On 2nd March 1965 the film ‘Sound of Music’ starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer was premiered and nearly fifty years later people are still watching it. It was based in Salzburg in Austria and in 2008 I visited the city with a group of friends.
On the first morning we explored the streets and made our way to the central square. Just around the corner was a travel agency selling Sound of Music tours and I thought that this might appeal to the girls. The film is one of the most successful ever and is based on the story of the Von Trapp family. The Captain was a very successful Austrian naval captain during the First World War but found himself promptly unemployed after 1918.
Now this won’t come as a great surprise to anyone who examines a map of post Great War Europe because being on the losing side Austria was stripped of its extensive empire and reduced to a land locked central European state with no access to the sea and presumably therefore without a requirement for naval commanders, however successful they might have been.
The Captain had to find an alternative career and discovering that his children possessed a talent for music exploited this to create the Von Trapp singers. When one of the children fell ill with scarlet fever he employed the novice nun Maria to care for her and the rest is history.
I have grown to like the film but it takes a few historical liberties; for example the family actually didn’t hike from Salzburg to Switzerland to escape the Nazi’s but in reality simply took the train to Italy and then to Switzerland. Now that must have been a whole lot easier and besides, if they had climbed all of the mountains between Salzburg and Switzerland they would have had to go through Nazi Germany and would have been extremely lucky to arrive, not to say completely knackered by the time they got there!
The film is shown every night at eight o’clock on Austrian TV and the British Government has a copy ready to broadcast in the event of a really bad national emergency such as a David Cameron second term in office for example.