The Sound of Music (1965) » Trivia

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Christopher Plummer opted out of the Harry Palmer role in The Ipcress File (1965) in favor of the Captain Von Trapp part, a decision he later regretted.

In the capacity of producer and director, Robert Wise won two statuettes but was unavailable to claim them due to his location shoot in Hong Kong on The Sand Pebbles (1966).

When the Best Picture Oscar went to The Sound of Music (1965) (April 18, 1966), it was the first time the Academy Awards had ever been broadcast in color (ABC TV) (see also The Greatest Show on Earth (1952)).

# # One of only 4 productions to win both the Best Play Tony (1960) and the Best Picture Oscar (1965). The other 3 are My Fair Lady (1957/1964), A Man For All Seasons (1962/1966) and Amadeus (1981/1984).

In 1962, Julie Andrews and Carol Burnett appeared in a special, Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall (1962) (TV), and at the time, "The Sound of Music" was still running on Broadway. Ironically, in a sketch on this TV special, Julie and Carol did a spoof of the "The Sound of Music" in much the same way Burnett later spoofed movies on her own variety show "The Carol Burnett Show" (1967). At the time, Julie Andrews had no idea she would later star in the film version.

# # The soundtrack album of the film (RCA Victor: 1965) is one of the best-selling soundtracks of all-time (some 11 million copies sold worldwide) and has never been out of print. A Grammy nominee for Album of the Year which remained at number one on the Billboard Charts for some five weeks, the very earliest issues of the album came with an illustrated booklet discussing the making of the film and the lives and careers of composers Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II.

# # In real life, Captain Von Trapp was not stern. The Trapp children were upset and disturbed by the portrayal of their father in the film. Maria Von Trapp requested that director Robert Wise soften the character of her husband, but Wise refused.

Jeanette MacDonald was originally considered for the role of the Mother Abbess, and she was interested, but, in the end, her increasingly worsening health precluded her taking the part. She died a month before the film was released. Had she been able to accept, it would have been her first film in sixteen years.

The Sound of Music opened at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on November 16, 1959 and ran for 1443 performances.

# # Though the film is virtually unknown in Austria, due to the international popularity you can visit the places were the filming took place with a special tour. Furthermore in many hotels in Salzburg the movie is played non-stop on TV for the tourists.

# # The first scene filmed was the scene in Maria`s bedroom where Frau Schmidt brings the dress material, and later Liesl sneaks in through the window. One of the last scenes filmed was the "You are Sixteen" number, which appears in the film right before the scene in Maria`s room. The two scenes were shot about 4 months apart.

# # At the beginning of filming, Heather Menzies (Louisa) was about three inches taller than Nicholas Hammond (Friedrich). He had to wear heel lifts to make him look taller. By the end of the shoot, Nicolas Hammond had grown six inches (5`3" to 5`9"). He often filmed in no shoes and Charmian Carr had to stand on a box to make her taller. All of the Von Trapp children grew a lot during filming, so heel lifts and various camera tricks were used to keep their heights steady.

Charmian Carr (Liesl) slipped and injured her ankle while filming "Sixteen Going On Seventeen". In early editions of the film, the bandage covering that ankle is visible. When the film was remastered for DVD, the images of this bandage were digitally removed. On the movie commentary of the 40th Anniversary edition in 2005, Charmian said that because of this, some people do not believe her when she says she danced on an injured ankle.

Patty Duke, Mia Farrow and Sharon Tate all auditioned for the role of Liesl.

In Austria the film is know as “Meine Lieder - meine Träume” (“My Songs - my dreams”). It`s not very well known there though, and the ending of the film was cut when it hit Austrian cinemas in the 60s.

In Argentina, the film is known as "The Rebellious Novice"

Christopher Plummer learned to play the guitar for his part, but the guitar (like his vocals) were re-dubbed.

In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the #40 Greatest Movie of All Time.

The house that was used as the Von Trapp home was actually owned by actress Hedy Lamarr.

Lesley Ann Warren auditioned for the role of Liesl.

At the Musical competition at the end of the movie, Fraulein Schweiger, the third place winner, bows 16 times.

The movie drops three songs from the original show: "How Can Love Survive?" and "No Way to Stop It", which screenwriter Ernest Lehman felt were unnecessary, and "An Ordinary Couple," which was replaced by "Something Good".

The Reverend Mother`s line, "I will lift mine eyes to the hills from whence cometh my help!" is the first line of the Psalm 121. However, she uses the King James version of the Psalm, unheard of in Austria, and also uses this normally celebratory Psalm out of context, using it instead as a prayer to get to hills.

While the von Trapp family hiked over the Alps to Switzerland in the movie, in reality they walked to the local train station and boarded the next train to Italy. From Italy, they fled to London and ultimately the USA. Salzburg is in fact only a few miles away from the Austrian-German border, and is much too far from either the Swiss or Italian borders for a family to escape by walking. Had the von Trapps hiked over the mountains, they would have ended up in Germany, near Hitler`s mountain retreat.

According to the British tabloid The Sun, the movie was selected by BBC executives as one to be broadcast after a nuclear strike, to improve the morale of survivors. The BBC did not confirm or deny the story, saying, "This is a security issue so we cannot comment".

Marni Nixon had become well known in Hollywood circles as a ghost singer for the leads in several film adaptations of hit Broadway musicals. She provided the vocals for Deborah Kerr in The King and I (1956), Natalie Wood in West Side Story (1961) and Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady (1964). "The Sound of Music" provided a rare onscreen performance by Marni Nixon, who plays Sister Sophia. Julie Andrews had previously appeared on Broadway in My Fair Lady (1964) but was passed over for the film. The producers were wary of how Julie Andrews would react to Nixon because she dubbed Audrey Hepburn`s vocals in a role made famous by Andrews. When Andrews first met Nixon, she exclaimed, "Marni, I`m a fan of you!" and the producers were relieved.

# # The Ländler dance that Maria and the Captain shared was not performed the traditional way it is done in Austria.

The song "Edelweiss" was written for the musical and is little known in Austria. The song was the last that Oscar Hammerstein II wrote before his passing in 1960.

The costume that Duane Chase (Kurt) wears at the party is called a Tracht, an authentic Austrian costume. The jacket he wears is called a Loden.

Christopher Plummer intensely disliked working on the film. He`s been known to refer to it as "The Sound of Mucus" and likened working with Julie Andrews to "being hit over the head with a big Valentine`s Day card, every day." Nontheless, he and Andrews have remained close friends ever since.

Came second in the UK`s Ultimate Film, in which films were placed in order of how many seats they sold at cinemas

The gazebo changes size (becomes larger) when we go inside it. This is intentional. There was a real gazebo on the property where they filmed the scenes at the back of the house, but it was too small for the dance numbers, so they built an interior for the gazebo in Hollywood that was significantly larger.

When setting up for filming the Captain and Maria`s wedding scene, there was nobody at the altar to wed them when they reached the top of the stairs. Someone had forgotten to summon the actor playing the bishop. According to Julie Andrews, the real bishop of Salzburg is seen in the movie.

In Spain the film is known as "Smiles and Tears". In France it is known as "The Melody of Happiness".

Charmian Carr sings "Sixteen Going On Seventeen". In reality she was nearly 22 at the time.

Although Christopher Plummer`s own vocals were in fact recorded, it was subsequently decided that he should be dubbed.

Duane Chase`s (Kurt) high note in the "So Long, Farewell" number was actually sung by Darleen Carr (younger sister of Charmian Carr), as that note was beyond Chase`s range.

Four other children were brought in to augment the singing of the seven von Trapp children - to produce a better, fuller, more polished sound. Among the four "extra singers" was the younger sister of Charmian Carr (Liesl), Darleen Carr.

The singing of Peggy Wood (Mother Abbess) was dubbed, as she herself declared that she was too old to handle the vocals.

# # Danny Lockin, the blond actor best known for his supporting role of Barnaby Tucker alongside Michael Crawford as Cornelius Hackl in Hello, Dolly! (1969), screen tested for the role of Rolfe. The test survives today, along with those of many other notable actors who were not cast in the film, including Mia Farrow. These tests can be seen in the engrossing Hollywood Screen Tests: Take 2 (1999) (TV).

The songs "I Have Confidence" and "Something Good" were written especially for the film, by Richard Rodgers, the latter song replacing "An Ordinary Couple" from the stage version. The two numbers became so popular and so integrated into the musical, that most subsequent stage productions, including the 1998 Broadway Revival, have felt the need to add them on (and delete "An Ordinary Couple" in the process).

The film sets its story "in the last golden days of the thirties", when in actual fact Maria became governess to the Von Trapp family in 1927 and married the Captain in November of that year

# # When the film was released in South Korea, it did so much business that some theaters were showing it four and five times a day. One theater owner in Seoul tried to figure out a way to be able to show it even more often, in order to bring in more customers. So he cut out all the musical numbers.

The actors had to be continually hosed down while filming the scene after they had fallen out of the boat, in order to remain dripping wet.

When Maria is running through the courtyard to the Von Trapp house in "I Have Confidence", she trips. This was an accident; however, director Robert Wise liked this so much that he kept it in the movie. He felt it added to the nervousness of the song and of the character.

Voted number 18 in channel 4`s (UK) "Greatest Family Films"

William Wyler wanted Audrey Hepburn to play Maria von Trapp.

Julie Andrews nearly turned down the role of Maria Von Trapp, fearing the character was too similar to her role in Mary Poppins (1964).

Doris Day was apparently offered the role of Maria von Trapp, but turned it down.

According to director Robert Wise the grass on the hill of the opening song was supposed to be much longer than it was. The filmmakers had made an arrangement with the farmer who owned the land to leave the grass long, but when they arrived for filming it had been cut. Wise commented that the scene turned out very well after all.


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