‘The Sound of Music’ remains magical for Julie Andrews, too

Fanning Out

Ever-popular movie gets its annual holiday airing on ABC

It’s a sound that the world still loves, particularly at this time of year.

The Rodgers & Hammerstein stage classic “The Sound of Music” became one of the most adored movie musicals of all time upon its 1965 release, and that status that has remained through its many showings in ensuing years — including its annual telecasts, which make it one of very few theatrical films (also including “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “The Ten Commandments’) to still have such a guaranteed broadcast-network berth.

ABC presents the winner of five Oscars again Sunday (Dec. 16), with Julie Andrews as Maria, the spirited nun-in-training who’s sent to mind the children of stern Captain Georg von Trapp (Christopher Plummer). The kids turn out to be musically inclined, which is lucky for such familiar tunes as “Do-Re-Mi” and “So Long, Farewell,” with other numbers like “Edelweiss” left largely to the adults. And of course, there’s the title song, which Andrews famously renders on an Austrian mountainside as director Robert Wise has the cameras sweep around her.

“It’s phenomenal how it has held up and been so beloved,” Andrews has told us of the film. “I love it, too. I’m very, very fond of it. Every several years, there’s a new generation that will probably see it, and I’m supremely blessed to be a part of that.”

Different home-video versions of “The Sound of Music” have offered then-newly produced material. “I love watching documentaries on the making of movies,” Andrews says, “getting a window into how hard the work was.” A 40th-anniversary “Music” disc reteamed her with Plummer to reminisce about the filming, and she notes, “It was reassuring to discover how much we felt the same about certain things like the weather, and like Salzburg and how beautiful it was. He and I have remained great friends for many years.”

“The Sound of Music” earned Academy Awards for best picture, editing and – appropriately enough – sound and music scoring. Director Wise won Its fifth Oscar, and Andrews recalls, “I did two movies with Bob. We also made ‘Star!’ together, and in both cases, he was gentle in every way. He was a mentor, and one always felt he had a very quiet, firm control.”

That was no small thing in the case of “The Sound of Music,” since Wise also had to oversee seven youngsters of varying ages. Two of those actors, Charmian Carr (alias Liesl) and Heather Menzies Urich (Louisa), have since passed – and Andrews recalls, “Every 10 years or so, we used to have our own anniversary celebration where we’d all get together. We’ve stayed fond of each other and sent messages back and forth.”

Claiming that it’s “mind-boggling” to still be discussing “The Sound of Music” past its 50th birthday, Andrews (whose voice is heard this holiday season in “Aquaman”) has no doubt of why it has endured. “I think it’s the great use of the music,” she says. “When you’re making a musical, it elevates the whole process of loving coming to work every day. There’s just great sound all around you when you’re doing the songs.”

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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