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The Sound of Music and the World of Warcraft

For here you are, standing there, loving me
Whether or not you should
Something Good (Sound of Music)

The Sound of Music and the World of Warcraft
I had the very good fortune to attend a screening of the Sound of Music at my local cinema. It was the 50th anniversary of the movie and was hosted/sponsored by Turner Classic Movies. I was delighted to discover a full house with an enthusiastic audience; they applauded after the musical numbers. It was great.

The story is about the Von Trapp family in Austria just before World War II. I feel comfortable spoiling the ending, they escape Nazi Germany. The Broadway play debuted in 1959, 14 years after the end of WWII. The movie opened in 1965, 20 years after WWII. This weekend, I watched it 70 years after World War II.

What struck me, and the reason I am typing this, was just before the intermission (yes, an intermission; this flick clocks in over three hours) one of the characters walks into the room and raises his hand; “Heil Hitler”. For me, it was chilling.

The audiences of 1959 and 1965 would have known that salute all too clearly. Most of them had lost a father, brother, uncle, son or friend in the War. Five million Americans died in that War. Twelve million Russians. The list goes on, it was a staggering number compounded by the horror of Hitler’s Final Solution — seven million Jews killed in ovens, gas chambers or starved to death.

When that character walked into the room — the audience knew.

As a story-teller; Robert Wise, the director, knew he only had to do that much. His audience was well aware of the situation. When you tell a story, you need to know who your audience is going to be.

This got me thinking about another movie about World War II: Cabaret. The stage play opened in 1966 and the movie premiered in 1972. The audience is removed by time from the horrors of the War and the point must be made much more clear. The director, Bob Fosse, achieves this in many ways including the distorted faces in the reflection of the brass instruments. The songs are harsher, revolting and often disgusting — because the audience was not there when it happened, they need to be told.

As time goes on, more information must be told to the audience about past events.

I think the designers of Warlords of Draenor could learn a thing or two from Mr. Robert Wise, Mr. Bob Fosse and Mr. Spielberg (Schindler’s List) about story-telling. With us taking a nostalgic ride through the history of Warcraft, not all of us know the players.

We Wrath babies don’t know who Blackhand was or why we’d really enjoy shooting him down. We are not the audience of 1965 watching the Sound of Music. I’ve felt this way for the expansion.

Who are these guys?

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