There are a lot of things to love about The Sound of Music (1965): hilltop sing-alongs of "Do-Re-Mi," a yodeling Lonely Goatherd, a romantic interlude involving a gazebo. Yet one of the most beloved film musicals of all time hit plenty of sour notes in front of and behind the camera during filming. The cast and crew weren't always pleased with the script, the set conditions, or the response of outside influences. Injuries plagued the actors portraying the von Trapp children. Early audiences rejected certain cinematic elements. There were issues that couldn't be solved by simply singing about cream-colored ponies and crisp apple strudel.
Multiple sounds of discord existed beyond the lively hills filled with music. If the disruptive noise of creative differences didn't shake things up, the demanding physical requirements made scenes a grating experience. These less-than-harmonious The Sound of Music facts showcase the rougher measures of one of Hollywood's most high-budget and popular musicals.
Christopher Plummer Wanted "Edelweiss" Eliminated
Christopher Plummer, who played Captain von Trapp, struggled to embrace the film's sentimental script. He often took liberties with liquor and filmed scenes in a drunken state. Off screen, he made his discontent clear concerning the song that was mistakenly identified as the Austrian national anthem. Plummer requested a replacement song for "Edelweiss," an Oscar Hammerstein II-penned tune he labeled "trite," but they refused. Even the child actors in the film saw fit to re-imagine the sweet song's final lyric into "bless my paycheck forever."
The Brook Wasn't The Only Thing Tripping And Falling In That Opening Scene
Who can forget the opening of the Sound of Music? As the music builds, the camera closes in on the figure of Julie Andrews, at first so small compared to the breathtaking Austrian mountains behind her. However, the camera finally makes it close to Andrews's face, and she breaks into "The Sound of Music," spinning, her arms flung out to emphasize the grandeur around her. Well, Julie Andrews certainly can't forget that scene considering that the helicopter shooting it repeatedly knocked her down during her famous spin move. In fact, she was blown over by the helicopter in at least half of the dozen takes it took to capture the perfect shot. How do you solve a problem like Maria would? You keep on shooting; that's how.
Little Gretl Nearly Drowned
The rowboat scene where the Baroness (Eleanor Parker) sees the kids for the first time was supposed to be humorous. However, the actress portraying Gretl (Kym Karath) found it horrifying after nearly drowning. According to Fred Bronson's The Sound of Music Family Scrapbook, five-year-old Karath couldn't swim, and Julie Andrews was tasked with catching her when she fell. Andrews fell the wrong way during the take and didn't catch Karath, so Assistant Director Alan Callow (Karath's future brother-in-law) leapt in to rescue Karath from the lake. Another cast member, Heather Menzies (Louisa), carried Karath ashore and Karath proceeded to throw up the less-than-clean water... all over Menzies.
The Family Was Almost Detained By Immigration
Initially, writers considered a different ending for the musical. Instead of having the von Trapps cross over the Alps to the stirring "Climb Every Mountain" as they evaded the Nazi regime, they were supposed to end up at Ellis Island, detained by immigration officials. The Ellis Island ending more closely reflected the real fate of the family; the real von Trapps were scrutinized closely at Ellis Island but were permitted to enter the country and became a touring musical group in the United States. For them, there was no beautiful trek across the mountains with their instruments, but they achieved a great deal of success in their new homeland.