On the fiftieth anniversary of the debut of the film, “The Sound of Music,” and the 2059th anniversary of the assassination of Julius Caesar, I ask what the movie and the dictator have in common. Here are a few of my favorite things:
- Climb Every Mountain, Ford Every Stream: The Von Trapps crossed the Alps while Caesar crossed the Rubicon.
- The Critics Jeered but the Crowds Cheered: Most senators despised Caesar but the soldiers and the people loved him. TSOM got poor reviews but won at the box office.
3. Neither conquered Germany. Caesar made only a brief sally across the Rhine while the movie flopped in West Germany.
4. Both paid for Cleopatra’s cost overruns. Caesar made enemies when he installed his haughty royal mistress Cleopatra in his suburban Roman villa. Twentieth-Century Fox was still in the hole from “Cleopatra” when it began producing TSOM.
5. Each had a legacy: Caesar gave us Augustus while The Sound of Music gave us The Rocky Horror Picture Show.