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Why didn't Mary Martin get the role of Maria over Julie Andrews for the film version of THE SOUND OF MUSIC?

Jungle Red
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joined:8/13/12
Discuss.
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MattDe
Understudy
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CarlosAlberto
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/10
(a) Mary Martin was not a box office draw

(b) Mary Martin was already too old for the role when she did the original show, but in theater you can get away with that kind of casting, and besides she was a theater legend. In films with a Todd A-O camera being pointed at you and your image then being blown up on a 70mm movie screen you cannot.

(c) Repeat (a) and (b). Rinse. Repeat.
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TheGirlUpstairs
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hushpuppy
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joined:11/13/04
Well, the obvious answer was that she was too old for the part. Born in 1917, Martin was 47 in 1964. That's rather, um, mature, for a young postulant.

But one must also consider that, as big a star as she was on Broadway, Mary Martin was just not a big name in Hollywood. The last movie appearance she made was a cameo in MAIN STREET TO BROADWAY in 1953, and was more or less unknown to most of American moviegoers. The film's first director, William Wyler, had seen Julie Andrews on stage in MY FAIR LADY and thought she would be good in the part of Maria. He went to Walt Disney and asked to see the daily rushes from MARY POPPINS, which impressed him enough to sign Andrews for the movie version of THE SOUND OF MUSIC. It was a smart move, MARY POPPINS beacme a huge hit, no doubt helping pre-sell THE SOUND OF MUSIC to millions of families (mine included).

Lastly, listen to Mary Martin's voice. She has a pleasant, chirpy way of singing, but in no way comparable to Julie Andres soaring 4-octave soprano. Just compare their respective renditions of 'Do-Re-Mi'. Andrews' version ends on a exhilarating high note, while Martin's just sort of peters out. It may have been great on stage, but it wouldn't have impressed anyone sitting in the movie theatre.
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bobs3
Broadway Legend
joined:4/8/12
Mary Martin was born December 1, 1913 (not 1917) which would have made her 51 when the movie was filmed in 1964 (released in 1965). If she had been born in 1917, then she would have been 13 years old when her son Larry Hagman was born in September 1931. Even by small town Texas standards that would be creepy.

At age 51, those film close-ups would have been devastating (if you think they used a lot of soft focus on Lucille Ball in MAME, you can imagine what Mary Martin would have looked like).

Updated On: 11/20/12 at 08:58 AM
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JoeKv99
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joined:12/27/04
The real question is why didn't Julia Andrews play Eliza Doolittle in the film version of My fair lady.
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Jon
Broadway Legend
joined:2/20/04
Audrey Hepburn was cast baxcause the studio wanted a MOVIE star. They also wanted Cary Grant as Higgins and Jimmy Cagney as Doolittle.
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henrikegerman
Broadway Legend
joined:4/29/05
Actually she was born in 1913, a 51 year old novice starting out in life would have been, to say the least, a stretch. And who would they have gotten as Georg, Spencer Tracy?

Andrews was a big up and coming star, notoriously passed over for My Fair Lady she was soon to be oscar winner Mary Poppins.
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BrodyFosse123
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joined:2/27/06
Julie Andrews was a hot ticket in Hollywood coming straight off her Academey Award winning performance in Walt Disney's MARY POPPINS. THE SOUND OF MUSIC was another case of something happening at the right time and a person literally being born to play a role. Everything was in the cards for the film adaptation of THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Everything.
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iflip4musicals
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joined:11/30/06
All of the above, but Mary Poppins hadn't come out when casting/filming was happening for Sound of Music.
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Mamie
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I only saw Mary Martin once on stage but she was absolute magic when performing live. She could grab an audience and make you feel like you were her best friend and just about everyone who saw her just loved her. Unfortunately that magic never came through the camera. Even if age hadn't been a factor, I just don't think the movie would have been half as wonderful with her in it instead of Julie Andrews.
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South Fl Marc
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Don't weep for Mary Martin. She brought the property to Rodgers and Hammerstein so she owned a percentage. She made more money from the movie "The Sound of Music" than she did for any show she was in.
Now living in DC. I really have to change my name on the board.
bobs3
Broadway Legend
joined:4/8/12
"Don't weep for Mary Martin. She brought the property to Rodgers and Hammerstein so she owned a percentage. She made more money from the movie "The Sound of Music" than she did for any show she was in."

True, she and her husband (the co-producer of THE SOUND OF THE MUSIC") owned part of the show and they got a percentage of the profits from the film. When she was guest on The Mike Douglas Show in 1970s, she told him that they made over $8 million from the film. Julie Andrews was paid a flat rate of $250 thousand.
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frontrowcentre2
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joined:2/20/05
Not only did she get a cut of the film profits but also a percentage of the film soundtrack album sales! (This is noted in the recent book about Mary... She and her husband had to sue Rodgers and Hammerstein to get their share but they eventually did.)

Cast albums are NOT "soundtracks."
Live theatre does not use a "soundtrack." If it did, it wouldn't be live theatre!

I host a weekly one-hour radio program featuring cast album selections as well as songs by cabaret, jazz and theatre artists. The program, FRONT ROW CENTRE is heard Sundays 9 to 10 am and also Saturdays from 8 to 9 am (eastern times) on www.proudfm.com

luvbrdway
Stand-by
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OMG I love that movie. I could watch the opening scene and credits for breakfast every morning.

Julie would have been wonderful in the movie version of My Fair Lady, but then she wouldn't have been in Mary Poppins. She would have been a fabulous Gueneviere (sp?) in the movie Camelot. Can't watch that movie without rolling my eyes at Vanessa Redgrave.
degrassifan
Broadway Legend
joined:1/23/08
Mary Martin was too old. She was never even an option.

Julie Andrews was the top contender. Wise, Chaplin, and Lehman knew of her from the stage, but there were rumors that Julie wasn't photogenic. Therefore, Wise and co went to the Disney lot and saw rushes of the yet unreleased Mary Poppins, and they loved what they saw. Julie was officially cast 8 months before Mary Poppins premiered.

Actually, I heard that she could have done Mary Poppins if she did My Fair Lady, but she wouldn't have been able to do "The Americanization of Emily."





Updated On: 11/20/12 at 05:31 PM
bobs3
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joined:4/8/12
"Julie would have been wonderful in the movie version of My Fair Lady, but then she wouldn't have been in Mary Poppins. She would have been a fabulous Gueneviere (sp?) in the movie Camelot. Can't watch that movie without rolling my eyes at Vanessa Redgrave."

I disagree. Vanessa Redgrave is the best thing about that otherwise miscast and poorly directed, overblown film. It is one of those cases where less could have been more. After the travesty of "South Pacific", I don't know why anyone would have hired Joshua Logan to direct a film again (and to think he followed "Camelot" with the even more atrocious "Paint Your Wagon").

C'mon -- Los Angeles National Forest doubling for the English countryside and Renaissance style costumes in the 5th Century. Richard Harris could sing but he couldn't act the role, Franco Nero is a very handsome piece of wood with his phonetically spoken English with an Italian accent trying to do a faux French accent, David Hemmings probably could have been good but they cut his big and only song "The Seven Deadly Virtues" from the film.
Updated On: 11/21/12 at 05:36 PM
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CarlosAlberto
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joined:6/29/10
I love how in the film of CAMELOT the "Lusty Month of May" sequence resembles a hippie love-in in the park. Every one has flowers in their long, flowing hair, running around barefoot...

Updated On: 11/20/12 at 08:31 PM
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Auggie27
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Agreed. Watching CAMELOT today, Redgrave is the best thing in it. She damn near holds it together, excess be damned. She's neither sentimental nor cloyingly wide-eyed (which Andrews might've been, and don't scream, I'm a fan). Redgrave's performance makes the entire bloated enterprise feel, well, adult. In particular, the 2nd act material is immediate and .... grown up. Logan made many mistakes, including a bizarre use of badly lit close-ups that highlight dental work. Yet even those flaws manage to make Redgrave's work accessible. I would argue it's an under-appreciated film performance.

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bobs3
Broadway Legend
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It is worth the price of the DVD to see Vanessa Redgrave perform "Take Me to the Fair" with the twinkle in her eyes as she sets her plan in motion.

Also, "Guenevere" where she does not say or sing a word. Her eyes do all of the brilliant acting.
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allofmylife
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I saw the original "Camelot" as a child and from my misty memories, I can tell you Julie Andrews was a STAR, not a dewy-eyed kid, in any scene of the show. Watch the Sullivan footage to see for yourself. She had starred in the most successful show on Broadway to that time and was being paid a fortune to co-star with Burton. She would have been amazing in the movie version, but sadly, her two best roles onstage were given to two non-singers who, for me, made both films pretty much unwatchable.

BTW, those are my family's three WORLD PREMIERE programs.





http://www.broadwayworld.com/board/readmessage.cfm?thread=972787#3631451 http://www.broadwayworld.com/board/readmessage.cfm?thread=963561#3533883 http://www.broadwayworld.com/board/readmessage.cfm?thread=955158#3440952 http://www.broadwayworld.com/board/readmessage.cfm?thread=954269#3427915 http://www.broadwayworld.com/board/readmessage.cfm?thread=955012#3441622 http://www.broadwayworld.com/board/readmessage.cfm?thread=954344#3428699
Updated On: 11/21/12 at 04:20 AM
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allofmylife
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Excuze-moi. Le post double.
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Updated On: 11/21/12 at 04:21 AM
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CarlosAlberto
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allofmylife, did you see the Canadian run of the show? Were Richard Burton, Julie Andrews and Robert Goulet in the Canadian run of the show? The flyer behind the programs is an advert for the O'Keefe Center of the Performing Arts. CAMELOT must have been the first musical performed there, the Center opened in October of 1960.

Updated On: 11/21/12 at 06:11 AM
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best12bars
Broadway Legend
joined:6/29/05
According to Wikipedia, Camelot's out-of-town tryout was indeed at the O'Keefe Center in Toronto. It was also over four hours long!


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bobs3
Broadway Legend
joined:4/8/12
Didn't Richard Burton exercise an out-clause in his contract and leave the show to go to Rome to film a movie? According to legend some very interesting and scandalous events (for the time) happened on the set of that film. Anyone remember the name of the movie?

Before you get your panties in a bunch -- it's sarcasm, Sheldon.

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