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Unknown Behind the Scenes Facts About “The Sound of Music”

The Sound of Music burst onto the big screen in March 1965 to immediate acclaim from both critics and moviegoers alike. It was instantly at the top of the box office and knocked Gone with the Wind off the highest-grossing movie platform. It held that spot for five years. It also won many awards including Oscars and Golden Globes.

The Sound of Music has remained a favorite musical for many. But what we see as the classic film, has some behind-the-scenes secrets. And much of what is portrayed as a “true story” in the film, in fact diverged into the realm of fiction quite often.

Photo: IMDb

Not Everyone Got Along

On-screen, it seemed as though all the actors had great chemistry and love for each other. This wasn’t true for everyone. In particular, Christopher Plummer, who played Captain Georg von Trapp, was not a huge fan of Julie Andrews who played his love interest, Fraulein Maria. Andrews was very well-loved by many of the cast who called her an “angel” on set. Plummer, on the other hand, found her too nice and gentle for his taste. He said working with her was like “getting hit over the head with a big Valentine’s Day card, every day.”

On the flip side, Christopher Plummer got on swimmingly with Charmain Carr, who played the eldest daughter Liesl. They often went out drinking together after filming. Carr said the one thing Plummer taught her 21-year-old self was how to drink. He was often drinking during filming as well; he owned up to it on The Oprah Winfrey Show years later.

Carr admits to having a crush on the actor 13 years her senior even though he was married at the time. She denies their relationship ever became physical though, despite rumors to the contrary.

Photo: IMDb

A Shunning at the Premier

When it came time for the movie to premiere, the real Maria von Trapp was nowhere to be seen. She had been invited as a guest of honor to the opening of the Broadway musical years earlier, but room among the celebrities couldn’t be made for the real-life star for the film.

We have come to accept that The Sound of Music is the true story of the von Trapp Family Singers and their escape from the Nazi regime. In truth, however, many of the movie’s scenes were not in fact reality.

First off, there were 10 von Trapp children, not 7. And the oldest was a boy. The writers fabricated the person of Liesl and her entire storyline. They found her a bit more interesting.


How Maria & Georg were portrayed was also a sore spot for the real von Trapps. Georg in real life was very loving, kind, and involved in his children’s lives. He was not the drill sergeant he was portrayed as in the movie. And Maria was the true head of the household, in charge of finances, with Georg’s support. She was kind but also had quite a temper.

When Maria first came to work for the family, she fell in love with the children. Georg fell in love with her. He asked her to marry him and become a stepmother to the children. Because of her love for the children, she agreed. She later said she grew to love Georg “more than I have ever loved before or after.”

Photo: IMDb

Fleeing the Nazis

The movie shows the von Trapp family leaving Austria in the dead of night, carrying their belongings and hiking over the Alps into Switzerland and freedom. The reality is much less exciting than that.

In the 1930s, the von Trapps began performing music for money. They quickly became very popular. They won the Salzburg Music Festival in 1936 and were asked to perform at Hitler’s birthday party in 1938. When they refused the party, they knew they were in danger and decided to leave the country.

They already had a music tour planned in America so they left on a train for Italy, then England, and finally sailed to America. They played for their tour and never returned to Austria. They all became American citizens in the 1940s (except Georg) and toured together until 1955.

Fact or fiction, both stories are excellent and audiences are sure to continue to enjoy them for generations to come.