20th Century Fox via Everett Collection
50 years ago today -- March 2, 1965 -- The Sound of Music hit theaters in the United States. In honor of the iconic film's anniversary, we take a look behind the scenes of one of our favorite movies to share some things you may not have known.
1. While singing "I Have Confidence," Julie Andrews accidentally tripped in the Von Trapp courtyard.
Director Robert Wise felt it added a much needed nervousness to the song and the character, so he decided to use it in the film.
2. Julie Andrews sang "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" to the Von Trapp children between filming.
Since Mary Poppins hadn't been released yet, the kids all thought she made it up just for them.
3. Maria never uses the Captain's first name, Georg.
She calls him only Captain, Sir, or Darling.
4. Christopher Plummer traveled to the Salzburg mountains to meet Captain's nephew and learn more about the character.
Since very little information was available about Captain Von Trapp for Plummer, he and his interpreter met with Captain's nephew to learn a bit about him. The nephew described the real man as the most boring man he'd ever met.
5. The day after the von Trapp family escaped Austria, Hitler ordered the borders shut.
6. They also took a train station to Italy and safety; they didn't hike over a mountain.
Salzburg is much closer to Austria's border with Germany, and neither Italy nor Switzerland are within walking distance.
7. If they had hiked over a mountain, they'd find themselves near Hitler's mountain retreat in Germany.
8. Charmian Carr (Liesl) has admitted she was attracted to Christopher Plummer, who played her father.
Despite the 13 year age difference, Plummer admits that the feeling was mutual. He insists it never evolved beyond flirtation.
9. Director Robert Wise didn't get along with the real Maria von Trapp when she came to the set.
He called her "bossy."
10. In the original play, ideological differences drive the Captain and the Baroness apart.
She wouldn't stand up to the Nazis, and he refused to compromise with them.
11. Grace Kelly had been considered for the part of the Baroness, but was a bit too busy, you know, being a princess.
12. The gazebo scene with Maria and the Captain was made a silhouette to hide the uncontrollable laughter of Julie Andrews.
20th Century Fox via Everett Collection
According to Andrews, a lighting device kept making a certain "raspberry" noise every time she leaned in to kiss Plummer. After more than 20 takes, the scene was changed to a silhouette to make her laughter less noticeable.
13. The real Von Trapp children weren't pleased with how stern their father was portrayed.
Maria Von Trapp had asked Wise to soften the character a bit, but the director refused.
14. Kurt's high note in "So Long, Farewell" is actually sung by Liesl's real life younger sister.
The note was out of Duane Chase's range, so Charmian Carr's sister, Darlene, sang it instead.
15. Mia Farrow auditioned for the role of Liesl.
Liza Minnelli and Sharon Tate were also among those who tested for the part.
16. Christopher Plummer admits he was drunk when they filmed the music festival sequence.
17. The movie is one of only four films to win both the Tony Award for Best Musical/Play and the Oscar for Best Picture.
The others are My Fair Lady, A Man For All Seasons, and Amadeus.
18. Charmian Carr (Liesl) danced through "Sixteen Going On Seventeen" on an injured ankle.
During the first take of this scene, Carr slipped while leaping from a bench and fell through glass. She wasn't badly hurt, but her ankle was injured and needed to be wrapped for the scene.
19. Even though nobody had seen how she would perform on screen yet, Julie Andrews was always director Robert Wise's first choice.
20. Yet she almost turned down the part, fearing it was too similar to Mary Poppins.
21. The actress who played Marta, Debbie Turner, kept losing teeth during filming.
They had to be replaced with false teeth.
22. The children kept growing during filming, so lots of heel lifts and camera tricks were needed for height continuity.
Louisa (Heather Menzies-Urich) started production three inches taller than Friedrich (Nicholas Hammond); he had to wear lifts. By the end of filming, he'd grown six inches. Liesl (Charmian Carr) had to stand on a box while Friedrich didn't wear shoes to help keep their heights consistent.
23. Nicholas Hammond had to endure a bunch of painful bleachings to turn brown hair blond for the film.
24. Christopher Plummer disliked filming so very much that he referred to the movie as "The Sound of Mucus."
25. Kurt Russell, Richard Dreyfuss, and Veronica Cartwright were among those who auditioned for roles as von Trapp children.
As did the four oldest Osmond brothers: Alan, Jay, Merrill, and Wayne.
26. The gazebo's interior scenes were shot in Los Angeles.
The inside of the actual gazebo was too small to accommodate the dance numbers.
27. The gazebo can still be seen in Salzburg, but only from the outside.
Visitors were too frequently attempting to dance along the benches and injuring themselves, so the interior is now off limits.
28. Julie Andrews learned to play guitar specifically for this role.
29. Christopher Plummer also learned to play guitar for the role...but his playing was dubbed.
30. Christopher Plummer asked for "Edelweiss" to be replaced.
He thought the song was trite and "schmaltzy" and asked for it to be written out. Screenwriter Ernest Lehman refused.
31. There was nobody at the altar to officiate the wedding during filming because someone forgot to wake the actor.
32. Julie Andrews has also claimed that the actual bishop of Salzburg can be spotted in the wedding scene.
33. It's not really Kym Karath (Gretl) on Captain's shoulders in the final shot as they climb the mountains to safety.
Karath had gained a bit of weight while filming in Austria, and evidently Christopher Plummer found her too heavy to carry on his back. He requested a stunt double.
34. Which is funny, since Plummer's weight gain required his costumes to be refitted for his extra mass.
He admitted he ate and drank in Austria in order to better cope with the unhappiness he felt from filming.
35. The movie features a rare onscreen performance by famed ghost singer Marni Nixon.
She played Sister Sophia. Nixon, who had previously done the vocals for Natalie Wood in West Side Story, Deborah Kerr in The King and I, and Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. Since Julie Andrews played Eliza Doolittle in the Broadway version but was passed over in favor of Hepburn for the film, producers were nervous to learn how she would react to Nixon's casting. Andrews approached her and exclaimed, "Marni, I'm a fan of you!"
36. Christopher Plummer has said working with Julie Andrews is like "being hit over the head with a big Valentine's Day card."
37. Julie Andrews kept getting knocked over from the helicopter's wind.
Though that iconic spin looks warm and sunny, Andrews only remembers how cold she was as she repeatedly ran across the mountain with the ferocious winds of the chopper above. She tried digging her feet into the ground without luck.
38. Director Robert Wise climbed a nearby tree in order to film that first musical number; he wanted to be able to watch the helicopter filming without getting in the shot himself.
39. Sean Connery and Richard Burton were both considered to play Captain.
40. The real Maria von Trapp makes a cameo.
In the "I Have Confidence" scene, as Julie Andrews walks beneath a brick archway, the real Maria can be seen behind her, dressed as a peasant.
41. Heinrich Himmler, famed Nazi, took over the von Trapp house after they escaped. Adolf Hitler visited him there more than once.
42. Kym Karath (Gretl) couldn't swim, so Julie Andrews was responsible for catching her when they fall out of the boat and into the water.
On the second take, the boat tipped in a way that sent Andrews flying one way and Karath falling out the other side. Heather Menzies-Urich (Louisa) was tasked with saving her instead, which Andrews was haunted by.
43. Subsequently, Karath threw up all over Menzies-Urich after swallowing too much water.
44. The cast had to be continually hosed down in order to maintain a soaking wet look after falling into the water.
45. Liesl may have been 16 going on 17, but she was actually older than Rolfe.
Charmian Carr was 22 at the time she sang that song; Daniel Truhitte, who played Rolfe, is ten months younger than she is. Now who's older and wiser?
46. Shirley Jones, Anne Bancroft, and Doris Day were all considered for the part of Maria.
47. Robert Wise initially turned down the opportunity to direct the picture.
Stanley Donen, Vincent Donohue, Gene Kelly, and George Roy Hill were also approached and said no.
48. Mary Martin, wife of the producer of the original Broadway show and the first woman to play Maria made nearly $8,000,000 from the film.
While Julie Andrews earned just $225,000.
49. According to British tabloid The Sun, it's one of the films chosen to show after a nuclear strike to improve morale.
Though this is unconfirmed by the BBC who declared it a security issue.
50. Peggy Wood (Mother Abbess) had a hard time lip-syncing along to "Climb Ev'ry Mountain."
She struggled to perfectly match the first word of the song, so director Robert Wise had her face away from camera when she began singing. When she looked at camera, she had caught up with the song enough to perfectly pass. The effect of her staring out the window in the beginning added a mystical element to the song and fit in better than originally planned.
Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr have divided loyalties in their household after they signed up to promote different airlines. The actor has become the latest face of the U.K.'s British Airways (B.A.), while his Australian wife is an ambassador for Down Under's Qantas.
Bloom says of his new deal, "As someone that flies regularly, I love nothing more than to kick back and relax and enjoy the great amenities and service British Airways first class has to offer."
Last week (ends21Apr13), Kerr showed her support for Qantas by modelling the company's new flight crew uniform at an event in Sydney.
British Airways and Qantas ended a long-running partnership in 2012, putting the companies back into direct competition, but Qantas boss Alan Joyce has laughed off B.A.'s decision to hire Kerr's husband.
He says, "We're not going to marry British Airways and Qantas together - we tried that before and it didn't work. I think Miranda is a great ambassador for Qantas. We're very happy with the relationship that we have and we see that going from strength to strength."
In a post-Harry Potter Avatar and Lord of the Rings world the descriptors "sci-fi" and "fantasy" conjure up particular imagery and ideas. The Hunger Games abolishes those expectations rooting its alternate universe in a familiar reality filled with human characters tangible environments and terrifying consequences. Computer graphics are a rarity in writer/director Gary Ross' slow-burn thriller wisely setting aside effects and big action to focus on star Jennifer Lawrence's character's emotional struggle as she embarks on the unthinkable: a 24-person death match on display for the entire nation's viewing pleasure. The final product is a gut-wrenching mature young adult fiction adaptation diffused by occasional meandering but with enough unexpected choices to keep audiences on their toes.
Panem a reconfigured post-apocalyptic America is sectioned off into 12 unique districts and ruled under an iron thumb by the oppressive leaders of The Capitol. To keep the districts producing their specific resources and prevent them from rebelling The Capitol created The Hunger Games an annual competition pitting two 18-or-under "tributes" from each district in a battle to the death. During the ritual tribute "Reaping " teenage Katniss (Lawrence) watches as her 12-year-old sister Primrose is chosen for battle—and quickly jumps to her aid becoming the first District 12 citizen to volunteer for the games. Joined by Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) a meek baker's son and the second tribute Effie the resident designer and Haymitch a former Hunger Games winner-turned-alcoholic-turned-mentor Katniss rides off to The Capitol to train and compete in the 74th Annual Hunger Games.
The greatest triumph of The Hunger Games is Ross' rich realization of the book's many worlds: District 12 is painted as a reminiscent Southern mining town haunting and vibrant; The Capitol is a utopian metropolis obsessed with design and flair; and The Hunger Games battleground is a sprawling forest peppered with Truman Show-esque additions that remind you it's all being controlled by overseers. The small-scale production value adds to the character-first approach and even when the story segues to larger arenas like a tickertape parade in The Capitol's grand Avenue of Tributes hall it's all about Katniss.
For fans the script hits every beat a nearly note-for-note interpretation of author Suzanne Collins' original novel—but those unfamiliar shouldn't worry about missing anything. Ross knows his way around a sharp screenplay (he's the writer of Big Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) and he's comfortable dropping us right into the action. His characters are equally as colorful as Panem Harrelson sticking out as the former tribute enlivened by the chance to coach winners. He's funny he's discreet he's shaded—a quality all the cast members share. As a director Ross employs a distinct often-grating perspective. His shaky cam style emphasizes the reality of the story but in fight scenarios—and even simple establishing shots of District 12's goings-on—the details are lost in motion blur.
But the dread of the scenario is enough to make Hunger Games an engrossing blockbuster. The lead-up to the actual competition is an uncomfortable and biting satire of reality television sports and everything that commands an audience in modern society. Katniss' brooding friend Gale tells her before she departs "What if nobody watched?" speculating that carnage might end if people could turn away. Unfortunately they can't—forcing Katniss and Peeta to become "stars" of the Hunger Games. The duo are pushed to gussy themselves up put on a show and play up their romance for better ratings. Lawrence channels her reserved Academy Award-nominated Winter's Bone character to inhabit Katniss' frustration with the system. She's great at hunting but she doesn't want to kill. She's compassionate and considerate but has no interest in bowing down to the system. She's a leader but she knows full well she's playing The Capitol's game. Even with 23 other contestants vying for the top spot—like American Idol with machetes complete with Ryan Seacrest stand-in Caesar Flickerman (the dazzling Stanley Tucci)—Katniss' greatest hurdle is internal. A brave move for a movie aimed at a young audience.
By the time the actual Games roll around (the movie clocks in at two and a half hours) there's a need to amp up the pace that never comes and The Hunger Games loses footing. Katniss' goal is to avoid the action hiding in trees and caves waiting patiently for the other tributes to off themselves—but the tactic isn't all that thrilling for those watching. Luckily Lawrence Hutcherson and the ensemble of young actors still deliver when they cross paths and particular beats pack all the punch an all-out deathwatch should. PG-13 be damned the film doesn't skimp on the bloodshed even when it comes to killing off children. The Hunger Games bites off a lot for the first film of a franchise and does so bravely and boldly. It may not make it to the end alive but it doesn't go down without a fight.
We've pored over the headlines and highlights of the last 12 months and come up with a quiz that'll test the old grey matter.
So, put down the eggnog and turn down the TV...
1. She played a Salt-y spy, he voiced Metroman. Name the celebrity couple.
a. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt
b. Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise
c. Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith
2. ... and can you name their three biological children?
a. Pax, Maddox and Shiloh
b. Shiloh, Vivienne and Knox
c. Isabella, Conner and Suri
3. Name Scarlett Johansson's super villainess character in Iron Man 2.
a. Black Widow
c. The Bride
4. Hollywood icon Tony Curtis died in September after suffering a cardiac arrest. Name his daughter.
a. Jennifer Jason Leigh
b. Jamie Lee Curtis
c. Carrie Fisher
5. Which fugitive actor spent the latter part of the year seeking asylum in Canada after confessing he feared for his life if he returned to the U.S.?
a. Dennis Quaid
b. Chevy Chase
c. Randy Quaid
6. Which Harry Potter star appeared in a Halloween episode of The Simpsons as a mysterious character called Edmund?
a. Daniel Radcliffe
b. Rupert Grint
c. Alan Rickman
7. Name Mel Gibson's Russian ex.
a. Anna Kournikova
b. Olga Chernikova
c. Oksana Grigorieva
8. This Hollywood actor returned to Wall Street and battled throat cancer. Name him.
a. Michael Douglas
b. Charlie Sheen
c. Josh Brolin
9. What do Toy Story 3, Clash of the Titans and The Last Airbender all have in common?
a. They were all remakes
b. They all starred Tom Hanks
c. They were all 3D films
10. Which Bond star landed himself a role in the Hollywood remake of smash-hit Swedish film The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo?
a. Sean Connery
b. Daniel Craig
c. Roger Moore
11. Which movie won the Oscar for Best Picture in 2010?
a. The Hurt Locker
c. Up in the Air
12. His 'Crazy Heart' won him gold at the Oscars in 2010 and his 'True Grit' looks put him in contention in 2011. Name the movie veteran.
a. Brad Pitt
b. Jeff Bridges
c. Robert Duvall
13. Which Walt Disney movie became the highest grossing animated film of all time in 2010?
a. Toy Story 3
14. Which actress was jailed in July after violating probation stemming from a 2007 DUI arrest?
a. Paris Hilton
b. Lindsay Lohan
c. Nicole Richie
15. Which Pirates of the Caribbean star married his model girlfriend Miranda Kerr in July?
a. Johnny Depp
b. Geoffrey Rush
c. Orlando Bloom
16. Which Oscar winning actress surprised the world by announcing she had adopted a baby boy, just weeks after winning her first Oscar - and then leaving her cheating husband?
a. Sandra Bullock
b. Halle Berry
c. Kate Winslet
17. Hollywood legend Dennis Hopper lost his battle with prostate cancer at age 74. Name his character in cult biker movie Easy Rider.
18. Who hosted the 2010 Oscars?
a. Billy Crystal and Steve Martin
b. Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin
c. Alec Baldwin and Billy Crystal
19. Which royal couple is Madonna currently making a movie about?
a. Prince Charles and Princess Diana
b. Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn
c. Edward VII and Wallis Simpson
20. Seth Rogen and Ryan Reynolds both became green superheroes in 2010. Name their characters in the upcoming movies.
a. The Green Goblin and Green Lantern
b. Green Hornet and Green Lantern
c. The Riddler and Green Hornet
21. And while we're going green, which actor was named the new Hulk?
a. Mark Ruffalo
b. Brad Pitt
c. George Clooney
22. Who co-starred with Bruce Willis in the film Red?
a. Kate Winslet and Morgan Freeman
b. Helen Mirren and George Clooney
c. Helen Mirren and Morgan Freeman
23. Liam Neeson portrayed John 'Hannibal' Smith in the film version of which 80's TV show?
a. The A-Team
b. Dukes of Hazzard
c. The Six Million Dollar Man
24. Which Twilight Saga star was crowned Homecoming Queen for the 2nd straight year at her school?
a. Kristen Stewart
b. Dakota Fanning
c. Ashley Green
25. Name Leonardo DiCaprio's mindbending 2010 film
a. The Last Airbender
26. Which movie star dumped a Canadian model for a French hunk?
a. Halle Berry
b. Sandra Bullock
c. Kate Winslet
27. He campaigned for Sudan, played 'The American' and fell for an Italian TV personality. Name the international movie star.
a. Matt Damon
b. Brad Pitt
c. George Clooney
28. Name John Travolta's baby son.
29. Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz teamed up for which 2010 summer blockbuster?
a. Knight and Day
b. Day and Knight
c. Mission: Impossible 4
30. She teamed up with Gerard Butler in The Bounty Hunter. Name the actress.
a. Drew Barrymore
b. Katherine Heigl
c. Jennifer Aniston