The Sound of Music

Question: Gretel was 5 years old and the mother died seven years ago. Who is Gretel's mom?

Answer: In the film, the Mother Abess explains to Maria that the Captain Von Trapp's wife died "several years" ago. This is commonly misheard by viewers as "seven years." In reality, the actual mother of the Von Trapp children was Agathe Whitehead, who died of scarlet fever in 1922, just four years before Maria came to the Von Trapp home, initially as a tutor (not a governess) in 1926.

Michael Albert

Answer: However when Captain Von Trapp gets the children to step forward and introduce themselves to Maria he states that their mother died 7 years ago.

Not in the 1965 film, perhaps in another version. In the 1965 film the only thing he says about his late wife when he first meets Maria is "you'll be the 12th governess...since their mother died." When he has the children introduce themselves, he only advises Maria to pay attention to their signals and names. Later after he leaves and the children say how old they are, Marta says "I'll be 7 on Tuesday."

Bishop73

Question: Why did Rolf join the Nazis?

Answer: He's young, impressionable, and was probably radicalized by Nazi propaganda.

raywest Premium member

Question: When the Von Trapps and Maria sit down for dinner, why do they start to cry?

Answer: Maria is (successfully) making them feel guilty about the pranks they've been pulling.

Matty Blast

Question: When Liesl and Rolf are sitting outside just before it rains, why does Rolf keep pulling away when Liesl tries to kiss him?

Answer: Believe it or not, kissing or even holding hands for that matter was a very big deal back then. Kissing indicated the onset of a serious relationship which Rolf probably wasn't prepared for.

William Bergquist

Question: Why were the Nazis so desperate to get Captain von Trapp into their navy? Austria hadn't had a navy since the end of the first world war, so his skills weren't exactly up to date.

Answer: True, but a decorated and highly respected command officer, particularly one with proven wartime experience, is still a major asset. While he might not be directly familiar with the current equipment, naval tactics wouldn't have altered to any great degree and his ability to lead and inspire those under his command would remain the same.

Tailkinker Premium member

Question: In the scene where the nuns are singing 'How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria', one nun says 'I even heard her singing in the abbey.' This is used as though Maria was doing something bad, but throughout this song, aren't the nuns in the abbey, and aren't they singing? If it was so wrong for Maria to do this, why is it okay for them?

Answer: Postulants/Novices, such as Maria, were forbidden from singing in the Abbey. However, these rules did not necessarily apply to the sisters who are singing. In addition, it's a musical, and the nuns weren't "really" singing. Their complaints about Maria are simply put into a song.

Question: When they are singing the "favourite things" song, the kids start to name things that make them happy. One of them says 'a big sneeze', and Maria says something just after that. What does she say?

Answer: One of the children then makes sneezing noises, and Maria says "Gesundheit" - a polite thing to say after someone sneezes, similar to saying "bless you." Literally translated by babelfish.com - it means health.

pinkwafer

Question: In the scene where the children are singing 'So long, Farewell', Kurt sings in a very high voice 'goodbye'. Is he really singing this or is someone else singing this?

peach

Chosen answer: Darleen Carr - the younger sister of Charmian Carr, who played Liesl - sang that line, according to Charmian's autobiography "Forever Liesl".

Jeff Swanson

Question: Did the children originally sing "So Long Farewell" sitting on the steps in the original rather than standing in front of everyone?

Answer: If by "the original" you mean the 1959 stage musical upon which the film is based, then, no. The stage directions read, "The children line up near the stairs."

Question: Why is Peggy Wood's face in shadows the entire time sing she is singing "Climb every mountain?" One cannot see her face at all until the very end of the song. During the other songs everyone else got a full face shot. I feel like she wasn't getting full credit.

Answer: This was probably a deliberate artistic choice. Mother Abbess (Peggy Wood) is singing the song directly to Maria, telling her to follow her dream and not remain cloistered in the convent (in the shadows like her). The strongest lighting is always on Maria's face, and she is framed in a pyramid shape of light on the wall, always keeping the audience's focus on her.

raywest Premium member

Answer: The director explains this choice in his commentary on the DVD. He'd seen a stage version where the presence of the Mother Abbess was too dominant during 'Climb Every Mountain' and he wanted to make sure that didn't happen in his film. So he focused more on the setting and on Maria's face and reactions.

Answer: He was displeased by everything Maria had been doing with the children while he was away, such as making play clothes for the kids using the window curtains, taking them on outings around Salzburg, having them singing, going boating, and generally having fun, all of which he, as a strict disciplinarian father, considered frivolous behavior. The captain also thought Maria was being impertinent for suggesting that he become closer to the children.

raywest Premium member

Question: In the scene where Rolfe is throwing stones at the window, Captain von Trapp catches him and after trying to explain, Rolfe says Heil Hitler. I was just wondering why he says that seeing as all three there are Austrians (esp. von Trapp) and Germany hasn't taken over Austria yet.

Answer: Some Austrians (such as Rolfe) had already been converted to the Nazi cause as a political/social/pseudo-religious movement rather than as an expression of German nationalism, just as you can live in a democracy and be a communist.

Myridon

Answer: Rolfe sees Max, who he knows is at least loosely involved with Nazi affairs, and then exclaims "heil Hitler." Being merely a child foot soldier for the Nazis, he wouldn't know the extent of Max's involvement with the Nazis, but knows enough to say "heil Hitler", just in case.

Question: Did they use blue screens for this movie? I was watching it recently, and certain scenes looked like the distant background was fake, such as the nighttime scene when Captain Von Trapp confesses his love for Maria in the gazebo, the trees in the far background look superimposed, but I can't tell if that's because of the lighting.

Phaneron Premium member

Answer: Although bluescreen was used at the time, it was a photochemical process and not that reliable. For the scene you're describing, it was likely shot in a studio with a painted background. For more expansive night scenes, they shot them "day-for-night." They would be shot on location during the day with the image darkened and filtered to look like night.

Answer: In that era, movies didn't have computer-generated images and instead used a rear-projected screen of a previously filmed location. The actors would be in front of the screen to make it appear as if they were in some different location. The actors were posed in a way that the audience could not tell they were in front of the screen.

raywest Premium member

Question: Why, during the folk festival, does Max make a point of telling the audience that Captain Von Trapp will be going to fight for the Third Reich after the festival is over and not mention that he is doing so against his will? Wouldn't this make the audience (most of which know The Captain or at least know of him) believe that he is joining the war and not being forced into it? Would it not have been better for Max to say The Captain is being taken against his will to fight a war he doesn't wish to be part of, if only to try and save the Captain's reputation?

strikeand

Chosen answer: Max announces that Captain Von Trapp will be leaving Austria to join the forces of the Third Reich as rationale for the encore of "So Long, Farewell, " during and after which the family makes its escape. Recall that the chief representatives of the Third Reich in Austria are sitting in the front row. As such, it would be unwise for a capitulating Max to overtly irritate them, or to incite their wrath and suspicion toward the Captain at that moment. Meanwhile, Captain Von Trapp has pretty much done his own public relations job by singing his "love song" to Austria, "Edelweiss, " and encouraging the audience to join in with his words, "I hope you all share this love, and that you never let it die." I think his sentiments are clear, and he gets his message across that he is displeased with the turn of events in his country. Everyone in the audience has just lived through Hitler's Anschluss, and most were acutely aware of the pressures brought to bear on Austrian patriots like Captain Von Trapp. His reputation was probably not tarnished.

Michael Albert

Answer: It's obvious it's against his will and all the audience understand this. Everyone understood that fighting for the Nazis (an occupying army) was not something you would choose. Plus there are those officials waiting to 'escort' him. Herr Zeller is not happy because he knows Max is saying this to clarify the family's situation and gain the audience's support and understanding.

Question: Why were the all the children "crying" at the dinner table in the first dinner scene?

Answer: Because they feel bad about the prank they played on Marie (putting a frog in her pocket). It's something they have done with all of their other governesses, but it seems that Marie is the first to call them out on it, in front of their father no less, and it makes them feel ashamed.

Question: Who was the actress who played the servant who cleared the patio table of dirty dishes? She asked Uncle Max if he wanted more strudel. When Uncle Max asked how much strudel he had eaten, she replied he had eaten two.

Answer: There were several uncredited roles in 1965's "Sound of Music, " and the role of the maid on the terrace appears to be one of them. A search of the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), as well as a search of the original Lehman screenplay and production notes, reveals no clue as to the character's name or the identity of the actress.

Charles Austin Miller

Question: What year/make/model of car did the family leave in?

Answer: If you're referring to the family car they leave the house in, it's a 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Cabriolet B. If you're referring to the car they borrow from the convent, it's a Citroën 11 Légère Traction.

Greg Dwyer

Question: How is Gretl (youngest child) 5 years old if her mother died 7 years ago? Shouldn't the children all be at least 7?

Answer: Their mother didn't die "seven years ago", she died "several years ago."

Bishop73

Question: The scene where Maria and the children sing 'The Lonely Goatherd', there is a girl singing: 'One little girl in a pale pink coat heard' and 'She yodeled back to the lonely goatheard' (nearly at the end, the second time this is in the song). Who is singing here: Brigitta or Louisa?

peach

Chosen answer: This line occurs 2:15 into the song. We see the singer is Brigitta (dark hair), played by Angela Cartwright, and not blonde Louisa, played by Heather Menzies.

kuffpah

They stated 'the second time' which implies the time that the verse is sang by the 'goat' family. In which case you can't see who is singing. You can only see who sings it the first time these words were spoken.

Chosen answer: Max is not the children's uncle but a close family friend. He helps the Von Trapps to escape by stalling the announcement the winners of a music concert held at the end. Being the first-place winners, the Von Trapps are announced last, but they have already slipped away into the mountains.

raywest Premium member

Revealing mistake: When the kids step out of the water and walk towards the house, the floor is already soaking wet from previous takes.

Sacha Premium member

More mistakes in The Sound of Music

Maria: You know how Sister Berthe always makes me kiss the floor after we've had a disagreement? Well, lately I've taken to kissing the floor whenever I see her coming, just to save time.

More quotes from The Sound of Music

Trivia: In the boating scene, Kym Karath (Gretl) nearly drowned when she fell in the water. The scene originally called for Julie Andrews (Maria) to pull her out of the water as Kym couldn't swim, but Andrews fell out of the wrong side of the boat. In fact, the crew had to stop filming to rescue Kym. In the movie Heather Menzies (Louisa) pulls her out - Kym threw up on her after swallowing so much water.

More trivia for The Sound of Music

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