Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Sound of Music Story - Tom Santopietro

The Sound of Music Story
Title: The Sound of Music Story: How One Young Nun, One Handsome Austrian Captain, and Seven Singing Von Trapp Children Inspired the Most-Loved Film of All Time
Author: Tom Santopietro
Publication Date: 2/17/15
Pages: 336
Genre: Nonfiction
How I Found It: NetGalley
Date Completed: 2/20/15

Summary: Everything you could ever possibly want to know about the classic film, its origins, the people who brought it to life, and its legacy. Santopietro leaves no stone unturned. 

What I Thought: Oh. my. gosh. I just want to watch The Sound of Music. That's all I could think through this whole book. I have not seen the film in years and this book, plus all the other 50th anniversary hullabaloo going on has piqued my interest again. 

As a kid (ok, and as an adult), I was a huge musical theatre nerd. As an adult, my tastes run more toward The Last Five Years and anything starring Idina Menzel. Growing up, however, nothing made me happier than the old school. My mom sat me down in front of plenty of Rodgers and Hammerstein film adaptations knowing I'd be content for hours. I had cassette tapes of the Oklahoma! and Sound of Music soundtracks and I listened to them over and over and over. While I technically cited Singin' in the Rain as my favorite movie, I would be lying if I said I had any feelings but love for Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, and their cast of singing children.

With the 50th anniversary of the film being celebrated in a variety of ways this year (Lady Gaga at the Academy Awards, anyone?), this book was a great way to indulge in some behind the scenes info about the movie and its production. While Santopietro got a little long winded in some areas, he was very thorough. No matter what part of film making or history you are interested in, Santopietro has the Sound of Music part of that story.

It was particularly interesting to hear more about the actual von Trapp family. I read Maria von Trapp's autobiography, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, back when I was a kid. Their real story is pretty different from what's in the movie, but not less captivating or heart-warming. Santopietro adds quite a bit to their story, as von Trapp's book was published in 1949. He updates on how the blockbuster film has affected the family and their reaction to it.

If you like Hollywood history, Julie Andrews, or, of course, The Sound of Music, there is so much in this book that will interest you. Not every chapter is equally interesting and Santopietro's writing leaves some to be desired, but, overall, it's a charming, nostalgic trip to the Austrian alps and the story of how a singing nun became an international heroine. 

Quote I Loved: (in regards to The Sound of Music sing-alongs) "This is like the Rocky Horror Picture Show for dorks." - Victoria Remond

Rating: ★★★★☆
Will I Re-Read: Probably not, but not because I didn't enjoy it

A Reduced Review: Everything you could ever want to know about The Sound of Music in one book, just in time for the 50th anniversary of the classic film. 


  1. The husband, Georg Von Trapp, wrote an account of his wartime (WW 1) experience as commander of the Austrian submarine U-5 which is best known for sinking a large French cruiser. So his wife was not the only autobiographer.

    In English its title is To the Last Salute: Memories of an Austrian U-Boat Commander

    1. Interesting. I'll have to check that out. Thanks!