Thursday, April 23, 2015


Some 50th celebrations are way better than others.

My friend is celebrating her big birthday in style, with a trip to Paris, a ride on the Orient Express and time in Italy. The last thing I expected was to hear from her while she was gone.

OMG! Girl! I'm drinking the rest of the wine from dinner and Prosecco (lord) but all is well in Venice as it is, back streets, waterways and the square. It's all good. Wish you were here. I kind of channeled you for a minute or two when I was in dire straights here and there. Hmm, what would Karen do? Worked every time.

True, she's in Venice and I'm in Richmond, but her unexpected message made my day. Ask anyone who knows me. I'm a sucker for words.

First it made me stand up a little taller, knowing I was being channeled on the other side of the pond. Then I crossed my fingers hoping that doing what I would do doesn't get her in any trouble. It's been known to happen.

So while she's probably being complimented by Italian men (one of my favorite parts of being in Italy) and drinking great wine (my second favorite part), my evening was spent celebrating the 50th anniversary of "The Sound of Music."

I kid you not.

She's probably eating hand-rolled pasta at some quaint little trattoria on the edge of the square with Italian love songs playing softly in the background while I was digging into black bean nachos at 821 Cafe alongside the bearded, pierced and tattooed crowd while loud thrash music played.

I've got no idea what she might do afterwards - the opera perhaps? an after dinner drink on a corner patio? - but I doubt she had the option of going to one of the 50th anniversary screenings of the restored version of "The Sound of Music" like I did.

That's right, the hills were alive, right here in Richmond.

TCM was presenting the special screenings for two days (this past Sunday and today) for two screenings each day. And, yes, Robert Osborne, looking, and especially sounding, as old as dirt provided the intro and commentary afterwards.

Honestly, I had no expectations of how many people might show up for an over-priced chance to see a 50-year old movie that lasts three hours, but a good-sized number did.

And let's think about that run time for a moment, shall we? Ah, 1965 when audiences had the attention span for films that long. As it was, tonight's audience couldn't have been further removed from the one this movie had been made for, talking whenever they pleased, looking at their cell phones throughout and a few even leaving at intermission.

Some people were clearly raised by wolves.

Me, I just sat back and enjoyed it for all the same reasons I've watched it with pleasure for decades.

Corny or not, I like Rodgers and Hammerstein's songs. Beautifully shot, the scenery of Austria is breathtaking. It's not only based on a true story, but the unlikeliest of romances. And Christopher Plummer at age 35 was, to use a friend's phrase, a good-looking hunk of man meat.

But as many times as I've seen it, apparently I needed Robert Osborne to fill me in on fun facts about the classic.

How Julie Andrews kept getting knocked down from the helicopter's down draft while filming the opening scene on the mountaintop. How using seven kids presented unique problems such as one kid growing six inches during filming and the two youngest losing a total of four teeth during shooting (they capped the lost teeth for continuity's sake). How Plummer was drunk in the last scene.

Hardly surprising that the classically trained actor who referred to the movie as "The Sound of Mucous" needed to tipple to get through the shooting.

Meanwhile, my friend is tippling in Venice and channeling me. That's my kind of 50th celebration.

No comments:

Post a Comment