‘The Sound of Music’: Christopher Plummer Was Drunk While Filming This Pivotal Scene
55 years after its release, The Sound of Music remains one of the most beloved movies of all time. Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer — along with the seven von Trapp children — bring the classic film to life with their unforgettable characters and the timeless songs they sing. But as much as he respects Captain von Trapp’s place in cinematic history today, Plummer wasn’t a fan of the movie while making it.
Christopher Plummer hated ‘The Sound of Music’
It turns out that Captain von Trapp’s cold exterior may not have been 100% acting for Plummer. The New York Times reported back in 1966 that Plummer referred to the movie as “The Sound of Mucus” more than once on set. Plummer himself told The Boston Globe that he was “a bit bored with the character” of the Captain.
“Although we worked hard enough to make him interesting, it was a bit like flogging a dead horse,” Plummer said. “And the subject matter is not mine. I mean, it can’t appeal to every person in the world. It’s not my cup of tea.”
In 2011, Plummer offered even more harsh criticism during a Hollywood roundtable for The Hollywood Reporter. “[I]t was so awful and sentimental and gooey,” the actor lamented. “You had to work terribly hard to try and infuse some minuscule bit of humor into it.”
Christopher Plummer drank often on the set of ‘The Sound of Music’
Perhaps as a result of him not enjoying working on the movie, Plummer drank often on the set of The Sound of Music. He even developed a flirtatious-yet-platonic relationship with co-star Charmian Carr, who played his on-screen daughter Liesl.
In 2010, the cast of The Sound of Music came together for a highly anticipated reunion on The Oprah Winfrey Show. The film’s stars, including the von Trapp children who were all grown up, revealed behind-the-scenes stories and reminisced on their time spent shooting the film in Austria all those years ago.
Charmian Carr was 21 years old when she played eldest daughter Liesl, who was “16 going on 17” in the film. When Winfrey asked Carr what she learned from Plummer, who was an accomplished theatre actor at the time, her answer was honest: “I learned how to drink!”
Carr recalled her and Plummer’s nights out at bars around Salzburg in her autobiography, Forever Liesl: A Memoir of The Sound of Music. “It was my first time away from home, when I became an adult and drank my first champagne,” she remembered, referencing Liesl’s desire in the song “So Long, Farewell.”
Christopher Plummer was drunk during one important scene
Plummer’s penchant for alcohol characterized his career — and his personal life — through the 1960s. “I was drinking like mad at the time,” Plummer admitted in his own memoir. “There was no reason for me to drink as I was making quite a lot of money, but I felt I wasn’t doing the kind of things I’d rather be doing.”
His disinterest in The Sound of Music led him to even be drunk on set. In the commentary of the 35th anniversary edition of the DVD, Plummer admitted that he was three sheets to the wind drunk when they were filming the music festival scene toward the end of the film.
Plummer reflected on his actions at the time in his 2008 memoir In Spite of Myself. “I was a pampered, arrogant, young bastard spoiled by too many great theatre roles,” he said. The music festival was an important scene that marked the turning point in the movie and required great emotional control as the von Trapp family prepared to escape from Nazi Austria.
Plummer continued by acknowledging that he was totally out of line: “My behavior was unconscionable.”