Why the Movie Got Bad Reviews (at First)

March 2, 2015 11:01 AM

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Why the Movie Got Bad Reviews (at First)

From the day of its world premiere 50 years ago, on Mar. 2, 1965, just about everyone knew that The Sound of Music was a great movie. Audiences flocked to it like the ecstatic faithful at a Sunday service that rewarded their devotion with its high purpose, beautiful hymns and an angelic choir. They quickly made it the most popular attraction in the first half-century of the Hollywood feature film, not eclipsed until Star Wars a dozen years later. Indeed, in terms of tickets sold in its initial theatrical run, The Sound of Music trails only Gone With the Wind (another movie about a strong woman in a prewar crisis) as the biggest hit of all time.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences loved the movie big time, festooning it with 10 nominations and five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, at the 1966 ceremony. The startling highlight of last week’s Oscar show was Lady Gaga singing four of Richard Rodgers’ and Oscar Hamm...

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