I risked not getting a seat at all when I chose to wait standby for the 70 mm screening of The Sound of Music at the Motion Picture Academy last night in Beverly Hills. When you are on the standby list, you may not get in, and if you do, you may get the worst seat in the house, craning your neck to increasingly awkward angles while attempting to see around the tall gentleman sitting in front of you. Or, you may be lucky and end up sitting a couple of seats down from Charmian Carr and one row in front of Kym Karath. Those names sound insignificant until you know that they played the eldest and the youngest of the Von Trapp children, respectively.
A kind woman that I chatted with in the standby line and I decided to sit together. Though the theater appeared filled to capacity save some lone straggler seats between groups, we decided to venture further down the aisles to view all seating options. We noticed a string of seats together and somehow didn't notice the "guest of Carr" signs draped over them. We unknowingly asked Charmian herself if we could sit there and she consented. Thus making us, technically, "guests of Carr." We weren't even disobeying the sign.
For my entire life, people have told me that I "must see" The Sound of Music. Not doing so, I was informed, meant missing out on a cinematic masterpiece and an American classic. Despite assurances to them, I brushed off the idea and figured I would get to it eventually. Well, eventually happened last night. I understand every rave review and positive comment about the movie now- in fact, they all seem like understatements.
The Sound of Music transported me away from my life and into a magic world. The Von Trapps and Maria tapped into every emotional vein in my body. I laughed out loud, tapped my feet to the tunes already ingrained in my memory, clutched the armrests in tension towards the end and never failed to be enchanted. Despite the long running time, boredom never crept into the emotional spectrum I experienced while in the theater. The constant movement from scene to scene and within the scenes themselves paired with the stunning visuals wouldn't allow for any boredom. Knowing the film's basis on true facts made it all the more powerful. The resilient human spirit and its ability to stand up to forces like Hitler and his army never cease to strike a chord with me.