The Sound of Music


2h 54m 1965

Brief Synopsis

Maria had longed to be a nun since she was a young girl, yet when she became old enough discovered that it wasn't at all what she thought. Often in trouble and doing the wrong things, Maria is sent to the house of a retired naval captain, named Captain Von Trapp, to care for his children. Von Trapp was widowed several years before and was left to care for seven 'rowdy' children. The children have run off countless governesses. Maria soon learns that all these children need is a little love to change their attitudes. Maria teaches the children to sing, and through her, music is brought back into the hearts and home of the Von Trapp family. Unknowingly, Maria and Captain Von Trapp are falling helplessly in love, except there are two problems, the Captain is engaged, and Maria is a postulant!

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Release Date
Jan 1965
Premiere Information
New York opening: 2 Mar 1965
Production Company
Argyle Enterprises, Inc.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Salzburg, Austria
Screenplay Information
Based on the musical The Sound of Music , music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, II, book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse (New York, 16 Nov 1959).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 54m
Sound
70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints), Mono (Westrex Recording System) (35 mm prints), Stereo (some 35 mm prints)
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.20 : 1

Synopsis

The antics of tomboyish Maria, a novice at the abbey in Salzburg, concern the Mother Abbess, who is unsure whether Maria wants to become a nun. To allow the girl to test her feelings, the Mother Abbess sends Maria to be the governess for the seven children of the widowed Baron Georg von Trapp, a retired naval officer. The children are at first hostile to Maria, but she soon wins them over. The baron, who is a strict disciplinarian, leaves to visit Baroness Schraeder, and while he is gone, Maria allows them greater freedom and teaches them to sing. The children become so excited when the baron returns that they fall out of a rowboat in the lake. The accident precipitates an argument between Maria and the baron, and he orders her to leave; but when he goes into the house and finds the children entertaining his friend Max and the baroness with a song, he asks Maria to stay. Max later suggests that they enter the Salzburg Festival as a singing group, but the baron refuses. Maria becomes aware that she is falling in love with the baron and returns to the abbey. The children follow her there and try to persuade her to return; when the Mother Abbess learns of their visit, she sends Maria back to the Trapp home. Maria again decides to leave when she hears that the baron plans to marry the baroness, but the baroness realizes that he loves Maria and releases him. He then marries Maria, and while they are away on their honeymoon, the Nazis take over Austria. Max, taking advantage of the baron's absence, enters the children in the Salzburg Festival. When Maria and the baron return, he forbids the children to appear at the festival. The baron learns that the Nazis, to whom he is violently opposed, have ordered him to take command of a ship. The Trapps plan an escape but are stopped by Storm Troopers. Max convinces them that they are on their way to the festival and that the baron is leaving for his ship immediately after the performance. The Trapps win first place and, using their exit song to escape, they take refuge in the abbey. The Nazis learn their whereabouts and surround the building, but the family escape through a secret tunnel to the nearby mountains.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
Release Date
Jan 1965
Premiere Information
New York opening: 2 Mar 1965
Production Company
Argyle Enterprises, Inc.
Distribution Company
Twentieth Century--Fox Film Corp.
Country
United States
Location
Salzburg, Austria
Screenplay Information
Based on the musical The Sound of Music , music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, II, book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse (New York, 16 Nov 1959).

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 54m
Sound
70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints), Mono (Westrex Recording System) (35 mm prints), Stereo (some 35 mm prints)
Color
Color (DeLuxe)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.20 : 1

Award Wins

Best Director

1965
Robert Wise

Best Editing

1965

Best Picture

1965

Best Score

1965

Best Sound

1965

Award Nominations

Best Actress

1965
Julie Andrews

Best Art Direction

1965
Boris Leven

Best Cinematography

1965

Best Costume Design

1965
Dorothy Jeakins

Best Supporting Actress

1965
Peggy Wood

Articles

The Making of The Sound of Music by Max Wilk


The Sound of Music was the last and most successful collaboration of two giants of the musical theater – Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein. Enjoying a long record-breaking run on Broadway and later transformed into a major motion picture, The Sound of Music remains among the most beloved and widely produced musicals by professional and amateur companies around the world. Yet, its success was not assured from the start – especially in the opinion of theatrical reviewers and critics.

The Making of the Sound of Music by Max Wilk (Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group; Publication Date: May 30, 2007; ISBN10: 0 415 97935 8/ISBN13: 978 0 415 97935 1; Softcover: $17.95) tells the fascinating, full story of the making of this classic, from the first rough ideas through the tryouts, fine tuning and eventual triumph. Playwright/critic/producer Max Wilk (age 81) brings a musical theater historian's eye, along with his passionate involvement as a witness, to the history of the making of The Sound of Music. He reveals stories from behind the scenes along with delightful tidbits and entertaining anecdotes.

Max Wilk worked with legendary producer Leland Hayward in the late 1950's. Stage and screen actress Mary Martin owned the rights to the Van Trapp family story, and hired Hayward to produce the Broadway show and Rodgers and Hammerstein to write the music. Wilk thought it was a terrible idea, as did everyone else in Hayward's office. When the show opened in New York, the reviews were not good, and it was panned as too saccharine. But, the sold-out audiences loved it, and The Sound of Music ran over 2,000 performances. In the words of Mary Martin, "If there ever was a triumph of audiences over critics, it was The Sound of Music."

Max Wilk has had a not-so-private love affair with American show business. As one of America's leading theater historians, he has written over 24 acclaimed books on musical theater, including They're Playing Our Song, Overture and Finale, Schmucks with Underwoods, OK! The Story of Oklahoma, and many others. He also wrote the script for the Beatles' animated adventure, Yellow Submarine.

The Making of the Sound of Music is available from our major bookstores and online book distributors.
The Making Of The Sound Of Music By Max Wilk

The Making of The Sound of Music by Max Wilk

The Sound of Music was the last and most successful collaboration of two giants of the musical theater – Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein. Enjoying a long record-breaking run on Broadway and later transformed into a major motion picture, The Sound of Music remains among the most beloved and widely produced musicals by professional and amateur companies around the world. Yet, its success was not assured from the start – especially in the opinion of theatrical reviewers and critics. The Making of the Sound of Music by Max Wilk (Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group; Publication Date: May 30, 2007; ISBN10: 0 415 97935 8/ISBN13: 978 0 415 97935 1; Softcover: $17.95) tells the fascinating, full story of the making of this classic, from the first rough ideas through the tryouts, fine tuning and eventual triumph. Playwright/critic/producer Max Wilk (age 81) brings a musical theater historian's eye, along with his passionate involvement as a witness, to the history of the making of The Sound of Music. He reveals stories from behind the scenes along with delightful tidbits and entertaining anecdotes. Max Wilk worked with legendary producer Leland Hayward in the late 1950's. Stage and screen actress Mary Martin owned the rights to the Van Trapp family story, and hired Hayward to produce the Broadway show and Rodgers and Hammerstein to write the music. Wilk thought it was a terrible idea, as did everyone else in Hayward's office. When the show opened in New York, the reviews were not good, and it was panned as too saccharine. But, the sold-out audiences loved it, and The Sound of Music ran over 2,000 performances. In the words of Mary Martin, "If there ever was a triumph of audiences over critics, it was The Sound of Music." Max Wilk has had a not-so-private love affair with American show business. As one of America's leading theater historians, he has written over 24 acclaimed books on musical theater, including They're Playing Our Song, Overture and Finale, Schmucks with Underwoods, OK! The Story of Oklahoma, and many others. He also wrote the script for the Beatles' animated adventure, Yellow Submarine. The Making of the Sound of Music is available from our major bookstores and online book distributors.

The Sound of Music (40th Anniversary Edition) on DVD


After the disastrous cost overruns and poor box office performance of the epic Cleopatra brought 20th Century Fox to the brink of bankruptcy, the studio would continue production of the one film that would be credited with single-handedly saving Fox from ruin: the visually sumptuous film version of one of Rodgers and Hammerstein's most modest musicals, The Sound of Music, which tells the highly fictionalized story of the real life Von Trapp family.

Julie Andrews literally climbed into screen immortality in the role of Maria, a young postulant whose antics leave her fellow nuns wondering how to cope with her. Doubtful that Maria is cut out to be a nun, the Mother Abbess (Peggy Wood) decides that Maria should spend some time away from the convent to consider her calling, and secures a position for her as governess in the sprawling mansion of dour widower Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer), a retired officer of the Imperial Navy, and his seven children.

The children have been suffering from the Captain's neglect since the death of his beloved wife: a constant reminder of his loss, he evades the children by spending most of his time away from home, and when he is there virtually ignores them. Maria comes onto the scene like a breath of fresh air, and instantly bonds with the children, eventually winning over the Captain as well. But when she finds herself falling in love with him and believes those feelings to be reciprocated, Maria flees to the safety of the convent. At the prompting of the Mother Superior, she returns to the Von Trapps to truly discover what path her life is meant to take. Of course, that path naturally leads to marriage, and their union is cemented just as the Nazis move into Austria. The Captain's resistance to being "drafted" into the Navy of a people he hates leads to the family's decision to flee the country.

For better or for worse, The Sound of Music became the most popular movie musical of all time, copping five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and becoming an enduring hallmark of wholesome family entertainment, though it remains a film in which form triumphs over substance. Acclaimed screenwriter Ernest Lehman (North by Northwest, West Side Story) was brought in to adapt Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse's treacly stage play, and though he adds some bite to the story, he was unable to completely eradicate the already heavily applied sugar-coating. But Lehman greatly improved on the stage version with some judicious re-arranging of the songs so that they have more dramatic impact in the context of the story (and discarding the songs done by characters other than the Von Trapps): i.e., My Favorite Things was originally sung by Maria and the Mother Abbess at the convent, and The Lonely Goatherd was used in the thunderstorm scene. Lehman's re-placement of My Favorite Things gives the song more meaning, as Maria comforts the children, while Goatherd is placed later and demonstrates the growing solidity of the relationship between Maria and the children. Lehman and director Robert Wise (who also picked up an Oscar) also take the song Do Re Mi, which on stage simply showed Maria teaching the children to sing, and transforms it into a full-fledged production number that accomplishes the original task while also conveying the passage of time.

With this film, Wise would prove again why he was one of our greatest directors: his brilliant use of locations and his understanding of the powerful melding of music and images is clearly established in the opening sequence, with the joyful Maria striding up the mountain and into the title song, which immediately became one of the most indelible images in the history of film. Wise and Oscar-nominated cinematographer Ted D. McCord frame every shot as if it were a painting, bathing the love scenes between the Captain and Maria in softness and shadows, and drawing a sharp contrast with the later scenes, drenched in earth tones, as the Nazi menace enters the picture.

Although The Sound of Music would enjoy a successful run on Broadway, on the big screen in became a legend, and a rare case in which the film version far outstripped the original, winning its way into the hearts of millions. The true story of the Von Trapps was far less dramatic than what is depicted in the musical: in real life Maria Von Trapp was a difficult woman who had sprung from a troubled childhood, the Captain was neither domineering nor reluctant for his children to embark on a singing career, and the family calmly left Salzburg by train, rather than dramatically escaping the Nazis in the nick of time by hiking over the alps. But perhaps the reason the film has endured for four decades is because this is the story as we would have liked it to have been.

Although Fox released The Sound of Music to DVD in 2000 as part of their Five Star Collection, the new 40th Anniversary edition offers a vast improvement: the film has received meticulous restoration, both physical and digital, and the result is a stunning transfer that brings the film back to its original theatrical luster. The soundtrack has also been restored and given a new 5.1 surround mix that is free of any signs of deterioration. The two-disc set includes the audio commentary by the late Robert Wise that appeared in the first release, along with a new commentary by Andrews, Plummer and other members of the cast. The second disc includes several new supplements, including an original 63 minute documentary on the making of the film with interviews with the cast, and a half hour reunion of the actors who played the Von Trapp children. The 40th Anniversary Edition is a must for fans.

For more information about The Sound of Music, visit Fox Home Entertainment. To order The Sound of Music, go to TCM Shopping.

by Fred Hunter

The Sound of Music (40th Anniversary Edition) on DVD

After the disastrous cost overruns and poor box office performance of the epic Cleopatra brought 20th Century Fox to the brink of bankruptcy, the studio would continue production of the one film that would be credited with single-handedly saving Fox from ruin: the visually sumptuous film version of one of Rodgers and Hammerstein's most modest musicals, The Sound of Music, which tells the highly fictionalized story of the real life Von Trapp family. Julie Andrews literally climbed into screen immortality in the role of Maria, a young postulant whose antics leave her fellow nuns wondering how to cope with her. Doubtful that Maria is cut out to be a nun, the Mother Abbess (Peggy Wood) decides that Maria should spend some time away from the convent to consider her calling, and secures a position for her as governess in the sprawling mansion of dour widower Captain Von Trapp (Christopher Plummer), a retired officer of the Imperial Navy, and his seven children. The children have been suffering from the Captain's neglect since the death of his beloved wife: a constant reminder of his loss, he evades the children by spending most of his time away from home, and when he is there virtually ignores them. Maria comes onto the scene like a breath of fresh air, and instantly bonds with the children, eventually winning over the Captain as well. But when she finds herself falling in love with him and believes those feelings to be reciprocated, Maria flees to the safety of the convent. At the prompting of the Mother Superior, she returns to the Von Trapps to truly discover what path her life is meant to take. Of course, that path naturally leads to marriage, and their union is cemented just as the Nazis move into Austria. The Captain's resistance to being "drafted" into the Navy of a people he hates leads to the family's decision to flee the country. For better or for worse, The Sound of Music became the most popular movie musical of all time, copping five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and becoming an enduring hallmark of wholesome family entertainment, though it remains a film in which form triumphs over substance. Acclaimed screenwriter Ernest Lehman (North by Northwest, West Side Story) was brought in to adapt Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse's treacly stage play, and though he adds some bite to the story, he was unable to completely eradicate the already heavily applied sugar-coating. But Lehman greatly improved on the stage version with some judicious re-arranging of the songs so that they have more dramatic impact in the context of the story (and discarding the songs done by characters other than the Von Trapps): i.e., My Favorite Things was originally sung by Maria and the Mother Abbess at the convent, and The Lonely Goatherd was used in the thunderstorm scene. Lehman's re-placement of My Favorite Things gives the song more meaning, as Maria comforts the children, while Goatherd is placed later and demonstrates the growing solidity of the relationship between Maria and the children. Lehman and director Robert Wise (who also picked up an Oscar) also take the song Do Re Mi, which on stage simply showed Maria teaching the children to sing, and transforms it into a full-fledged production number that accomplishes the original task while also conveying the passage of time. With this film, Wise would prove again why he was one of our greatest directors: his brilliant use of locations and his understanding of the powerful melding of music and images is clearly established in the opening sequence, with the joyful Maria striding up the mountain and into the title song, which immediately became one of the most indelible images in the history of film. Wise and Oscar-nominated cinematographer Ted D. McCord frame every shot as if it were a painting, bathing the love scenes between the Captain and Maria in softness and shadows, and drawing a sharp contrast with the later scenes, drenched in earth tones, as the Nazi menace enters the picture. Although The Sound of Music would enjoy a successful run on Broadway, on the big screen in became a legend, and a rare case in which the film version far outstripped the original, winning its way into the hearts of millions. The true story of the Von Trapps was far less dramatic than what is depicted in the musical: in real life Maria Von Trapp was a difficult woman who had sprung from a troubled childhood, the Captain was neither domineering nor reluctant for his children to embark on a singing career, and the family calmly left Salzburg by train, rather than dramatically escaping the Nazis in the nick of time by hiking over the alps. But perhaps the reason the film has endured for four decades is because this is the story as we would have liked it to have been. Although Fox released The Sound of Music to DVD in 2000 as part of their Five Star Collection, the new 40th Anniversary edition offers a vast improvement: the film has received meticulous restoration, both physical and digital, and the result is a stunning transfer that brings the film back to its original theatrical luster. The soundtrack has also been restored and given a new 5.1 surround mix that is free of any signs of deterioration. The two-disc set includes the audio commentary by the late Robert Wise that appeared in the first release, along with a new commentary by Andrews, Plummer and other members of the cast. The second disc includes several new supplements, including an original 63 minute documentary on the making of the film with interviews with the cast, and a half hour reunion of the actors who played the Von Trapp children. The 40th Anniversary Edition is a must for fans. For more information about The Sound of Music, visit Fox Home Entertainment. To order The Sound of Music, go to TCM Shopping. by Fred Hunter

Robert Wise (1914-2005)


Robert Wise, who died at age 91 on September 14, was the noted film editor of Citizen Kane (1941) and other movies before he became a producer and director, and all his works are marked by striking visual rhythms. He is best remembered for two enormously popular musicals, West Side Story (1959) and The Sound of Music (1965), which brought him a total of four Oscars® -- each winning for Best Picture and Best Director. (Wise's directorial award for West Side Story was shared with Jerome Robbins.)

Born on September 10, 1914 in Winchester, Ind., Wise was a child of the Depression who quit college to earn a living in the movie industry. He began as an assistant cutter at RKO, where he worked his way up to the position of film editor and earned an Oscar® nomination for his bravura work with Orson Welles on Citizen Kane. He also edited The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) for Welles, along with several other RKO films.

Wise became a director by default when RKO and producer Val Lewton assigned him to The Curse of the Cat People (1944) after Gunther von Fritsch failed to meet the film's production schedule. Wise turned the film into a first-rate psychological thriller, and enjoyed equal success with another Lewton horror film, The Body Snatcher (1945).

Critical praise also was showered upon Wise's Born to Kill (1947), a crime melodrama; and Blood on the Moon (1948), an unusual psychological Western starring Robert Mitchum. Even more highly regarded was The Set-Up (1949), a no-punches-pulled boxing drama that won the Critics' Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Wise moved on from RKO in the early 1950s, directing one of the movies' classic alien invasion films, The Day the Earth Stood Still, for 20th Century Fox.

At MGM he directed Executive Suite (1954), a compelling all-star boardroom drama; Somebody Up There Likes Me, a film bio of boxer Rocky Graziano that established Paul Newman as a major star; and The Haunting (1963), a chilling haunted-hause melodrama. His films for United Artists include Run Silent, Run Deep (1958), a submarine drama with Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster; I Want to Live! (1958), a harrowing account of a convicted murderess on Death Row, with Susan Hayward in her Oscar-winning performance; and the crime caper Odds Against Tomorrow (1959).

Wise served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Directors Guild of America. He was awarded the Academy's Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1966, and the Directors Guild's highest honor, the D.W. Griffith Award, in 1988. He remained active as a director through the 1970s. His final film, Rooftops (1989) was a musical with an urban setting that recalled West Side Story.

The films in TCM's salute to Robert Wise are Citizen Kane (1941), The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), The Curse of the Cat People (1944), The Body Snatcher (1945), Born to Kill (1947), Blood on the Moon (1948), The Set-Up (1949), Executive Suite (1954), Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), Run Silent, Run Deep (1958), B>West Side Story (1959), Odds Against Tomorrow (1959) and The Haunting (1963).

by Roger Fristoe

Robert Wise (1914-2005)

Robert Wise, who died at age 91 on September 14, was the noted film editor of Citizen Kane (1941) and other movies before he became a producer and director, and all his works are marked by striking visual rhythms. He is best remembered for two enormously popular musicals, West Side Story (1959) and The Sound of Music (1965), which brought him a total of four Oscars® -- each winning for Best Picture and Best Director. (Wise's directorial award for West Side Story was shared with Jerome Robbins.) Born on September 10, 1914 in Winchester, Ind., Wise was a child of the Depression who quit college to earn a living in the movie industry. He began as an assistant cutter at RKO, where he worked his way up to the position of film editor and earned an Oscar® nomination for his bravura work with Orson Welles on Citizen Kane. He also edited The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) for Welles, along with several other RKO films. Wise became a director by default when RKO and producer Val Lewton assigned him to The Curse of the Cat People (1944) after Gunther von Fritsch failed to meet the film's production schedule. Wise turned the film into a first-rate psychological thriller, and enjoyed equal success with another Lewton horror film, The Body Snatcher (1945). Critical praise also was showered upon Wise's Born to Kill (1947), a crime melodrama; and Blood on the Moon (1948), an unusual psychological Western starring Robert Mitchum. Even more highly regarded was The Set-Up (1949), a no-punches-pulled boxing drama that won the Critics' Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Wise moved on from RKO in the early 1950s, directing one of the movies' classic alien invasion films, The Day the Earth Stood Still, for 20th Century Fox. At MGM he directed Executive Suite (1954), a compelling all-star boardroom drama; Somebody Up There Likes Me, a film bio of boxer Rocky Graziano that established Paul Newman as a major star; and The Haunting (1963), a chilling haunted-hause melodrama. His films for United Artists include Run Silent, Run Deep (1958), a submarine drama with Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster; I Want to Live! (1958), a harrowing account of a convicted murderess on Death Row, with Susan Hayward in her Oscar-winning performance; and the crime caper Odds Against Tomorrow (1959). Wise served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Directors Guild of America. He was awarded the Academy's Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1966, and the Directors Guild's highest honor, the D.W. Griffith Award, in 1988. He remained active as a director through the 1970s. His final film, Rooftops (1989) was a musical with an urban setting that recalled West Side Story. The films in TCM's salute to Robert Wise are Citizen Kane (1941), The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), The Curse of the Cat People (1944), The Body Snatcher (1945), Born to Kill (1947), Blood on the Moon (1948), The Set-Up (1949), Executive Suite (1954), Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), Run Silent, Run Deep (1958), B>West Side Story (1959), Odds Against Tomorrow (1959) and The Haunting (1963). by Roger Fristoe

Ernest Lehman (1915-2005)


Ernest Lehman, the acclaimed screenwriter who did everything from stranding Cary Grant in a cornfield (North by Northwest) to seeing Julie Andrews help the Von Trap family escape the Nazis in (The Sound of Music) died on July 2 in Los Angeles following an undisclosed illness. He was 89.

Born on December 8, 1915 in New York City, Lehman graduated from New York's City College with a degree in English. After graduation he found work as a writer for many mediums: radio, theater, and popular magazines of the day like Collier's before landing his first story in Hollywood for the comedy, The Inside Story (1948). The success of that film didn't lead immediately to screenwriting some of Hollywood's biggest hits, but his persistancy to break into the silver screen paid off by the mid-'50s: the delicious Audrey Hepburn comedy Sabrina (1954, his first Oscar® nomination and first Golden Globe award); Paul Newman's first hit based on the life of Rocky Graziano Somebody Up There Likes Me; and his razor sharp expose of the publicity world based on his own experiences as an assistant for a theatre publicist The Sweet Smell of Success (1957).

Lehman's verasitily and gift for playful dialogue came to the fore for Alfred Hitchcock's memorable North by Northwes (1959, his second Oscar® nomination); and he showed a knack for moving potentially stiff Broadway fodder into swift cinematic fare with West Side Story (1961, a third Oscar® nomination); The Sound of Music (1965); Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966); and Hello, Dolly! (1969, the last two being his final Oscar® nominations for screenwriting).

Lehman took his turn as a director when he adapted Philip Roth's comic novel Portnoy's Complaint (1972) for film, and despite some good reviews, it wasn't a commercial hit. He wrote just two more screenplays before retiring: an underrated comic mystery gem for Hitchcock Family Plot (1976); and the big budget Robert Shaw espionage drama Black Sunday (1977). Lehman served as president of the Writers Guild of America from 1983-85. After going zero for five with his Oscar® nominations, the Academy made it up to him in 2001, by presenting him with an honorary Academy Award for his "body of varied and enduring work." Lehman is survived by his wife Laurie and three children.

by Michael T. Toole

Ernest Lehman (1915-2005)

Ernest Lehman, the acclaimed screenwriter who did everything from stranding Cary Grant in a cornfield (North by Northwest) to seeing Julie Andrews help the Von Trap family escape the Nazis in (The Sound of Music) died on July 2 in Los Angeles following an undisclosed illness. He was 89. Born on December 8, 1915 in New York City, Lehman graduated from New York's City College with a degree in English. After graduation he found work as a writer for many mediums: radio, theater, and popular magazines of the day like Collier's before landing his first story in Hollywood for the comedy, The Inside Story (1948). The success of that film didn't lead immediately to screenwriting some of Hollywood's biggest hits, but his persistancy to break into the silver screen paid off by the mid-'50s: the delicious Audrey Hepburn comedy Sabrina (1954, his first Oscar® nomination and first Golden Globe award); Paul Newman's first hit based on the life of Rocky Graziano Somebody Up There Likes Me; and his razor sharp expose of the publicity world based on his own experiences as an assistant for a theatre publicist The Sweet Smell of Success (1957). Lehman's verasitily and gift for playful dialogue came to the fore for Alfred Hitchcock's memorable North by Northwes (1959, his second Oscar® nomination); and he showed a knack for moving potentially stiff Broadway fodder into swift cinematic fare with West Side Story (1961, a third Oscar® nomination); The Sound of Music (1965); Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966); and Hello, Dolly! (1969, the last two being his final Oscar® nominations for screenwriting). Lehman took his turn as a director when he adapted Philip Roth's comic novel Portnoy's Complaint (1972) for film, and despite some good reviews, it wasn't a commercial hit. He wrote just two more screenplays before retiring: an underrated comic mystery gem for Hitchcock Family Plot (1976); and the big budget Robert Shaw espionage drama Black Sunday (1977). Lehman served as president of the Writers Guild of America from 1983-85. After going zero for five with his Oscar® nominations, the Academy made it up to him in 2001, by presenting him with an honorary Academy Award for his "body of varied and enduring work." Lehman is survived by his wife Laurie and three children. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

How many have I had?
- Max
Two.
- Maid
Make it an uneven three.
- Max
Fraulein, is it to be at every meal, or merely at dinnertime, that you intend on leading us all through this rare and wonderful new world of... indigestion?
- Captain von Trapp
He's got to at least *pretend* to work with these people. You must convince him.
- Max
I can't ask him to be less than he is.
- Maria
Somewhere out there is a lady who I think will never be a nun. Auf Wiedersehen, darling.
- The Baroness
It's the dress. You'll have to put on another one before you meet the children.
- Captain von Trapp
But I don't have another one. When we entered the abbey our worldly clothes were given to the poor.
- Maria
What about this one?
- Captain von Trapp
The poor didn't want this one.
- Maria

Trivia

Originally to be directed by William Wyler, who actually scouted locations and toyed with the script. He had a different film in mind; tanks crashing through walls, etc.

Director Robert Wise considered Yul Brynner for the role of Captain Von Trapp.

Marni Nixon (see West Side Story (1961), King and I, The (1956), and My Fair Lady (1964)) has her only on-screen role in this film, playing sister Sophia.

The first musical number in the film, "The Sound of Music", was the final sequence shot in Europe before the cast and crew returned to Los Angeles. It was filmed in late June and early July of 1964. Despite the warm and sunny appearance, Julie Andrews notes that she was freezing running up that mountain over and over again. Additionally, the downdraft from the helicopter kept knocking her off her feet. Director Robert Wise has said that he had to climb one of the trees nearby to be able to overview the helicopter shoot without getting in the picture.

"Sixteen Going On Seventeen" was shot in the gazebo, one of the last to be done. On the first take, Charmian Carr (Liesl) slipped while leaping across a bench, and fell through a pane of glass. Although she was not badly injured, her ankle was hurt and the scene was later shot with her leg wrapped and makeup covering the bandages.

Notes

Portions of the film were shot in and around Salzberg and the Austrian Alps. A similar story based on the same characters was filmed as The Trapp Family, a 1956 German-made movie directed by Lee Kresel and Wolfgang Liebeneiner. In 1998, commemorating the first century of movies, AFI named The Sound of Music #55 of the 100 Greatest American Films.


Miscellaneous Notes

Voted One of the Year's Ten Best Films by the 1965 National Board of Review.

Winner of the Best-Written American Musical Award by the 1965 Writers Guild of America.

Released in United States Spring April 1965

Re-released in United States August 24, 1990

Released in United States on Video November 1979

Re-released in United States on Video September 13, 1990

Re-released in United States on Video August 27, 1996

Released in United States 1978

Released in United States October 1997

Released in United States December 1997

Shown at Mill Valley Film Festival (Robert Wise Tribute) October 2-12, 1997.

Shown at Cinemagic International Film Festival For Young People in Belfast, United Kingdom December 4-14, 1997.

Selected in 2001 for inclusion in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.

Broadcast premiere in USa on ABC Television February 29, 1976.

Released in United States Spring April 1965

Re-released in United States August 24, 1990 (New York City and Los Angeles)

Released in United States on Video November 1979

Re-released in United States on Video September 13, 1990

Re-released in United States on Video August 27, 1996

Released in United States 1978 (Shown at FILMEX: Los Angeles International Film Exposition (Special Programs - "Salute to Oscar" - Filmex Marathon) April 13 - May 7, 1978.)

Voted Best Director by the 1965 Directors Guild of America.

Released in United States October 1997 (Shown at Mill Valley Film Festival (Robert Wise Tribute) October 2-12, 1997.)

Released in United States December 1997 (Shown at Cinemagic International Film Festival For Young People in Belfast, United Kingdom December 4-14, 1997.)