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A new Sound of Music

Posted: November 7, 2013 10:36 a.m.
Updated: November 8, 2013 5:00 a.m.

What do you get when you combine one of today’s most electrifying performers with the grandest, most phenomenal, sappiest sound track of all time?

Why, of course, you get a resurrection of The Sound Of Music, starring Carrie Underwood. The live performance will appear on NBC Dec. 5.

Even people who scoff at country music like Carrie Underwood. She’s gorgeous, has the voice of a songbird and vaulted to fame on the strength of her performance in American Idol a few years ago.

And The Sound Of Music? The movie -- and Broadway hit prior to that -- that everyone laughs at but loves?

It’s a classic, and my kids grew up on family viewings and sing-a-rounds, as did millions of families across the country.

We watched this bag of saccharine so many times that all of us still know most of the dialogue and all the songs by heart. We don’t even need the soundtrack; we can sing the entire thing a capella.

(Oh, come on, quit smirking and admit it: you’ve watched it, too. And you like it.)

Underwood has big shoes to fill. Taking Julie Andrews’ role might be the toughest reprise in show business.

After a dab of the hanky and careful consultation with Hollywood movie executives, I offer the 10 schmaltziest scenes in The Sound Of Music:

(10) Maria leaves the family and returns to the convent to ask the Mother Superior what life is all about. Mother Superior launches into an impromptu version of “Climb Every Mountain,” complete with close-up camera shots that show every pore in her chin.

(9) Georg (I thought it was “Gaylord” until I was about 33 years old) comes home from a business trip to find Maria and the children all having a good time in a boat. They proceed to get flustered and fall out of the boat into the lake. Smiling all the while, of course.

(8) Georg sings “Edelweiss” at the Salzburg Folk Festival, and the audience joins in.

(7) Soaking wet from a rainstorm, Leisl climbs in Maria’s window and hears Maria’s fake prayer that the two will become fast friends. Shazaam! They become fast friends.

(6) At the big party, Georg asks Maria to dance, and suddenly they find themselves gazing cow-like into each other’s eyes as the baroness looks on in a calculating, sneering manner. Number 5 -- see directly below -- follows this scene.

(5) The Baroness Von Schrader (Boooo-oo-ooo-oo! Hissss-ss-ss-ss-ss!) shrewdly tells Maria that Georg is in love with her and that Maria, though she may not know it, is herself showing all the signs of love. Maria ruminates guiltily on this, fights her feelings and returns to the convent.

(4) Leisl and Rolfe dance on the lawn and sing “I Am 16, You Are 17” to each other. Then they kiss. Barely.

(3) As the children demonstrate their new-found singing talent soon after Maria’s arrival, Georg enters the room and, overcome by emotion, joins them in a rousing chorus of “I go to the hills, when my heart is lonely, I know I will hear what I’ve heard before…”

(2) Another join-in: The kids, heartbroken by Maria’s departure for the convent and Georg’s upcoming marriage to the baroness (boo, hiss again!), sing “The Sound of Music” in a mournful tone. At the height of their misery, they hear a familiar voice joining in the song. Presto! Maria’s back! (How far did she walk from the convent? She shore did look fresh and purty to have trudged that far...)

(1) And yes, the absolute schmaltziest moment of the movie: the children, preparing to go to bed while the adults party down, sing a cute little song (“Farewell, goodnight…”) and individually run up the stairs. They gather at the top, and in a moment of dramatic foreshadowing, their “goodnight” turns to “goodbye” and the children wave to the adults below. The grown-ups, champagne glasses in hand, sing back to them, “Gooooooood-byyy-eeeee,” and deliver a heart-breaking wave to the kids.

So mark Dec. 5 on your calendars. It’ll be bigger than the Super Bowl, bigger than “24,” bigger than Downton Abbey. And it all happens soon.

I can’t wait, and please pass the Kleenex.

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