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Behind The Scenes: 15 Little-Known Secrets About The Sound of Music

1. The opening scene

Still remember the opening scene where Julie Andrews,  who played the role of Maria von Trapp, was twirling on the mountaintop? The scene was shot from a helicopter. It was raining and cold throughout the shot and the down draft from the helicopter kept knocking Andrews down. Andrews was knocked down by the downdraft at least five of the ten takes they shot for the scene. You’d never know that she was forced into the grass and mud whilst spinning and lip-syncing.


2. Love at first sight?

Maria’s story was actually based on a real-life person, just like the entire Von Trapp family. Although in the movie it appears that Maria had a super crush on Captain Von Trapp the first time she laid eyes on him. However, the real Maria didn’t love him at all. Maria, in fact, said in her 1948 memoir,  “I liked him, but I didn’t love him… I loved the children and so in a way I married the children.”


3. Eldest girl

In the movie, the eldest daughter Liesl fell in love with a Nazi soldier. Actually, this love story never happened in real life. In fact, the eldest von Trapp child was a boy named Rupert. Rupert was a physician living in Vermont when the movie was released and he often told other people that he was the inspiration behind the Liesl in the movie.


4. Not a great dancer

The eldest daughter of von Trapp’s family, Liesl was played by Charmian Carr. Although she was a beautiful actress with excellent acting skills, she was not quite as good at dancing and it was rumored that she almost broke her ankle whilst dancing in the scene “16 Going on 17”. If you are careful enough, you might notice a bandage wrapped around her ankle during the scene. The bandage was removed in a remastered version released in 2005.


5. They were refugees

Refugees have been a hot topic all over the world in the last few years. But can you imagine the entire von Trapp family were refugees from Austria? The family jumped onto a train to Switzerland, and finally moved to the United States at the beginning of WWII. In the real-life story, the family was welcomed into the United States and they formed a successful singing company.


6. Unsuccessful in Austria

The Sound of Music was very popular in many countries, except for the birthplace of the von Trapp family - Austria. People in Austria thought that The Sound of Music was so Americanized and didn’t present an accurate image of Austrian culture. Austrians also had an absolute disdain for being reminded of the Nazi’s occupation. It is quite understandable therefore that the Austrian people did not want to be reminded of such a horrible memory.


7. Maria missed premiere

The Sound of Music movie was based on Maria von Trapp’s memoir “The Story of the Von Trapp Family Singers” and Maria’s personal stories. The real Maria von Trapp was not invited to the opening night of the classic movie though. Surely the producers must have apologized to Maria though? No, it seems not. They just told Maria “there were no seats left.”


8. Liesl had a crush on her dad

Charmian Carr in The Sound of Music, once admitted that she had a crush on Christopher Plummer, who was her on-screen father! It is speculated that they two were involved in an affair during the nine-month filming of the successful movie.


9. Trapp Band in real life

In real life, the von Trapp did form a singing company and singing was their sole source of income even before moving into the United States. Maria von Trapp and Georg von Trapp married each other in 1927 and shortly after that, they started to live on music. They had become a quite a popular group by 1935. They even appeared on Elvis Presley’s album in 1957.


10. “Edelweiss” is not an Austrian song

One of the most famous songs in The Sound of Music is “Edelweiss”, which is sung by the Captain von Trapp to show his emotion for his home country - Austria. However, this song is not an Austrian song. The song was written by Rodgers and Hammerstein specifically for the Captain to sing. In 1984, President Reagan played this song to honor then Austrian president Rudolf Kirchschläger and his wife.


11. Maria von Trapp took control

In the movie, it appeared that Maria von Trapp was the angel who tried to save the children from living in a military way and Captain von Trapp was the one who forced the children to line up and to do endless amounts of chores. However, things were the opposite in real life. The real Maria was the one who managed the finances and directed the group, whereas the real Captain provided more moral support to the singing group.


12. Plummer was a drunkard

Although Christopher Plummer was one of the best actors at that time, he once admitted that he was drunk during the whole filming process and he was even smashed during the musical festival scenes. In addition, Charmian Carr, even claimed that it was Christopher who taught her how to drink. Maybe rumors of their affair arose from the fact that they two drank many times off camera during filming.


13. Richard Dreyfuss

If you’ve watched Jaws, you must remember Richard Dreyfuss who played Matt Hooper in the movie. How is he related to The Sound of Music? Actually, Richard admitted that he was considered and even auditioned for the role of one of the von Trapp Children, Friedrich von Trapp. He claimed that he didn’t get the opportunity due to his terrible dancing skills.


14. Louisa modeled for Playboy

Heather Menzies-Urich played as Louisa von Trapp in The Sound of Music. She was a 14-year-old with no acting experience when she landed the part of third-oldest von Trapp daughter. After the movie, she even posed for Playboy in 1973, eight years after the film’s release.


15. The actors really didn’t like each other

It is quite common nowadays that actors who play lovers or partners don’t like each other. This also happened to Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. Christopher once admitted to media that working with Julie was like “getting hit over the head with a Valentine card.”


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