Wednesday, June 01, 2005

SALZBURG: The Great Dame

I refer to Julie Andrews, of course. What would The Sound of Music be without her! Born in 1935, ten years my senior, she has aged so majestically. In May 2000 she was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. With all the incredible water over her dam, no wonder.

I first fell in love with her in Mary Poppins back in 1964. I was in my second year at the University of Michigan and Don Smith, from our InterVarsity group, took me to see the movie on a Saturday night. I was so mesmerized by it, I went back the next day by myself to see it again. Guess you could say she had me at Hello!

When The Sound of Music came out the next year (Man! Two musical classics in a row), I was a goner. And that was before my kids were born! I wonder what would be her equivalent for them now, if there is one: an actress, singer, author and dame-to-be.

So, now you know that Salzburg for this American (moi) really was The Sound of Music, or, better said, Julie Andrews. The 4-hour Panoramic Tour we took was worth every penny, on a beautiful, sunny day. In my photo album you'll see many of the places in the movie: the castle, abbey, fountains, von Trapp house and lake, Horsepond, gazebo, wedding chapel, tombstones, escape mountain.

Some fun bits of trivia the way we were told:
  • Liesl fell through the glass and cut her ankle in the Gazebo when doing the "Sixteen Going On Seventeen" dance with Rolfe. Her ankle had to be taped in the movie.
  • When Maria went to jump out of the boat with the kids in order to save Gretl from drowning, she fell out on the wrong side and Gretl nearly did drown. In fact, they lost a whole day of shooting because little Gretl was so distressed.
  • When the Baron and Maria were dancing in the Gazebo, the lighting made such a horrendous sound that they couldn't stop laughing, take after take. So the solution was to do the dance without lighting!
  • The Abbey chapel was not ornate enough for the director, so he chose the Mondsee cathedral for the wedding scene, several miles away from Salzburg.
  • Most Austrians have never seen the American version of the von Trapp Family Singers because they already had 2 German movies about the story by 1965. No sense seeing one in English!
  • Likewise, most Austrians have never heard the Edelweiss song (something Nicholas probably knows by heart, thanks to Amy!).
  • The escape mountains in the movie were to Switzerland but in actuality would have taken them to Germany, right into the hands of the very Nazis they were fleeing!
The only thing we didn't see on the tour was Maria/Julie but the hills were definitely alive with her music. Almost as good as her being there herself!

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