The actors take the audience back in time during a 50th anniversary screening in Hollywood

By Tim Nudd
March 27, 2015 11:50 AM
Advertisement

They remember the filming in such detail, it’s like it was yesterday.

“There were so many ridiculous things that happened off camera, particularly in Austria,” Julie Andrews told the audience during a special Q&A in Hollywood Thursday night before the TCM Classic Film Festival’s 50th anniversary screening of The Sound of Music.

“You were always carting oxen up a hill or something!” Christopher Plummer added.

Andrews, 79, and Plummer, 85, were the main stars of the 1965 film, based on the 1959 Broadway musical of the same name. And they fondly recalled their time in rainy old Austria, where Andrews did indeed consort with the oxen.

“Going up to the very peak of somewhere with all the camera equipment being carried in a cart with two oxen, and me on top of the camera equipment wearing a big coat because it was freezing out there!” she said.

“We built a stream, and the farmer on whose land the stream was built was so upset with Hollywood. He said, ‘You and your camera crew and everything are ruining the milk of my cows!’ And he came out in the middle of the night with a pitchfork and stabbed the stream, which was lined with rubber, and it all drained away! They had to build it again the next day.”

Credit: Allen Berezovsky/WireImage

There were plenty of stories like that, and also lots of ruminating about the film’s legacy – and why it’s so beloved.

“I think it’s because it’s the primal family movie of all time,” said Plummer. “This is an extraordinary sort of fairy story brought to life. In a world that is so horrific, we know what’s going on now and it’s inconceivable, it’s the last of a bastion of peace and innocence in a very cynical time.”

Added Andrews: “It has glorious music, it has the beautiful Alps, and it has the children and nuns. And it’s an adventure as well as a love story. It’s about family. I mean, you could pick any one of those things.”

The actors also complimented each other’s talents.

“You made it less saccharin,” Andrews told Plummer of his performance. “You made it have an astringency because of the way you played the Captain. And without that, we would’ve been sunk, I think. I really mean that.”

Asked on the red carpet before the Q&A to talk about Andrews’s strengths, Plummer said: “Her stoicness, her talent, her extraordinary generosity and her eyes.”

Reporting by SCOTT HUVER