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Veiled DesiresIntimate Portrayals of Nuns in Postwar Anglo-American Film$
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Maureen Sabine

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780823251650

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823251650.001.0001

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Sonorous Desires

Sonorous Desires

Sweet, Spirited, and Stirring Voices in The Sound of Music (1965) and Change of Habit (1969)

(p.161) 4 Sonorous Desires
Veiled Desires

Maureen Sabine

Fordham University Press

Chapter 4 begins by proposing that the longstanding disagreement between the film critics who hated The Sound of Music and the large general audience who loved it stems from the film's volatile blend of the beautiful, the sublime, the kitsch, the playful, and the sacred. While the nuns in The Sound of Music have been lambasted as silly, saccharine stereotypes, the chapter provides an alternative reading by focusing on the relationship between Julie Andrews's novice Maria and Peggy Wood's Mother Abbess, their solidarity in time of trial, and their spirit of transcendence through fortitude, exertion, and self-giving in the great women's song “Climb Every Mountain.” The chapter concludes with Change of Habit and suggests how the upbeat message that Maria expressed in the songs of The Sound of Music is no longer articulated by the film nun protagonists, but rather by Elvis Presley's male lead who conducts a chaste but melodious romance with Mary Tyler Moore's activist Sister Michelle.

Keywords:   The Sound of Music, Julie Andrews, The sublime, The kitsch, Play, Transcendence, Sacred song, Change of Habit, Elvis Presley, Mary Tyler Moore

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