The sound of Music is one of the most famous and beloved films in the history of cinema. Produced in 1965, directed by Robert Wise, with music by Oscar Hammerstein II, Richard Rodgers and Irwin Kostal, the film starred the famous Julie Andrews (as Maria) and Christopher Plummer (as Marine Captain Georg von Trapp ).
In 1966, it won the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Score, the same year Julie Andrews and Robert Wise were also awarded Golden Globe for Best Actress and Best Director respectively.
With a budget of $8 million, The Sound of Music grossed nearly $290 million, ranking as the highest-grossing film of all time for five years and considered the most successful musical .
Facts vs. Fiction
The sound of the music is based on the musical The sound of music composed in 1959 by Richard Rodgers to lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, inspired by the memoir “The Story of the Trapp Singers” written by Maria von Trapp (née Kutschera). However, the plot of the film was not always true to reality.
The Sound of Music tells the story of Maria, a modest convent-raised girl who becomes governess to the seven children of Captain Von Trapp, a serious and authoritative man who along the way falls in love with Maria. The governess, a lively, gentle, optimistic woman, conquers the children and opens their taste for music. In the world that seemed almost perfect, the peace of the von Trapp family is disturbed by the Nazis, so Maria and the captain plan to flee from Austria to Switzerland with all the children.
When the real Maria von Trapp was invited by Julie Andrews (the actress who played her in the film) on one of her TV shows The Julie Andrews Hour, she praised the actress’ performance saying it was absolutely wonderful, except for the yodeling part. Related to the von Trapp family, the one around which the action takes place, in the film manages to escape the Nazis by crossing the mountains into Switzerland, but in reality von Trapp took the train to Italy (from there going on to the United States of America), with the day before Austria closes its borders. If he had chosen the mountains of Austria as an alternative, he would have ended up in Germany, probably coming face to face with Hitler and his men.
In reality, the von Trapp family had 10 children and not seven as appeared in The sound of Music, and the real Maria Trapp had undertaken to take care of one and not all of them, as it happens in the film. As for the captain, the real one, not the severe and humorless character played by Christopher Plummer, he was described as a very gentle man, totally different from how he was penciled in the film. Also in reality, Maria did not love her husband, Captain von Trapp. “The truth is, I wasn’t in love with him at all. I liked him, yes, but I didn’t love him. But I loved the children very much, so in one way or another, I can say that I married them.”
Christopher Plummer hated the movie
When the Hollywood producers began to outline the film project, they initially had in mind the actresses Audrey Hepburn, Doris Day and Anne Bancro for the female lead, and when they settled on Julie Andrews, she he hesitated and almost turned down the offer, fearing that the role was too similar to the one he had played in Marry Poppins the year before. On the other hand, Christopher Plummer, for the role in the film, beat candidates like Bing Crosby, Rex Harrison and Sean Connery.
As the international press wrote, Christopher Plummer disliked the film so much that he named it The sound of mucus (Sound of mucus). “Because it was awful and sentimental and syrupy. You had to try too hard to insert some humor, in minuscule amounts, by the way,” said the actor who during the filming drank and ate so much that the costumes in the props no longer fit. In fact, he himself admitted that he was often drunk during filming.
“I didn’t think it was my best role. I really wanted to get rid of the image of the perfect Captain Von Trapp at all costs. It seemed to me an old-fashioned sweetness” (Christopher Plummer)
The last survivor of the von Trapp family died in 2014
It was wanted to film in the actual von Trapp family home, but it was not possible, given the fact that at the time it was occupied by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, a community of Catholic monks and priests. Currently, the villa has been converted into a hotel since 2008. Georg von Trapp died in 1947 at the age of 67, and Maria von Trapp passed away in 1987 at the age of 82 in Morristown, Vermont, USA.
Georg and Maria, who had married 11 years before fleeing Austria, had three children together, Rosmarie (born 1929), Eleonore (born 1931) and Johannes (born 1939).
Rosmarie and Eleonore were born in Austria before the family left for the United States in 1938. Meanwhile, Johannes was born in Philadelphia. The von Trapp family, who arrived in the US in 1938, continued to sing as the Trapp Family Singers, touring the US and other countries around the world, until 1957. After the band broke up and the von Trapp ended his musical career, the family members embraced different professions.
Some became missionaries in New Guinea, others turned to medicine and education, and others entered the tourism business running the family’s cabin, the Trapp Family Lodge in Vermont. The last member of the von Trapp family, Maria Franziska, died in 2014 at the age of 99.