Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Sound of Music Geography Error

The last scene of the movie Sound of Music has the Von Trapp family crossing the Alps on foot into Switzerland.  The family is free from the Nazis after escaping a patrol near Salzburg and are surrounded by God's beautiful nature.



However, as a post from the sometimes not so safe for work humor website Cracked.com points out, the geography does not work out.


The Austrian state of Salzburg does share a border with Italy but not Switzerland.  In reality the family fled through Italy rather than Switzerland. While the foot crossing the Swiss Alps provided a beautiful ending to the movie, real-world complex political geography  due to the collapse of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire allowed for the family's departure.  According to the National Archives:

The von Trapps traveled to Italy, not Switzerland. Georg was born in Zadar (now in Croatia), which at that time was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Zadar became part of Italy in 1920, and Georg was thus an Italian citizen, and his wife and children as well. The family had a contract with an American booking agent when they left Austria. They contacted the agent from Italy and requested fare to America.
Traveling with their musical conductor, Rev. Franz Wasner, and secretary, Martha Zochbauer, they went by train to Italy in June, later to London, and by September were on a ship to New York to begin a concert tour in Pennsylvania
The movie not only changed the history and names of family members but the geography as well.

6 comments:

Dina said...

Oi, bad enough, but some people actually think the movie's song "Edelweiss" is the national anthem of Austria.

Joshua said...

I think most people in Austria or Germany have never seen the movie. My German wife had never seen it before, so I rented it and for her it seemed like torture to watch it. We never got through watching it.

Catholicgauze said...

Joshua,
Was it the film's plot or songs which your wife didn't like?

Anonymous said...

The German movie from the 60's about the Von Trapps actually focuses its attention on their time in New York City and how they had to adjust to live in America. Its interesting which aspect of their stories audiences in different countries respond to I guess.
P.S. The most insance scene in the German version has the Von Trapp children singing the minstrel classic Old Black Joe in thick German accents.

Joshua said...

I think it was the too cheerful songs that turned her off. We didn't get too far into the darker plot when we stopped watching.

Catholicgauze said...

Thanks all!