Based on the life of the real von Trapp family, The Sound of Music can be heard even today as an anti-war statement: it isn’t just an anti-Nazi propaganda that gathered countless awards, but it can also be seen as a movie that spoke of those times. It was released 10 years after the Vietnam War has started.
But I will not talk about this in here. Instead, I would like to talk about the road the film took in its pre-production. And it was a bumpy road, since not a single director wanted to make it.
The first one to be approached was Robert Wise (who at that time was known for West Side Story and The Day the Earth Stood Still) – but the director refused to make the film because it was too saccharine.
Stanley Donen (Singin’ in the Rain), Vincent J. Donehue (Peter Pan) and even Gene Kelly were then approached, to no success however, until William Wyler (Ben-Hur) decided to make the film: but, as he said, his loss of hearing made him less than suitable for the job.
Ultimately, the task came back to Robert Wise, who agreed only if the studio backed another project of his. And so The Sound of Music found a director.
However, these weren’t the last times when the film passed through a troubled period. As said, it was based on the life of the von Trapp family. And, for the movie to work as a whole, some dramatic licenses were taken by the filmmakers.
While some adjustments didn’t have a great importance for author Maria Augusta von Trapp, she did say that she was sad for one thing: her husband being described as a distant father and a humorless ruler. But then again, she didn’t have a word to say in the making of the film, because the rights for the book (on which the movie was based) were already sold.
But, after all is said and done, the saccharine Sound of Music did win 5 Academy Awards and is now the 3rd highest grossing movie of all times in the US.