Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Odd Facts About the Sound of Music

It's one of the most popular films in the world.  Who can resist watching even a little of this fantastic movie this time of year?  But did you know that Christopher Plummer hated filming it?  He referred to it as "The Sound of Mucus" as so many of the actors were sick during the filming.  He often called it "that movie" or " S & M."  But he loved working with Julie Andrews.

The movie has been a hit everywhere in the world - except Austria - where it ran for only three weeks in 1965 when it was released. The movie was not shown on Austrian television until 2000.

The role of Liesl was played by Charmian Farnon but other well-known actors were auditioned including Mia Farrow, Victoria Tennant, Lesley Ann Warren and Teri Garr.
Charmian Farnon Carr who plays Liesl in the movie never had a singing lesson and had never tried to act" before she was signed to be in The Sound of Music.  She left acting and opened an interior design firm, Charmian Carr Designs, in California and wrote two books, Forever Liesl and Letters to Liesl. In 2014, Carr recorded "Edelweiss" with the great-grandchildren of the von Trapps on the album Dream a Little Dream

Carr died on September 17, 2016, from complications related to dementia at the age of 73.

Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews were not "slam dunks" for the main characters in the movie. Other actors that were considered included Doris Day, then at the height of her box-office power, she  was being pitched heavily. Other potential Marias were Leslie Caron, Anne Bancroft, and Shirley Jones. To play Captain von Trapp, FOX executives were keen on Bing Crosby. Other male actors considered were Rex Harrison, Sean Connery, Peter Finch, Louis Jourdan, and Maximillian Schell. Yul Brynner lobbied extensively for the part.

The original movie title was Love Song. It was changed to The Sound of Music when the lawyer for composers Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein found dozens of copyrighted shows called Love Song and begged them to use something less susceptible to a lawsuit.

In an early draft, writers ended the musical with the family being held in a detention center on Ellis Island.

After arriving in America, the von Trapp singers were extremely popular. For nearly a decade from roughly the mid-1940s into the mid-1950s—the von Trapps toured three seasons out of the year. During World War II, they averaged more than 100 U.S. concerts in the a year, earning average fees of $1,000 per concert.  They opened an inn in Vermont that is still in operation.

The von Trapp family did not escape Austria by climbing a mountain, and anyone who has been to Austria knows it's not bordered by Switzerland near Salzburg.  Instead, they calmly boarded a train, which took them into the south Tyrol, part of Italy. It turns out that they did leave in the nick of time—the next day, the Nazis closed the border. The family was always amused that the musical’s creators took them over the Alps to Switzerland: “Don’t they know geography in Hollywood? Salzburg does not border on Switzerland!” Maria told a reporter in 1967.

The real Maria was not madly in love with Captain von Trapp.  At least not at first. In the movie, Maria fell for the children and Georg von Trapp simultaneously. But in real life when he proposed, “I really and truly was not in love,” Maria wrote in her 1948 memoir. “I liked him but I didn’t love him. However, I loved the children, and so in a way I really married the children.”

Kurt Russell and Richard Dreyfuss also auditioned to be von Trapp children.

Who knew?

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