One of the most beloved musical films of all time, The Sound of Music, tells the story of the Von Trapp family’s successful escape from Nazi Germany’s annexation of Austria during WWII. The Broadway musical is based on the play written by Howard Lindsay and Richard Crouse. The play evolved from the life memoirs of Maria von Trapp, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers.
First playing on Broadway in 1959 with music written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, the play was turned into a film in 1965 with iconic scenes of Captain Georg von Trapp, played by Richard Plummer, his seven children, and their governess, Maria, portrayed by Julie Andrews, who later became their stepmother.
‘The Sound of Music’ is a timeless story
Maria, while studying to become a nun in a Salzburg abbey, is sent by the Reverend Mother to serve as an interim governess for the von Trapp children. Their father, a widower, had served as a submarine captain in the Imperial and Royal Austro-Hungarian Navy. The family has a history of having trouble retaining a governess. The need is now only temporary, as the captain, unbeknownst to his children, plans to marry Baroness Elsa Schrader (Eleanor Parker), who lives in Vienna.
The children quickly learn to love Maria. Although unwilling to admit it for some time, so does their father. Maria shares her love with the children, but for much of the story refrains from admitting her growing feelings for their father. Captain von Trapp finally comes to realize his feelings for Maria and breaks off his engagement with Baroness Schrader. He asks Maria to marry him.
Throughout the story, Captain von Trapp shares his disgust for the Nazi party and its invasion of Austria. Following his wedding to Maria, and their honeymoon, Nazi officials tell von Trapp he is being called to serve in the Nazi military. His heart and morals will not let him do that. Together, they develop a plan for the family to escape by traveling over the Alps to Switzerland.
‘The Sound of Music’ has no shortage of iconic moments
The movie version of The Sound of Music was filmed on location in Austria. There are many fabulous views of the countryside from the opening with Andrews, portraying Maria, singing “The Sound of Music” in the hills above the abbey, to the end with the family climbing the Alps to freedom with a reprise of, “Climb Every Mountain.” But some of the best scenes took place at the von Trapp home.
Two memorable scenes occur near the gazebo on the von Trapp grounds. This is where we get to know Liesl (Chairman Carr), the eldest von Trapp child. She is enamored with Rolf (Daniel Truhitte), a Nazi delivery boy, who shares her feelings. The evening following Maria’s arrival, the two have a secret meeting outside and it starts to rain. They find refuge in the gazebo enacting the “Sixteen going on Seventeen” scene. Later, the gazebo is where the Captain finds Maria out for a walk. It is there he admits his love for her and asks her to marry him.
Another iconic scene occurs that same evening of Maria’s arrival, when, during the thunder and rainstorm, the children appear at her bedroom door, frightened by the thunder. She allows them to stay for a while, singing “My Favorite Things.” Eventually, Liesl joins them by climbing up to the second story after finding Maria’s window still open.
The rowboat scene led to a sick young cast member
While having the rowboat overturn on the lake, outside the family home, was planned, not all the incidents were planned. At the last minute, Andrews was told to fall forward to catch the von Trapp youngest child, Gretl, portrayed by Kym Karath. But Andrews fell backward, and Karath, who couldn’t swim, swallowed a lot of water making her sick, according to Huff Post.
“The boat rocked in such a way that instead of going forwards I went backwards,” Andrews said. “And there was such panic in my heart because that little girl had gone under a couple times, but everybody got to her, of course. She was very brave…” She did throw-up on fellow actor Heather Menzies, who played Louisa von Trapp, but both were OK afterward.
The rest of the von Trapp children cast included Nicholas Hammond as Friedrich, Duane Chase as Kurt, Angela Cartwright as Brigitta, and Debbie Turner as Marta, according to IMDb.
The Sound of Music has become a part of films featured around the holidays every year. According to Broadway World, the movie is scheduled to air on ABC Sunday, December 20 at 7 p.m. ET.
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