The Sound of Music

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When an energetic young woman training to become nun enrolls as governess for a family of eight—seven children and a staunch, domineering father—her cheerful disposition quickly conflicts with the stern, restrictive atmosphere of her surroundings. This conflict leads her to question her devotion to the nunnery, the environment of which is just as oppressive as the family’s home. Nevertheless, throughout her journey, the young governess enjoys a carefree lifestyle in spite of her situation, and the conflicts that arise as a result become the subject of visual representation. This is the story of an iconic film that implements on screen visual cues to promote the same values held and exemplified by the governess’ character. From its title sequence to its closing credits, Robert Wise’s The Sound of Music (1965) uses visual design to express themes of liberation and nonconformism by contrasting oppressive environments with onscreen elements that represent personal freedom; the blatant disparities are the result of character placement and shot composition, costuming, and lighting arrangement. By harnessing meaningful visual elements, the film creates juxtapositions that are easily noticed by the audience and, therefore, effectively communicate themes. One of the earliest juxtapositions the audience will notice is the film’s title and opening credit sequence, which comprises two important visual elements that work in tandem to demonstrate the film’s overarching theme of freedom. The title design’s bright, glistening, yellow color suggests springtime and sunshine, both of which characterize the preceding scene, and the font’s curved, wide, emboldened style seems jovial and whimsical. Such blithe feelings are natural and expected in a mus... ... middle of paper ... ...ting produces a mood of fear, suspense, and results in a true cinematic climax. As a time in history full of persecution and oppression, the setting of The Sound of Music has themes of liberation, freedom, and nonconformism embedded in its core. The film successfully brings these thought provoking themes to light through its visual design, which carefully connects them to the audience using juxtapositions of character placement and shot composition, costuming, and lighting arrangement. Due to its visual design, the film effortlessly grabs and maintains the attention of its viewers throughout its extended duration. Clearly, the film’s precise use of visual design supports the story, its themes, and its timeless connection to the audience. Works Cited The Sound of Music. Dir. Rober Wise. Perf. Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. Ken Films, 1965. Online Video.

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