30 Unknown Facts About “The Sound Of Music”

Without a doubt, The Sound of Music is one of the greatest musicals of all times. As most of us know, this film tells the story of a nun named Maria, who decides to leave her convent and become a governess for a rich Austrian family on the brink of World War II. However, there are many fun and interesting facts about the making of the movie that not even the fans know about. I found #8, #15 and #21 particularly unexpected!

30. The Edelweiss folk song

When looking back at The Sound of Musics soundtrack, Edelweiss is one of the first songs that pop into people’s minds. This is the song in which Von Trapp serenades the flower of his home country, Austria.

Photo: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

You probably thought it was a classic Austrian folk song, didn’t you? Well, it so happens to be that Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote this song specifically for the play.

29. The End Of A Carreer

As it is known, The Sound of Music was originally released as a play on Broadway in 1959. It was produced and directed by musical theater partnership Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, also known by other classics such as Oklahoma! and The King and I.

Photo: Courtesy of Playbill

Sound of Music, a play about the life of the Von Trapp family, was the very last one they directed. Shortly after, Hammerstein died of cancer, and Edelweiss was the last song he wrote.

28. What About In Austria?

Considering that the storyline takes place in Austria and that the movie was filmed there, one would think that the film was a hit in that country too. Right?

Photo: Courtesy of Trip 101

Well, it turns out that we can’t always rely on common sense, because Austrians never really got into it. It was way more successful in the United States and Great Britain. What a paradox!

27. Eventful Choreo

Most fans vividly recall the 16 Going on 17 dance number. But little do they know that actress Charmian Carr underwent a lot of pain during rehearsal. She slipped through a glass pane and hurt her leg.

Photo: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

 As a result of her accident, she had to wrap up her ankle in bandages during most of the scene. That really must have hurt!

26. Co-Stars’ Relationship

Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer became great friends after working together in the movie. However, their relationship during the filming had a rocky start. Apparently, he wasn’t too fond of working with Julie.

Photo: Courtesy of Wochit Entertainment

Working with Julie was like “being hit over the head with a big Valentine’s Day card“, Christopher Plummer claimed.

25. Christopher Plummer, The Movie Critic

Rumor has it that Von Trapp actor Christopher Plummer wasn’t quite fond of the movie. In fact, he hated it so much that he called it “The Sound of Mucus”. In an interview by Oprah, he said the movie “was so awful and sentimental and gooey“. Who would have thought?

Photo: Courtesy of Mental Floss

But this wasn’t Christopher’s only public statement on the matter:

“You had to work terribly hard to try and infuse some minuscule bit of humor into it,” he claimed.

24. Bloopers

Of course, every movie has its bloopers. In this case, the scene in which Maria and Von Trapp declare their love in the gazebo had to be filmed over and over again, because Andrews just couldn’t stop giggling. According to her, it was because the lights above them made a peculiar sound which she just couldn’t resist.

Photo: Courtesy of The Telegraph

In order to put an end to all the giggling, director Robert Wise decided to turn off the lights, and filmed the scene in silhouette, as you can appreciate in the image above.

23. Flirting On Stage

Movie filming usually leads the way to new and unexpected romances among actors and actresses. What about The Sound of Music? Well, even though nothing really happened, it is said that Christopher Plummer and Charmian Carr felt a mutual attraction on stage.

Photo: Courtesy of M Bueller

Picturing Christopher and Charmian together feels weird, given they played father and daughter on the film. But apparently, it never went beyond mere flirting.

22. The Real Maria

Leading character Maria is portrayed as a gentle and warm-hearted woman, unlike the military character of most governesses of the time. But what do we know about the real Maria?

Photo: Courtesy of Huffington Post

Evidently, the film directors took some liberties when depicting the characters on the film. Because it happens to be that she was actually way stricter and held greater authority over the family. If this took you by surprise, wait until you read the following fact.

21. Maria’s True Character

The real Maria Von Trapp actually collaborated to the making of the movie. However, she’s never seen in any of the backstage photos. Why do you think that is?

Photo: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Apparently she had quite a harsh character. Director Robert Wise said she bossed around the cast and crew. In fact, they didn’t even want to invite her to the film’s premiere!

20.  Von Trapp Role

Can you imagine agent 007 starring in The Sound of MusicApparently, studio heads considered earmarking the role of Captain Von Trapp for Sean Connery.  It’s hard to picture it!

Photo: Courtesy of Tele 13

Apart from Agent 007, Richard Burton was also another of the backup plans. But there is yet another iconic movie star that also nearly played Von Trapp in the film. Take a look at the following fact to discover who I’m talking about!

19. More Candidates For Von Trapp

Celebrated actor Richard Dreyfuss almost had the chance of playing Von Trapp. It was only three decades later that he led his revealing performance in Mr. Holland’s Opus, playing a high school music teacher.

Photo: Courtesy of IMDb

But it turns out that dancing was one of his weak spots, so the casting directors decided the role didn’t suit him. But Von Trapp wasn’t the only role almost played by a different actor. Do you know which else? Check it out in the following slide.

18. María’s Role

The role of Maria was nearly played by a different actress as well. Because it turns out that the film directors were aiming for a big movie star like Doris Day. In fact, Doris had already covered the title song a few years before.

Photo: Courtesy of Boredom Therapy

Unlike Doris, Julie Andrews didn’t have much experience as a movie star yet. I know what you’re thinking: didn’t Julie Andrews win her first Academy Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in 1964’s Mary Poppins? Yes, she did, but when the Academy Awards were held, the filming of The Sound of Music had already begun. Good luck they went for her anyways!

17. A Young Farrow

Hundreds of kids tried out for the roles of the six Von Trapp kids. But little do people know that famous actress Mia Farrow was amongst those hundreds.

Photo: Courtesy of Youtube

At the age of 18, she auditioned for Liesl, but the part ended up going to Charmian Carr. As we all know, she wasn’t chosen… if only they had known what a movie star she was about to become!

16. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

Even though that word is impossible to pronounce, everyone knows it’s part of the lyrics of one of the Mary Poppins songs. But even though Mary Poppins came first, it still hadn’t debuted in theaters when The Sound of Music was filmed.

Photo: Courtesy of Cinescopia

Therefore, when Julie Andrews entertained the child actors with that endless unpronounceable word, everyone thought she was making it up! Little do they know that she was about to receive nothing less than an Oscar for such performance.

15. Yodeling Lesson

Most people recall the famous Austrian yodeling performed by Julie Andrews on the film. After all, who hasn’t practiced some yodeling in the shower? But what people don’t know is that Julie practiced some yodeling with the real Maria Von Trapp, during an episode of The Julie Andrews Hour

Photo: Courtesy of Youtube

During the show, Maria tells Julie that she was “absolutely wonderful” playing Maria in the film, but she makes her practice her yodeling. Don’t miss it, you can find it on the Internet!

14. Fleeing Out Of Austria

The ending of this film is quite thrilling: while Nazi-occupied Austria is on the verge of war, the Von Trapp family must flee out of Austria through the mountains. In real life, though, things were quite different.

Photo: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Apparently, the Von Trapps simply left Austria before the country’s borders were sealed, pretty much like everyone else. Is there any other element of fiction in the plot? Find out in #13.

13. Fictional Secondary Characters

Most historical films choose to create fictional secondary characters. In the case of this film, Liesl’s pro-German love interest Rolf is completely fictional.

Photo: Courtesy of ABC News

So apparently, they’ve just added him to add a dramatic turn to the story. What else did they change in the movie? Check it out in #12.

12. Family Names

It’s hard not to grow fond of the Von Trapp kids. Movie fans vividly remember their faces and maybe even their movie lines. But little do they know that all of the kids’ names were made up.

Photo: Courtesy of ABC News

So Liesl, Friedrich, Louisa, Kurt, Brigitta, Marta, and Gretl are only made-up names. Their real ones were Rupert, Agathe, Maria, Werner, Hedwig, Johanna and Martina.

11. Von Trapp Marriage

Both Maria and Georg Von Trapp denied having had romantic feelings towards each other at first. In this sense, the movie has been accurate. However, certain aspects of their relationship have been distorted in the movie. Particularly, the time of their marriage.

Photo: Courtesy of Press Association Archive

All of you probably remember that they get married towards the end of the movie, right? Well, in real life, they actually got married way before they fled from Austria. 11 years before, as a matter of fact!

10. Tooth Incident

Being a film director is no piece of cake. Basically, they have to be constantly alert so as to prevent any continuity problem. When filming The Sound of Music, they faced a couple of challenges. Surprisingly, one of these challenges was dealing with young actress Debbie Turner’s teeth!

Photo: Courtesy of Parade

Debbie, who played one of the Von Trapp kids, kept having baby teeth falling out during the filming of the movie. Thus, filmmakers were forced to put false teeth on her, in order to prevent her mouth from looking different each week. Something similar happened with another of the Von Trapp kids. Discover who we’re talking about by reading fact #9!

9. Growth Spurt

Turner’s new set of teeth wasn’t the only thing that posed a continuity problem. Nicholas Hammond, the actor who played Friedrich, also posed a challenge. It happens to be that he grew a total of six inches during the filming of the movie. He even outgrew Charmian Carr, who played Lisa, who was supposed to be older and taller than him.

Photo: Courtesy of Starts at 60

As a result, on some of the scenes, Charmian had to stand on a box, so that she would still seem taller. On the contrary, in some other scenes, we can see Friedrich barefoot: the reason is, as you can see, that they wanted to make him seem shorter.

8. Eventful Boat Scene

In one of the movie scenes, the rowboat overturns and Maria and the kids fall into the lake. Even though this scene sounds harmless, it traumatized Kym Karath, the actress who played 5-year-old Gretl.

Photo: Courtesy of Youtube

When the boat overturned, Julie Andrews was supposed to fall forwards and quickly rescue Kym. But against what was planned,  Julie fell backward and couldn’t grab hold of her on time, which made Kym swallow a great deal of water. Poor thing!

7. Challenging Filming

When you first notice the film’s breathtaking scenery, one can’t but envy Julie Andrews. But working in the middle of the mountains was no piece of cake for her. On the opening scene, she had to run up and down the mountains over and over again.

Photo: Courtesy of Escape

 But that’s not all. She also had to wear nothing but a light dress in the middle of a rather cold Austrian spring. But if you think this was risky, don’t miss what’s coming up next!

6. Near-Death Experience

In a 2017 interview, Julie Andrews confessed something that not even her number one fan knew: a year before the filming of The Sound of Music, she almost died shooting Mary Poppins. 

Photo: Courtesy of Boredom Therapy

During one of the flying scenes, she lost control and tumbled to the stage below. Thank god she made it! Who else could have played the part of Maria as good as her?

5. Sound Of Music Tour

When watching the film, most people are left in disbelief by the incredible view of the mountain range. And the tourism companies sure didn’t miss their chance.

Photo: Courtesy of Berchtesgaden

A couple of years later, they released the official Sound of Music tours along the Berchtesgaden Alps in Salzburg. It was quite successful among international tourists.

4. Academy Award Sensation

It is wide known that The Sound of Music won the Academy Award for Best Picture. But the fact that it also won the Tony Award for Best Musical is not common knowledge.

Photo: Courtesy of De Cine 21

Only three other movies have won both awards: My Fair Lady in 1964, A Man for All Seasons in 1966, and Amadeus in 1984.

3. Movie Profits

Most of the members of the Von Trapp family were still alive when the movie was filmed. However, the family never received any profits from the movie. Isn’t it weird?

Photo: Courtesy of AbeBooks

It turns out that Maria first shared through her autobiography The Story of the Von Trapp Family Singers. However, she sold away the film rights for the book. Not a very wise decision. Tough luck for the Von Trapps.

2. Commercial Hit

The movie was so successful, that it practically saved 20th Century Fox from bankruptcy. The thing is, the company was still recovering from the failure that Cleopatra was.

Photo: Courtesy of Babble Top

The movie turned out to be a major success. Its box office surpassed Gone With the Wind‘s! With a budget of barely 8 million dollars, its box office reached an impressive amount of 286 million dollars. As if this weren’t enough, the movie won five Academy Award, including the Oscar for Best Picture. Major comeback for 20th Century Fox!

1. 20th Century Remake

Ever since the movie was launched, no director has even dared to make a remake. However, they did make a quasi-remake live on TV.

Photo: Courtesy of NBC / Will Heart

In 2013, American Idol winner Carrie Underwood starred in a live remake of the movie, named The Sound of Music Live!. Even though the ratings were huge, the critics weren’t too generous with their reviews.

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    Hernán Tamargo

    Teacher. Political Scientist. Writer. Feminist... and much more!

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