I first saw The Sound of Music with my parents and sister at the old Coronet Theater in Davenport. It was a transformative and magical evening and the film became one of our familys' favorites. We dutifully watched it each year on television during the Thanksgiving holiday.
Years later we were living in Los Angeles where we ran into director Robert Wise at a special screening of The Sound of Music in Westwood. Well, we didn't exactly run into him, but he was sitting directly behind us with Carmian Carr, the woman who played Liesl in the the now classic musical. We were so close that we could hear the great director's every groan as the faded, color-shifted, scratched, and otherwise damaged film print sent over by 20th Century Fox snaked its way through the projector and onto the screen. In spite of the problems, the movie is so good that the audience was still hanging on almost every wide-screen cinematic moment.
Then, without warning, the projectionist began showing a reel out of order. A collective moan rose up from now deeply disappointed theater-goers. They'd had enough. The lights came up while the trouble upstairs got straightened out. Mr. Wise did the slow burn behind us. Soon people noticed his presence and began approaching him for autographs. He courteously soldiered on with pen in hand (a pen we loaned him), while the chaos in the projection booth seemed to take forever to untangle.
Then Mr. Wise decided he'd had enough. He left the screening along with Ms. Charmian and their guests. I couldn't blame them. 20th Century Fox should have been ashamed of themselves for sending over a battle-weary print of this classic (and very profitable) film to a director's screening.
Later the lights went down and the film continued. We still enjoyed it.
[I am reminded that Mr. Wise edited Citizen Kane, and actually dragged fresh "newsreel" footage across the floor to purposely give it the scratched up road-show quality that this print of his renouned musical had been exhibiting during this special screening.]
Enough reminiscing. You too, can see The Sound of Music with an audience (a much different experience from a solitary DVD viewing), without the realtime commentary of its director, at the River's Edge in Daveport at 700 River Drive on July 16, 2010 at 8:00 pm.
Admission is FREE.