Win Tickets to see The Sound of Music at the New Rheem Theatre
Special guest Angela Cartwright will attend the September 18 screening of the Oscar-winning classic
Diablo magazine and the California Independent Film Festival will make the Lamorinda Hills come alive with The Sound of Music on September 18, as we screen the Best Picture-winning musical as part of our monthly Classic Movie Series at the New Rheem Theatre.
Actress Angela Cartwright, who played Brigitta von Trapp in the film, will be on hand for a Q&A after the screening—you can get a preview now, as Angela and Diablo's Pete Crooks caught up this week to talk about the movie. Tickets are available here, and we have few pairs of seats to offer Diablo readers—fill out the form at the bottom of the interview to enter to win!
I’m so excited to show The Sound of Music as part of our Classic Film Series. When we asked our readers how many times they’d seen the film, the responses ranged from “At least 20” to “So many times I can’t remember” to “My kids watch it once a week.”
I know, it’s amazing how it just doesn’t get old. I loved the person that told me, ”I put it on whenever I’m depressed and it cheers me up.”
You were so young when you made the film. Did you have the feeling that you were working on a classic at the time?
Well, I was 11 when I was cast, and turned 12 making the movie. Going into it, I did not have any idea how big it would be.
It was exciting to be with the other kids. I was coming out of the Danny Thomas Show, on which I had a brother, so I was thrilled to be singing and dancing with these other children. Right away, I was very close with Heather Menzies, who played Louisa.
How much time did you get to spend in those gorgeous locations in Austria?
We spent three months shooting in Salzburg and Austria. The front of the home was a university, and the back of the estate, with the lake, that was a music school. All the interiors of the home were on the 20th Century lot in Los Angeles.
We did our schooling right on set and in the hotel. It was a requirement to have three hours of schooling every day.
Just found the other day, I found my scrapbook from Austria with postcards from everywhere we went. It was part of my school work to write about what I was seeing and visiting. It was fun to look through it after 45 years!
The movie keeps finding an audience after all this time. The sing-a-long version sold out at the Hollywood Bowl, I think.
What an experience that is! The audience is wonderful—they sing along, they boo, they hiss.
What is so great about the stage version of The Sound of Music is that kids know the story and that schools still do the play because it has so many characters. My kids were in a summer production of it—my daughter played Maria and my son played Kurt. I cried through the entire show.
Have you ever met the real Brigitta von Trapp?
The real Brigitta, her name is Helwig or Hedwig, I always mix it up with the owl from Harry Potter (Hedwig). I did not have a chance to meet her, she passed away.
How close are you with the other child actors from the film?
All the actors from the film are like a big family. We have this common thread. About a year and a half ago, we did go back to the von Trapp family home in Vermont, which is a beautiful ski resort now.
Heather Menzies and I went back to Austria for a show called Movie Lovers Road Trip. It was the 40th anniversary of the film—I did 40 paintings of locations from the movie.
Everything looked exactly the same in Salzburg. It was wonderful it has an enormous amount of charm. It is so great to go and stand somewhere and recognize it as the location where the movie was shot.
The film’s director, Robert Wise, has an amazing body of work. He won Oscars for Sound of Music and West Side Story—two epic musicals—but he also directed the science fiction classic Day the Earth Stood Still and the noir gem The Set-Up.
He was amazing. I don’t think people realize the magic that Robert Wise brought to that movie. He was an editor before he was a director. The “Do-Re-Mi”, with all those locations being seen. Its like the first music video. I still love to watch the “Do-Re-Mi”.
Robert Wise directed Somebody Up There Likes Me, which was my first movie at age three. Wise did not realize he had cast through. In that film, I was waving a stuffed animal in one scene. I still have that stuffed animal. I took it to the set of Sound of Music and asked Robert Wise to sign it. He looked at it and then looked at me and said, “You’re kidding, you’re that was you?”
What memories do you have of working with Paul Newman in Somebody Up There Likes Me? Did you get to know him later in life?
I did get to see Newman again afterwards, but I never worked with him again. When I was doing Lost in Space, he was making the Towering Inferno, and I introduced myself to him on the set. I was about 15, and he was just incredibly gorgeous. When he realized who I was he said, “Oh no! I feel so old!”
What an amazing person. I always buy his food if I have a choice. What a great giveback—and its great food!
One more question—those playclothes made from curtains; what did they feel like to wear?
Anything was better than the Lost in Space spacesuit that I had to wear! (Laughs) The curtains were a little heavy, but not particularly uncomfortable.
Check out Angela Cartwright's paintings and writing at Angela-cartwright.com.