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Things You Probably Never Knew About the Sound of Music Movie

Ah, the Sound of Music… one of our favorite things. But did they really climb every mountain?

    In today’s day and age, there’s a new movie being released every single day – and it’s pretty darn hard to keep up with all of them. With all of these new titles and characters, it’s often difficult to remember some of the most iconic movies from the past. Of course, we all know the likes of the Titanic, Terminator, Good Will Hunting and The Wizard of Oz, but there is one movie that trumps them all. Yep, we’re talking about The Sound of Music (duh!)

    The Sound of Music follows the life of a Maria, a young nun who leaves an Austrian convent to work as a governess for the harsh and reluctant Naval Officer, Captain Von Trapp and his children. However, Maria soon finds herself thrown into the deep end. The children have scared off numerous governesses in the past, and are on course to send Maria in the same direction. With a passion and a drive behind her, Maria tames the children through some of her favorite things and wins the heart of the Captain in the process. But while Maria works her magic, Austria is falling into disarray and Nazi defectors are being rounded up in the thousands – and Captain Von Trapp and his family are first on the hit list. Will they manage to climb every mountain and escape in time?

    Through this all-singing and all-dancing movie, Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer make us wonder at the raindrops on roses, the whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens. However, this iconic movie has somewhat of a dark past. With historical inaccuracies, awkward character flings, near-fatal accidents, actor bust-ups, filming problems and more, these behind the scenes Sound of Music secrets may shock you. So, don’t be a lonely goatherd, and check these out.

    Julie Andrews nearly turned down the role

    Noooooo! The Sound of Music without Julie Andrews?! Alas, it’s true. Julie Andrews nearly turned down the role of Maria von Trapp because she believed the role to be too similar to her character of Mary Poppins. I guess they’re both nannies, but Maria is a nun whereas Mary is a flying umbrella wielding, bottomless bag carrying, spell-casting type nanny. So very different.

    Gretl nearly drowned

    In the boat scene in the movie, the boat tips over. Kym Karath, who played 5-year-old Gretl, couldn’t swim, so producers came up with the idea that Julie Andrews would fall forwards so that Andrews could quickly rescue her from drowning. However, things didn’t go to plan. Andrews fell backward and couldn’t get to Kym, who went under the water and swallowed so much that she vomited all over cast and crew. Oops.

    False teeth

    The second youngest sibling of the Von Trapp family was 7-year-old, Marta Von Trapp – played by Debbie Turner. But casting young actors and actresses does come with some complications – growth. During filming, Debbie began to have wobbly and loose teeth. They eventually fell out, and they had to be replaced by false teeth to keep up the continuity.

    Growing pains

    Puberty and growth proved problematic for another actor. Nicholas Hammond (who played Friedrich) was meant to be smaller than Liesl but taller than Louisa. At the start of filming, Hammond had lifts on his shoes to make sure he was the right height – but during filming, he grew from 5 ft 3 inches to 5 ft 9 inches… so he had to take off his shoes, and Liesl had to stand on a box. Darn you, puberty.


    You may notice that Friedrich had luscious and beautiful blond locks – but this wasn’t natural. Hammond was naturally brunette, so had to have his hair painfully bleached several times before filming to get rid of the brown. Now that’s dedication.

    The Sound of Mucus

    If you didn’t hate Captain Von Trapp at the start of the film, are you really a Sound of Music fan? But it turns out that Christopher Plummer didn’t particularly like his character, or the movie, at all. Plummer hated the concept of the movie because he thought it was too gooey and sentimental, and he nicknamed the movie “The Sound of Mucus”. He also said that working with Julie Andrews was like “being hit over the head with a big Valentine’s Day card, every day.” Well, there’s worse things to moan about, Plummer…

    Excess Baggage

    Christopher Plummer hated working on the movie so much that he drowned his sorrows by eating and drinking the treats that Salzburg had to offer. This caused him to gain so much weight that his costumes had to be let out at various points during filming. He had since admitted that when they filmed the music festival scene, he was intoxicated. Tut tut.

    Sixteen going on injured

    In the iconic ‘Sixteen Going on Seventeen’ gazebo scene, Liesl (played by Charmian Carr, who, weirdly, was 21-years-old at the time) actually suffered an injury. During filming, Carr fell through the glass and injured her ankle. If you look closely during this scene, you will be able to see a bandage that is covered with makeup on Carr’s leg.

    That wasn’t the only thing that was inaccurate

    The rest of the film is also incredibly inaccurate to the real life events. The real Maria Von Trapp was only asked to leave the convent to tutor one child (out of the ten children. The film only has seven), rather than be the governess of all of the children. It has also been recorded that Captain Von Trapp was a lovely man, rather than the harsh disciplinarian he’s made out to be. Well, we still enjoy the film…

    Wrong Children

    The Sound of Music introduces us to the Von Trapp Children – Liesl, Friedrich, Louisa, Kurt, Brigitta, Marta, and Gretl. But these were not the real names of the Von Trapp Children. The real family included Rupert, Agathe, Maria, Werner, Hedwig, Johanna, and Martina.

    It saved the production company

    20th Century Fox was close to bankruptcy after the failure of the Cleopatra movie. Luckily for them, The Sound of Music has become one of the most successful musical films ever, and the third highest grossing movie ever. Needless to say, 20th Century Fox is still going strong today…

    Andrews kept falling over

    Even if you haven’t watched the movie, you’ll probably still know of the movie’s opening scene – where Julie Andrews frolicks on the top of a mountain. Because this scene is shot from the air, the production company needed to use helicopters… to Andrews’ downfall. Quite literally. The draft from the helicopters caused Andrews to fall over multiple times.

    Gazebo Giggles

    Another Gazebo scene gone wrong. The gazebo scene with Maria and Captain Von Trapp had to be filmed in the dark because Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer kept giggling… and the shadows masked their faces. It is thought that Andrews began to laugh because of the lighting device that made a ‘raspberry’ noise every time she leaned in to kiss the Captain. You’re never too old to find raspberry noises funny.

    Educating Plummer

    When Captain Von Trapp FINALLY gets with the program and cheers up a little, we see him singing and playing the guitar. Plummer learned to play guitar specifically for the role… but it was dubbed over. He also sang his own vocals in the movie… which were also dubbed over. No wonder he wasn’t very happy.

    German censorship

    When The Sound of Music was released in Germany, much of the content was censored – naturally, everything to do with Nazis. Eventually, the full movie was released, but the movie did not attract the attention it did from the rest of the world and is still relatively unknown in Germany and Austria.

    Double Trouble

    Julie Andrews had her own show – The Julie Andrews Hour – where she invited guests. One of her guests was the real Maria Von Trapp, who told Andrews that she thought she was wonderful in the film… but that she couldn’t really yodel very well. They then began to yodel as a duet. Yodeling goals?

    A Von Trapp Cameo

    The real Maria Von Trapp also makes a cameo in the actual movie. During the ‘I’m Confident’ number, Julie Andrews goes through a tunnel. In this tunnel, and to the left of Julie Andrews, is the real Maria Von Trapp. Ooooh.

    A Family Affair

    Charmian Carr (Liesl) recently wrote in her autobiography that she was attracted to Christopher Plummer when they were filming (he played her father. Weird). Carr was 21 at the time, and Plummer was 35, and they insisted that, although these feelings were mutual, it never went beyond harmless flirting. Okay…

    Mary Poppins

    As well as this role as the feisty and loveable Maria (we love you, Julie Andrews), we also know Andrews from Mary Poppins. During the filming of The Sound of Music, Andrews reportedly sang ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’ to the children to entertain them. Because Mary Poppins hadn’t yet been released, the children thought she was just making up words. Well, they’re not wrong.

    The Last Rodgers And Hammerstein

    Rodgers and Hammerstein was one of the most iconic and influential music theater writing teams, and boasted the creation of musicals such as Oklahoma!, The King and I, and South Pacific. They also had a hand in creating The Sound of Music, which was the last production they made together. Hammerstein died in 1960, and the last song he had written before he died was ‘Edelweiss.’ *Sniffs*

    Lip Sync issues

    Peggy Wood, who played Mother Abbess has reported that because of her age, her vocals had to be dubbed because she just didn’t have those kind of notes in her anymore. However, when it came to lip syncing, she had even more of an issue and often couldn’t get her timing right. In ‘Climb Every Mountain’ the camera pans away from her face so that her face and mouth can’t be seen. Don’t worry, Pegs, it happens to the best of them.

    The Captain

    We know that Captain Von Trapp is really called Georg Von Trapp – but Maria never calls him by his real name. Throughout the whole movie, Maria calls him ‘The Captain,’ ‘Sir,’ and even ‘Darling’… but never Georg.

    Puppet Play

    Did you ever re-create The Lonely Goatherd scene? (We won’t judge. We’ve done it, too). With its fun songs, puppetry, and all-around entertainment, this is one of the best scenes and musical numbers in the movie. The famous puppet sequence was produced and performed by Bill and Cora Baird, who were some of the leading puppeteers of the day. Lay ee odl lay ee odl-oo!

    A Princess Baroness

    It is reported that Grace Kelly was approached to play the role of the Baroness. However, Kelly had just married Prince Rainier of Monaco and had retired from acting altogether. We don’t blame her, marry a prince or play a baroness? We know what we’d choose. Now, where’s my tiara…?

    Don’t rain on my parade

    Filming of The Sound of Music took a lot longer than expected… because of bad weather. The movie’s original plan was to stay in Salzburg for six weeks to film the entirety of the movie. But they ended up staying for 11 weeks because of continuing rain.

    Different translations

    The English title of the movie, is, of course, The Sound of Music. However, the movie has different titles due to differing translations. In Spain, the movie is called Smiles and Tears, in France, it is called The Melody of Happiness, and in Croatia, Austria, and Germany the movie is titled My Song – My Dream.

    Where is it?

    Appearances can be deceiving. From the movie, you’d assume the Von Trapp family house was one house in the middle of Salzburg. It turns out that the front and the back of the Von Trapp house are two different houses…

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