Study Guide

The Sound of Music Family

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CAPTAIN VON TRAPP: Children, in the morning I shall be going to Vienna.

CHILDREN: Not again, Father!

GRETL: How long will you be gone this time, Father?

CAPTAIN VON TRAPP: I'm not sure, Gretl, not sure.

In addition to summoning them with a whistle and just generally avoiding any displays of affection, the captain also spends a lot of time away from home. You'll be happy to know that his children remembered the real Georg von Trapp as a fun, loving Dad who spent tons of time with them. That wouldn't have made as good a movie, though. The plot needed to have him cold and distant so it could illustrate the power of music and love.

MAX: Do I hear wedding bells?

BARONESS: Pealing madly! But not necessarily for me.

The captain brings the baroness home to meet the children, which both she and Max are hoping is a sign that he's thinking marriage. Somehow, she doesn't strike us as the family type. She's portrayed as glamorous and worldly, but not interested in the messy business of raising kids. If one of the governesses only lasted two hours, we can imagine the baroness lasting ten minutes.

MARIA: And the little ones just want to be loved. Oh please, Captain, love them, love them all!

Maria nails the captain on his refusal to let his children be children or offer them any affection. This is the scene where we really see Maria as the anti-baroness. We're practically screaming at the screen for the captain to wake up and ditch the other woman before it's too late.

GRETL: Father, who is our new governess going to be?

VON TRAPP: Well, you're not going to have a governess anymore.

CHILDREN [together]: We're not?

VON TRAPP: No. You're going to have a new mother.

We don't know about you, but Shmoop found this scene to be very upsetting. The baroness is standing there stiff as a board; she's just told Max that she's shipping the kids off to boarding school ASAP after the wedding. The kids are devastated and trying not to show it. It is not looking good for the children. Or for Maria, who's on her way back to the house to take the biggest risk of her life.

VON TRAPP: Maria, is there anyone I should go to, to ask permission to marry you?

MARIA: Why don't we ask . . .

VON TRAPP: . . . the children?

We've known all along that this von Trapp family would eventually include Maria—we just didn't know how it was going to happen. Thanks to the baroness for removing herself from the picture so that Georg can marry the woman he's just realized he really loves. Somehow, we don't think the kids are going to object.

CAPTAIN VON TRAPP: Max! Somehow I recall having made it quite clear to you how I feel about my family singing in public.

Even though Captain von Trapp has let music into the house again, he does not want to put his children on display. He's loosened up, but not that much. The idea is a little too "Toddlers and Tiaras" for his taste.

LIESL: Mother? That sounds so nice. I like calling you "Mother. "

MARIA: I like hearing it.

Maria and Liesl get down to some serious mother-daughter bonding when the von Trapps return from their honeymoon. Liesl may have initially claimed she didn't need a governess, but turns out she most definitely wanted and needed a mother.

CAPTAIN VON TRAPP: It says the von Trapp Family Singers. And I am the head of the von Trapp family, am I not?

With some quick thinking, the captain manages to convince Herr Zeller that the family's on its way to the festival to sing (as opposed to fleeing the country). It's appropriate that the music that rescued their family in a more emotional way earlier in the film is now going to save them in a more concrete way.

Another real-life fact: Maria and the captain married in 1927, eleven years before the German invasion. The family did win the Salzburg Music Festival in 1936 and began singing together professionally all over Europe. When they left Austria in 1938, they traveled with their musical conductor.

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