Originally to be directed by William Wyler, who actually scouted locations and toyed with the script. He had a different film in mind; tanks crashing through walls, etc.
Director Robert Wise considered Yul Brynner for the role of Captain Von Trapp.
The first musical number in the film, The Sound of Music (1965), was the final sequence shot in Europe before the cast and crew returned to Los Angeles. It was filmed in late June and early July of 1964. Despite the warm and sunny appearance, Julie Andrews notes that she was freezing running up that mountain over and over again. Director Robert Wise has said that he had to climb one of the trees nearby to be able to overview the helicopter shoot without getting in the picture.
* * During the filming of the opening shot of Julie Andrews taken from a helicopter, Julie Andrews relates that although she tried digging her heels into the ground and bracing herself, on every take she was knocked over by the powerful helicopter downdraft. After more than a dozen takes, she attempted to hand-signal to Robert Wise to have the helicopter make a wider pass, but the response she got was a thumbs-up - he was finally satisfied with the shot.
"Sixteen Going On Seventeen" was shot in the gazebo, one of the last to be done. On the first take, Charmian Carr (Liesl) slipped while leaping across a bench, and fell through a pane of glass. Although she was not badly injured, her ankle was hurt and the scene was later shot with her leg wrapped and makeup covering the bandages.
Cameo: [Maria von Trapp] The elder of the two women in Austrian peasant garb who are in the background as Maria walks through a brick archway during "I Have Confidence".
The front and back of the Von Trapp estate were filmed at 2 different locations in Salzburg, Austria.
# # The gazebo used for the "Sixteen Going on Seventeen" and "Something Good" scenes can still be visited in the Salzburg area, on "Sound of Music" tours. However, the public had to be excluded from the interior because film fans who were considerably older than "sixteen going on seventeen" were injuring themselves while trying to dance along the seats. The gazebo in Austria was only used for exterior shots. The actual dance by Charmian Carr and Daniel Truhitte was, in fact, filmed on a replica of the gazebo`s interior on a sound stage at 20th Century-Fox in Los Angeles, as were the shots of Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.
In the closing shot, when the family is climbing over the hills to safety, it is not really Kym Karath as Gretl on the shoulders of Captain von Trapp. In the DVD version, it is revealed that while in Austria, Kym Karath gained a lot of weight. This was one of the last shots filmed and so she was evidently a bit too heavy to be carried on Christopher Plummer`s back. Plummer requested a stunt double and that is who`s seen being carried on his back.
Debbie Turner (Marta) had many loose teeth during filming. When they fell out, they were replaced with false teeth.
Mary Martin was the wife of Richard Halliday, producer of the original Broadway show. Martin, who originated the role of Maria on Broadway, would eventually see nearly $8,000,000 from the film. In contrast, Julie Andrews earned just $225,000 for her performance.
Two years before the musical made its Broadway debut, Paramount bought the rights to the Von Trapp Singers story, intending to cast Audrey Hepburn as Maria. When Hepburn declined, Paramount dropped plans for a film.
The librettists, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, originally intended to use songs that the real von Trapp family had sung. However, Mary Martin, who was to be in the play, asked Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II to write a song for her character. Due to concerns that their original song would not mix well with the folk music, Rodgers and Hammerstein suggested writing a whole new score, the music we know today.
During the scene with Maria and the Captain at the gazebo, Julie Andrews couldn`t stop laughing due to a lighting device that was making, in her words, a "raspberry" every time she leaned in to kiss Plummer. After more than 20 takes, the scene was altered to silhouette the two and to hide Andrews` giggles.
Six burly Austrians were hired to pull the heavy car by two ropes while the actors push from behind when the von Trapps are escaping their home in Salzburg.
Sean Connery and Richard Burton were considered for the part of Captain von Trapp.
Kim Darby was tested for the part of the eldest von Trapp daughter.
Among kids who auditioned to play one of the Von Trapp children were Kurt Russell, Richard Dreyfuss, Veronica Cartwright, Patty Duke and the four eldest Osmond Brothers (Alan Osmond, Jay Osmond, Merrill Osmond and Wayne Osmond). Dreyfuss couldn`t dance.
# # Nicholas Hammond (Friedrich) has brown hair, and had to undergo several painful hair bleachings before and during filming to make his hair blond.
Right after her talk with Maria, the Baroness is at the party talking to Max. The song the orchestra is playing is a song from the play version that was not used in the movie called "How Can Love Survive". This song was sung by the Baroness and Max.
Kym Karath (Gretl) couldn`t swim, so the original idea was to get Julie Andrews to catch her when the boat tips up and they all fall in the water. However, during the second take the boat toppled over so that Andrews fell to one side and Karath fell to the other. Heather Menzies (Louisa) had to save her instead. Andrews stated later she felt guilty about this for years.
Kym Karath (Gretl) swallowed too much water upon falling out of the rowboat, and threw up on Heather Menzies (Louisa).
Twentieth Century-Fox bought the film rights to the musical in 1960, along with the rights to two German films about the family. The project was jeopardized by the poor box-office showing of a compilation of the German films, as well as Fox`s financial difficulties resulting from Cleopatra (1963).
# # The von Trapp street address is `53`. When Maria first comes to the villa and is looking through the gate, the address sign is on the stone pillar to the left.
Maria never uses the Captain`s first name, "Georg", in the film. Instead, she calls him Captain, Sir and Darling.
One of the actresses who tried out for the role of Liesl was Mia Farrow.
Along with The Bible: In the Beginning... (1966), this is one of the few Twentieth Century-Fox films in which no music at all is heard when the Twentieth Century-Fox logo appears on screen.
According to director Robert Wise the grass on the hill of the opening song was supposed to be much longer than it was. The filmmakers had made an arrangement with the farmer who owned the land to leave the grass long, but when they arrived for filming it had been cut. Wise commented that the scene turned out very well after all.
Doris Day was apparently offered the role of Maria von Trapp, but turned it down.
Julie Andrews nearly turned down the role of Maria Von Trapp, fearing the character was too similar to her role in Mary Poppins (1964).
William Wyler wanted Audrey Hepburn to play Maria von Trapp.
Voted number 18 in channel 4`s (UK) "Greatest Family Films"
When Maria is running through the courtyard to the Von Trapp house in "I Have Confidence", she trips. This was an accident; however, director Robert Wise liked this so much that he kept it in the movie. He felt it added to the nervousness of the song and of the character.
The actors had to be continually hosed down while filming the scene after they had fallen out of the boat, in order to remain dripping wet.
# # When the film was released in South Korea, it did so much business that some theaters were showing it four and five times a day. One theater owner in Seoul tried to figure out a way to be able to show it even more often, in order to bring in more customers. So he cut out all the musical numbers.
The film sets its story "in the last golden days of the thirties", when in actual fact Maria became governess to the Von Trapp family in 1927 and married the Captain in November of that year
The songs "I Have Confidence" and "Something Good" were written especially for the film, by Richard Rodgers, the latter song replacing "An Ordinary Couple" from the stage version. The two numbers became so popular and so integrated into the musical, that most subsequent stage productions, including the 1998 Broadway Revival, have felt the need to add them on (and delete "An Ordinary Couple" in the process).
# # Danny Lockin, the blond actor best known for his supporting role of Barnaby Tucker alongside Michael Crawford as Cornelius Hackl in Hello, Dolly! (1969), screen tested for the role of Rolfe. The test survives today, along with those of many other notable actors who were not cast in the film, including Mia Farrow. These tests can be seen in the engrossing Hollywood Screen Tests: Take 2 (1999) (TV).
The singing of Peggy Wood (Mother Abbess) was dubbed, as she herself declared that she was too old to handle the vocals.
Four other children were brought in to augment the singing of the seven von Trapp children - to produce a better, fuller, more polished sound. Among the four "extra singers" was the younger sister of Charmian Carr (Liesl), Darleen Carr.
Duane Chase`s (Kurt) high note in the "So Long, Farewell" number was actually sung by Darleen Carr (younger sister of Charmian Carr), as that note was beyond Chase`s range.
Although Christopher Plummer`s own vocals were in fact recorded, it was subsequently decided that he should be dubbed.
Charmian Carr sings "Sixteen Going On Seventeen". In reality she was nearly 22 at the time.
In Spain the film is known as "Smiles and Tears". In France it is known as "The Melody of Happiness".
When setting up for filming the Captain and Maria`s wedding scene, there was nobody at the altar to wed them when they reached the top of the stairs. Someone had forgotten to summon the actor playing the bishop. According to Julie Andrews, the real bishop of Salzburg is seen in the movie.
The gazebo changes size (becomes larger) when we go inside it. This is intentional. There was a real gazebo on the property where they filmed the scenes at the back of the house, but it was too small for the dance numbers, so they built an interior for the gazebo in Hollywood that was significantly larger.
Came second in the UK`s Ultimate Film, in which films were placed in order of how many seats they sold at cinemas
Christopher Plummer intensely disliked working on the film. He`s been known to refer to it as "The Sound of Mucus" and likened working with Julie Andrews to "being hit over the head with a big Valentine`s Day card, every day." Nontheless, he and Andrews have remained close friends ever since.
The costume that Duane Chase (Kurt) wears at the party is called a Tracht, an authentic Austrian costume. The jacket he wears is called a Loden.
The song "Edelweiss" was written for the musical and is little known in Austria. The song was the last that Oscar Hammerstein II wrote before his passing in 1960.