Julie Andrews Sound of Music Superstar

Julie Andrews Sound of Music stories to share...

The perfect choice
Julie Andrews had already made a name for herself on the Broadway Stage. She was also proving herself to be a talented actress in wholesome family entertainment, after her 1964 Oscar winning performance as Mary in Mary Poppins.

Originally, actresses like Grace Kelly, Ann Bancroft, Angie Dickinson, Leslie Caron, Carol Lawrence and Shirley Jones were considered for the role of Maria von Trapp.Julie Andrews Head Shoulders But after seeing clips of Julie in the (as yet unreleased) Mary Poppins movie, director Robert Wise and screenwriter Ernest Lehman knew there was only one person they wanted to play Maria in The Sound of Music - and that was Julie Andrews.

"Julie Andrews is a true blessing for The Sound of Music. The movie would probably be totally ignorable without her charm, excellent voice and comedy timing. It’s an iconic performance that’s either taken for granted or named as one of the best musical performances ever."

Alex from Movieland

When filming this all-time movie classic, she was a young looking twenty eight year old whose talent had not only impressed Wise and Lehman enough to hire her, but whose innocence and charm would win over both the Captain, played by Christopher Plummer, and audiences Worldwide too.

“Julie Andrews transcends the screen, almost reaching out and hugging the audience” anon

According to Julia Hirsch, who wrote ‘The Sound of Music – The Making of America’s Favorite Movie’, Julie Andrews was paid a flat sum of $225,000 for both her appearance in The Sound of Music, and her next film with Fox. Not a huge sum by today’s standards, but her value rose dramatically after the phenomenal success of ‘Music’.

The Julie Andrews Sound of Music Opening Sequence
is surely one of the greatest and most memorable beginnings to any movie. It was also one of the most complicated location scenes to shoot. opening sequenceIt was shot on a mountain in Bavaria called Mehlweg, near to Salzburg. The weather was poor for several days, keeping Andrews and the crew on the mountain waiting for a break in the clouds. When the time came to film this scene, Julie is singing The Sound of Music with a smile on her face dancing and twirling in the alpine meadow. However, by the end of the shoot her patience was close to running out.

“ I will never forget it, there was a large helicopter coming towards me through the mountains with a brave cameraman hanging out the side. We shot the scene many times, and at the end of each take, the helicopter would circle round. The downdraught nailed me flat onto the grass, and a couple of times I bit the dust. At first it was funny, but after several times I began to get very angry.”

Julie Andrews

The Julie Andrews sense of humor
As well as a musical, The Sound of Music also has some light hearted moments that were wonderfully portrayed by the cast. Julie’s facial expressions and perfect timing with her humorous lines added another dimension to the movie. One particular scene, when the Captain and Maria were in the gazebo singing 'Something Good' also brought out Julie’s sense of humor in real life. She and Christopher Plummer suffered from an uncontrollable fit of the giggles every time they had to face each other and sing. This was caused by an old arc light making peculiar groaning noises.

Something Good

“Chris and I were standing very close. We were face to face, about an inch away from each other, looking into each others eyes. We were just getting to the point where we would say ‘I love you’ or we’d start kissing… and then those old arc lights would let out a loud ‘raspberry!’ It was like a comment on our scene! Well, Chris and I would start laughing. We couldn’t help it. Then we’d go back to the scene again, and those lights would start groaning at us again! Our giggling got even worse. In fact it got to the point where we couldn’t get through the scene!”

After a break for lunch, the giggles returned and Director Robert Wise finally lost his patience and asked for the lights to be switched off and for filming to take place in the dark with Julie and Christopher in silhouette. This decision not only solved the problem with the noisy lights, but also added a wonderful romantic atmosphere to the scene.

...And That Fabulous Julie Andrews Voice
Julie Andrews had a terrific voice, ranging between four octaves. We can enjoy it throughout the entire movie, but especially when she sings ‘Do-Re-Mi’. It was Julie’s idea to jump a whole octave by the end of the song, climbing one step for each note. Do-Reh-MiWhilst climbing the steps Julie thought it would be so much fun to go "higher and higher and then higher. And so I asked if I could do the huge octave leap, and everybody said 'Go for it!' and that’s sort of how it came about."

The song is not only a brilliant musical number, but it also shows that Julie is a wonderful actress, walking, skipping, running, cycling and riding in a carriage with the von Trapp children. It is also a piece that lets you see the relationship strengthen between Maria and the children as she uses the song to teach them how to sing.

Julie also turns the scene in her room during the thunderstorm into a really magical moment, when she sings 'My Favorite Things' to the children. You and I can hum and even sing along to this well known number. Julie’s lack of self-consciousness in playing the role as Maria throughout the movie, is contributory to the film’s success.

“The best moments of her performance are when she’s singing, because she’s not just moving her lips, but also acting."

Alex from Movieland

“Julie had what was probably the most beautiful voice of any singer that ever lived when you listen for clarity of her voice and the surprising power of it. She was trained to give her audiences all she had every time; a trait instilled in her by the famous Broadway director Moss Hart. She is one of those rarest of individuals when on hearing her sing, you stop whatever you are doing to listen”.

Lindy, Dallas Texas

Larri Thomas

Did You Know?
Did you know that in the sequence where The Captain, Max, and The Baroness were driving down the lane towards the von Trapp villa, the ‘Maria’ who was dangling out of a tree with the children was not Julie Andrews, but her stand-in Larri Thomas (see right). Which one is which?

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