'The Sound of Music': Did Christopher Plummer Actually Sing 'Edelweiss'?

'The Sound of Music': Did Christopher Plummer Actually Sing 'Edelweiss'?

February 5, 2021

The late legendary Christopher Plummer’s career stretched across six decades. However, perhaps his most well-known role was in The Sound of Music.

In the beloved 1965 musical, Plummer played Captain Von Trapp, a surly man who eventually falls in love with Maria (Julie Andrews), a young nun who is hired to care for his seven children. The movie was set against Nazi-occupied Austria.

One of the most memorable moments of the film is when Plummer sings “Edelweiss.” This is what we know about that specific moment in the movie.

Christopher Plummer hated filming ‘The Sound of Music’

Plummer was not at all impressed with The Sound of Music. As a Tony-Award winning Broadway actor, he felt that the role and the Hollywood musical itself were beneath him.

“I had become a pampered, arrogant young bastard, spoiled by too many great theatre roles,” he revealed in his memoir In Spite of Myself. “I still harbored the old-fashioned stage actor’s snobbism toward moviemaking.” At the time Plummer told the Boston Globe that he was “a bit bored with the character” of Captain von Trapp. The New York Times revealed that he’d called the movie, “The Sound of Mucus.” 

In fact, Plummer wasn’t all that enthusiastic about the film years later. “[I]t was so awful and sentimental and gooey,” the actor told Insider in 2011, “You had to work terribly hard to try and infuse some minuscule bit of humor into it.”

Christopher Plummer was drunk while filming a pivotal scene in ‘The Sound of Music’

Since Plummer could barely tolerate being in the film, he often got drunk on The Sound of Music set. He also enjoyed flirting with actor Charmian Carr, who played his on-screen daughter Liesl to pass the time. Carr was 21 when The Sound of Music was filmed.

In the 35th anniversary edition of the DVD, for The Sound of Music, Plummer admitted that he was completely wasted when filming the all-important music festival scene.

“I was drinking like mad at the time,” Plummer revealed in his 2008 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.”

He said later, “My behavior was unconscionable.”

Christopher Plummer didn’t actually sing ‘Edelweiss’ in ‘The Sound of Music’

In one of the film’s best scenes. Captain Von Trapp sings a stunning rendition of “Edelweiss.” However, Plummer didn’t actually sing the song. Instead, the filmmakers chose to dub his voice over so that it would match perfectly and be in pitch with Andrews’

“They did for the long passages,” the late actor told NPR. “It was very well done. The entrances and exits from the songs were my voice, and then they filled in – in those days, they were very fussy about matching voices in musicals. And Julie, of course, had been – you know, trained since day one as a – I mean, she was ….tone perfect since she was in her cradle, which is an exasperating thing to admit. And it was awfully hard to match her and her sustained, long notes. So yeah, I was – they did it very well ’cause it sounded very much like me.”

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