Mentor: Jonathan Hagel

‘So Long, Farewell’: The Sound of Music and the Crisis of the American Family in the 1960s - The early 1960s created the brewing of social change before the explosion of the cultural revolution of the late 1960s. In this period, Hollywood released its first family movies, ‘Mary Poppins’ in 1964 and ‘The Sound of Music’ in 1965, meant to be enjoyed by children and parents alike. These two movies enjoyed a wealth of surprising success, sweeping the academy awards and establishing ‘The Sound of Music’ as the top grossing film of all time, surpassing America’s beloved ‘Gone With The Wind.’ Historians and contemporaries alike have questioned and offered answers as to why two movie musicals would capture the attention of the nation with such force. This thesis seeks to argue that ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘The Sound of Music’ addressed fears concerning the breakdown of family life, feminine and maternal identity, questions of child rearing and provided wholesome family entertainment that the American family was seeking, while pioneering as the first films in the family movie movement.


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