There aren’t many good musicals made anymore, probably because they don’t typically involve explosions, aliens, or extensive computer graphics that appeal to males under 25. But there was a time, not that long ago, when musicals were among the best movies made. Singin’ in the Rain. Oliver. And one of the best of all time, The Sound of Music.
Based on the stage musical by Rogers and Hammerstein (Great American Things No. 92) The Sound of Music tells the story of Austria’s von Trapp family as they broke in a new governess (Julie Andrews) and reclaimed a brokenhearted father (Christopher Plummer). It’s filled with wonderful songs – “Climb Every Mountain,” “Do Re Mi,” “Edelweiss,” “My Favorite Things,” and of course, “The Sound of Music.”
One bit of trivia I find interesting is that “Edelweiss” is not the traditional song of the Austrian homeland as portrayed in the movie. In fact, it was written by Oscar Hammerstein and was entirely unknown in Austria before the movie. The country has embraced it wholeheartedly now, as you might imagine.
Other casting facts: Although Mary Martin originated the role on Broadway (that’s some resume, along with South Pacific and Peter Pan), Audrey Hepburn was the first actress considered for the role of Maria… Sean Connery and Richard Burton were considered for the role of Captain von Trapp… Actors who auditioned for one of the child roles include Richard Dreyfuss, Kurt Russell, Patty Duke, and most of the Osmond family.
Adjusted for inflation, The Sound of Music is the third-highest-grossing film of all time, behind Gone with the Wind and Star Wars. The film was nominated for ten Academy Awards and won five, including Best Picture. In 2007, The American Film Institute’s 100 Years…100 Movies ranked it number 40 all time, and gave it the number four spot on its 100 Musicals list.