5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About "The Sound of Music"

On November 16, 1959, “The Sound of Music” opened on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater in New York City. Here are five things you didn’t know about "The Sound of Music"... 

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Critics in New York Hated It The musical opened at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater on Broadway, and New York critics hated it, thinking it was too saccharine. However, ticket sales made in advance were already up to $2 million, and the public had a different opinion, which ended up making “The Sound of Music” one of the most popular musicals in American history.

Mary Martin Missed Only One Show During her two years appearing in the Broadway show as Maria, Mary Martin, the mother of actor Larry Hagman, only missed one show. She wasn’t considered for the movie role—that role went to Julie Andrews. At the time, Martin was 47, which was too old to play a postulant nun on the big screen.

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Julie Andrews Nearly Turned Down The Role As Maria Julie Andrews had just finished filming Mary Poppins in 1964 when she was first approached to star in The Sound of Music. The actress nearly turned down the role of Maria for fear that the character was too similar to that of Mary Poppins.

The Movie Is Historically Inaccurate Fans of the movie undoubtedly remember when the family crossed the mountains to reach the safety of Switzerland to escape the Nazis. However, the real Von Trapps made an easier journey to safety by taking a train to Italy. Going over the mountains would have been a mistake because they would have ended up near Hitler’s mountain retreat in Germany. George von Trapp was reportedly a kind person, not as harsh as depicted in the movie. He had 10 children, not the seven portrayed in the film. Most surprisingly, Maria wrote that she didn’t love him when she married him: "I really and truly was not in love. I liked him but didn't love him. However, I loved the children, so in a way I really married the children.”

Christopher Plummer Hated The Movie Those who were considered to play Captain von Trapp were Sean Connery, Bing Crosby, and Richard Burton. However, the role went to Christopher Plummer. Although The Sound of Music is considered one of the best musicals ever made, Plummer hated the film so much that he called it "The Sound of Mucus“. He was quoted as saying “it was so awful and sentimental and gooey.” His dislike working on the movie may have led to his overeating and drinking during filming, which caused him to gain so much weight his costumes had to be let out.

The Release of The Movie Rescued 20th Century Fox The movie Cleopatra had been a financial disaster for 20th Century Fox, costing more than $31 million, and the company was nearly bankrupt. Because The Sound of Music was such a huge hit, surpassing even Gone With the Wind with gross ticket sales of more than $163 million in the United States alone, 20th Century Fox found itself rolling in money. The Sound of Music went on to win five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. It is considered the most successful musical ever on film.