those who can afford to place the highest "bids."

Before I go any further, let me make one thing clear: I do believe that childless couples who open their hearts to orphaned children, and who end up "forgetting" that the children were adopted, are doing a beautiful thing. But there is a reason I could never actively join their ranks.

Strangers should always be the last resort. Try to find a blood relative first. Failing that, at least keep the child in his own country. Parents provide not just a good upbringing for the future, but also a link to the past. And if you don't know where you came from, then you don't really know who you are. Adoptive parents may be providing excellent homes and incredible love to children who might otherwise have had miserable lives, but let's not gloss over the huge price that the child ultimately pays.

(A very good friend of mine is an American of Irish descent who recently adopted a baby from China. When she brought him home, her biological son remarked, "He's no longer Chinese! He's now Irish like us!" Of course, I would never say anything to my friend that would rain on her happiness. But I think too many adoptive families make the same breathtaking dismissal of what is actually a huge part of someone's identity--and that it is a mistake. I think the least she could do to make it up to her new son is to get the whole family to learn Chinese. Seriously.)

Spacetraveller said...


When I saw this film again recently, I immediately thought of you!
Perhaps it was the guitar...
Perhaps it was the thought of you being a teacher...
Perhaps it was the thought of you with a whole brood of adoptive kids...
I don't know what exactly it was, but I just had to dedicate this one to you. It was highly appropriate, in my view.

I am surprised to hear what you have to say about adoption. I do understand your argument though.

I imagine getting a blood relative would be quite difficult, unless their parents die or are otherwise incapacitated for some reason. Much more likely to end up with a stranger, no?
And yes, I never really thought about the parents being a link to the past, but that makes sense.
Lots of kids adopted from far-off lands into Western countries are now 'lost' adults, not really knowing who they are.
I remember Seal making such remarks about his childhood (he was born of Nigerian parents and adopted by an English couple) even though his adoption was a true haven (from an abusive mother). Same for Fatima Whitbread who also had an abusive biological mother and therefore regards her adoptive parents as a godsend, but even so, there must be the sensation that something is missing...

The whole family to learn Chinese?
Do you mean that?!
Whoa, you're strict on this issue!
But I get what you mean...

I am delighted to hear 'The Sound of Music' is also your fav film.
I always thought Julie Andrews was such a talented and elegant actress, and she is one of my all-time fav actresses. I also liked her in 'Mary Poppins'...

Would you agree that it is a Red Pill film?
Indeed, all of life pre-feminism was Red Pill lol!

Bellita said...

I imagine getting a blood relative would be quite difficult, unless their parents die or are otherwise incapacitated for some reason. Much more likely to end up with a stranger, no?

That's true. I'm not naive enough to believe the ideal option is also feasible. :( But I do think there's a dark side to adoption that people turn a blind eye to because the model we have now is too much of a sacred cow to challenge.

The whole family to learn Chinese?
Do you mean that?!

Kind of. :P As someone who has studied several foreign languages for fun and is currently teaching English to Francophones, I'm very aware of how many doors fluency in a language can open . . . and how many doors an inability to understand a language can slam closed. And it seems only logical to equip him with Mandarin or Cantonese so that if he ever wants to visit the land of his birth, he won't be too much of an outsider.

But my point is just that they should not act as if his Chinese heritage is no longer important just because "he's Irish now." Adoption does not erase the past, even if it makes it a hundred times more difficult to see it.

Bellita said...

Back to the original topic . . .

I remember reading a fun book called Growing Up Catholic in which the authors joked that The Sound of Music is the Good Catholic Girl's ultimate romantic fantasy because she spends some time in a convent, gets the Reverend Mother's blessing to marry instead, and then has seven children without seemingly having any sex. ;)

Spacetraveller said...

"...in which the authors joked that The Sound of Music is the Good Catholic Girl's ultimate romantic fantasy because she spends some time in a convent, gets the Reverend Mother's blessing to marry instead, and then has seven children without seemingly having any sex."


The PERFECT life for a good Catholic Girl!

And for her alter-ego...
Never goes anywhere near a convent let alone Reverend Mother. Marriage? Are you kidding me?
Lots of sex, and no kids, please!


Just teasing...

I do wonder how Maria would have assessed the change in the course of her life.
There she is wanting to be a num, albeit failing miserably, because she is just too much of a 'free bird', and all of a sudden she is to 'endure' marriage and seven kids, where she is barely older than the eldest kid?
And the question of sex MUST have been quite foreign to her, being a simple, orphaned girl living in a convent...

I read that on her application for American citizenship she had declared that the first of her own 3 children with von Trapp was born in the February following their November wedding, which would have implied that she was 6 months pregnant when she married him! I knew instinctively this was impossible, even before reading further that examination of her wedding pictures proved that she could NOT have been so far advanced in pregnancy at the time of her wedding.
It was simply a mistake of memory on her part. I am sure she meant that the birth of her eldest occurred not 3 months after her wedding, but 15 months after.
Somehow I just can't picture a heavily pregnant Maria at her wedding in the convent with all her nun friends preparing her for her wedding...


just visiting said...

"...in which the authors joked that The Sound of Music is the Good Catholic Girl's ultimate romantic fantasy because she spends some time in a convent, gets the Reverend Mother's blessing to marry instead, and then has seven children without seemingly having any sex."

Oh dear lord this is funny.

Spacetraveller said...

@ JV,

"Oh dear lord this is funny."
N'est-ce pas?
It cracked me up too.

I was thinking about that '16 going on 17' song all day...
I think it would make a great wedding anthem to be sung by the couple, whatever their ages.
Don't you think?

A man saying he'll take care of his new wife, a woman saying she'll depend on her new husband...
Very romantic.

And for all those shaking their heads and/or rolling their eyes, OK, OK, the terms of the pre-nup can also be inserted into the song somewhere...
Happy now?