29 Surprising Facts About The Sound Of Music.

This article is based on "The Sound of Music Trivia - IMDB", "19 Facts About The Sound of Music That Just Might Blow Your Mind", "14 Things You Might Not Know About The Sound of Music", and "The Sound of Music: 10 Things You Didn't Know About The Film". If you're interested in reading more, check out the links at the bottom of the article.



2/29 It was revealed that in the last scene where the family flees over the mountains that it wasn't actually Gretl on Christopher Plummer's shoulders. Kym Karath, who played Gretl, had gained so much weight during filming that Plummer struggled to hoist her onto his shoulders and he requested a stunt double instead.

3/29 The eldest von Trapp child was actually Rupert, not Liesl. It was changed to Liesl to allow for the Liesl/Rolf subplot and also because the third eldest child was named Maria which producers thought would be too confusing. For years following the film's release Rupert von Trapp would introduce himself by curtsying and saying "I'm Liesl."

4/29 The Sound of Music is the third adaptation of Maria von Trapp's 1949 memoir, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. Two films in German, Die Trapp Familie and Die Trapp Familie in Amerika, were made in the 1950s.

5/29 The boat scene was traumatizing for Kym Karath, who played Gretl von Trapp. Julie Andrews was responsible for falling forward when the boat capsized and rescuing Karath since she couldn't swim, but Andrews fell backwards instead and didn't catch Karath. She went underwater and swallowed so much water that when she was rescued she promptly vomited on Heather Henzies-Urich, who played Louisa.

6/29 The stage musical The Sound of Music was the last creative project between Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, a partnership that had produced Oklahoma! and South Pacific among others. Less than a year after the production opened on Broadway Hammerstein died of stomach cancer. The last song he wrote in his career was "Edelweiss".

7/29 After coming to the United States the Trapp Family Singers toured for three-quarters of the year, averaging at 100 concerts a year during World War II. This earned the family $1000 per concert. The group disbanded in 1957 after nearby a decade of success.



8/29 The opening scene where Maria is spinning on the mountaintop was horrendous to film. The helicopter kept knocking Julie Andrews over into the wet grass. Andrews explained, "... the down draft from those jets was so strong that every time the helicopter circled around me and the down draft just flattened me into the grass. And I mean flattened. It was fine for a couple of takes, but after that you begin to get just a little bit angry And I really tried. I mean, I braced myself, I thought, Its not going to get me this time. And every single time, I bit the dust.

9/29 The film only ran for three weeks in Austria and was not shown on television there until 2000 because Austrians disliked the portrayal of their cultural and their country's Nazi occupation.

10/29 The real Maria von Trapp can be seen on set with her daughter Rosemarie as an extra in the "I Have Confidence" scene. Unfortunately she was not invited to the film's premiere. When she asked the producers they apologized for the oversight explaining that "there were no seats left".

11/29 In Hong Kong the title was changed to "Fairy Music Blow Fragrant Place, Place Hear".

12/29 Christopher Plummer has been outspoken about his distaste for the film from the very beginning. He referred to the project as "The Sound of Music" or "S&M", and criticized the film for being too "sentimental and gooey". To ease the pain of filming he frequently drank in Salzburg, which caused such a weight gain that his costumes had to be let out. He also drank on set and later admitted that he was drunk during the music festival scenes.

13/29 While filming "Sixteen Going On Seventeen" Charmian Carr, who played Liesl, fell through the glass wall of the gazebo and injured her ankle. The costume team had forgotten to put non-slip pads on her shoes so she had to complete filming the scene with an ankle bandage.

14/29 The real Georg von Trapp had seven children with his wife Agathe before she died of scarlet fever in 1922. By 1926 the third eldest child, coincidentally also named Maria, contracted the illness and a nun at the nearby abbey, Maria Kutschera, came to the villa to tutor her. When Georg saw how well Maria got along with the other children he asked her to stay on as governess.


15/29 Nicholas Hammond, who played Friedrich, had lifts in his shoes to make him the second tallest child in the family. However grew from 5'3" to 5'9" over the course of the production's six month shoot and by the end of filming shot all of his scenes barefoot with Charmian Carr standing on a box next to him.

16/29 In 1966 the BCC decided to create a nuclear bunker in case of a nuclear strike. 100 days of television were programmed, including The Sound of Music, to be played on repeat until 1993.

17/29 Peggy Wood, who played Mother Abbess, struggled to lip sync her solo "Climb Every Mountain". The prerecorded intro was lengthy and by the time the vocals came in Peggy had lost count and couldn't match the singer. Director Robert Wise instructed her to turn away from the camera and face out the abbey window so that her face and mouth couldn't be seen during the opening lines. By the time she turned around halfway through the first verse she was perfectly in sync.

18/29 The real Maria von Trapp was not in love with the Captain when they were married. She explained in her memoir, "I really and truly was not in love... However, I loved the children, and so in a way I really married the children." They two were married because he needed a new mother for his children, and she needed the security of a husband. They were married 11 years before the Nazi occupation. She did grow to love him over the years and the two had three children together.

19/29 Debbie Turner, who played Marta, kept loosing teeth during filming so by the end of production many of the teeth we see are actually fake ones.

20/29 To research the real Captain von Trapp Christopher Plummer took an interpreter to Salzburg to meet Georg's nephew. When asked what his uncle was like the nephew said he was the most boring man he'd ever met.

21/29 William Wyler was originally set to direct the film and as part of his research he met with the mayor of Salzburg to discuss the Nazi decorations and scenes. He was worried that residents would be alarmed at seeing Nazi flags and stormtroopers so soon after World War II but the mayor assured him that they would understand. Other city officials were not as supportive so the producers opted to use actual footage from the area instead. The footage ended up being much more incriminating than anticipated and cast Salzburg in a much more unflattering light than the scripted scenes would have.


22/29 Once the family singing business fell apart Maria von Trapp moved to Papua New Guinea to become a missionary. When producers approached her agent with offers to buy the rights to her 1949 memoir they found out about her situation and sent her numerous letters which she promptly tore up. When she finally returned to the United States she was met at the dock by producer Richard Halliday and actress Mary Martin, who took her to see Martin performer in Annie Get Your Gun. They persuaded her to sell the rights and when the stage musical opened Martin was the first performer to play Maria.

23/29 The film was so successful in South Korea that some movie theatres showed it four or five times a day which was unusual at the time. One theatre, in an attempt to fit in more viewings in a day, cut all the musical numbers to make the film shorter.

24/29 The only scene where the child actors are actually singing is when they sing "The Sound of Music" for the Baroness after Maria leaves.

25/29 The von Trapp family was coached by Father Franz Wasner, not Maria. He visited the villa and upon hearing the family sing beautifully, taught them more complicated material and helped them secure a spot at the Salzburg Music Festival. They won first prize and became known as the Trapp Chamber Choir.

26/29 Portia Nelson, who played Sister Berthe, was the only member of the original Broadway cast to reprise her role in the film version.

27/29 While filming scenes in Nonnberg Abbey the women in the cast and crew wore skirts out of respect for the resident nuns.

28/29 The film was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and won five: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Score, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing.

29/29 A year before leaving Austria the real von Trapps were offered a contract to sing in New York. In August 1938 each family member packed one rucksack, pretending they were going on a family vacation to Italy. Unlike in the movie they took a train south to Italy and from there continued on to the United States. The day after they left the Nazis closed the Austrian border. Maria von Trapp was amused by the director's choice to have the family cross the mountains in the film saying, "Dont they know geography in Hollywood? Salzburg does not border on Switzerland!

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4


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