Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Top Films: Edelweiss, Tuppence, and Tapioca

In the 1960’s Julie Andrews starred in, among other films, a trilogy of some of the best ever Musicals. All three take a strong and perhaps surprisingly traditional attitude towards love and relationships. Taken in reverse order:

1967. Thoroughly Modern Millie’s title character is a girl in the roaring twenties obsessed with being a “modern.” She wants to compete with the boys, snag a rich boss, and marry him. Love doesn’t factor; it isn’t a “modern” ideal. The problem is a man named Jimmy. They meet, become friends and fall in love. Jimmy is in every way the man Millie needs; he is even the man she wants though she doesn’t see it. After an adventure involving white slavery, Millie realizes that her “modern” expectations are unimportant, and that she will be happier following her heart—however “traditionally” it leads.

1965. The Sound of Music’s Maria is a girl convinced that to truly love God she must marry him by becoming a nun. However, she is seen as unfit or not ready for life in the nunnery, and is sent out to be a nanny to the Von Trap children. There she brings life back to the broken home, and despite herself, she falls in love. In the end, though, she discovers that she can better love and worship God through her role as a wife and mother.

1964. Finally, (or initially) Mary Poppins is a supernatural nanny who saves the Banks family from falling apart. The father is obsessed with his profession and running a traditional home. The mother is caught up in effecting change in society and the role of women. The children are desperately crying out for the parent’s attention. When she has set all to right, she leaves to help another family. But the Banks won’t be looking for another nanny.

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