The Sound of Music has entertained audiences for decades, but 50 years later, Julie Andrews still can't put her finger on what it is that captures audiences young and old. Andrews and Christopher Plummer walked the red carpet at the TCL Chinese Theater on Thursday afternoon to open the TCM Classic Film Festival with a special tribute to the film.
"I wish I could answer that question," Andrews told reporters on the carpet. "It could be a quality of joy. It could be that it's a family movie. It could be that it's about love, and it's a great adventure, and it's about family. It's just a film that because it can be seen by any generation, every seven years there is a new generation."
Plummer, 85, agreed that the theme of family can stick with any audience.
"It's the primal family movie of all time," said Plummer. "Boyhood is a family movie, but it's not the same thing. This is an extraordinary sort of fairy story, and in a world that is so horrific, you know what's going on now, and it's inconceivable. It's the last bastion of peace and innocence in a very cynical time."
Although Plummer addressed the films popularity, he's long felt he didn't perform his role on par with Andrews. In a 2011 Hollywood Reporter actor roundtable, he called his role "awful" and "gooey."
Ironically, Plummer told producer Sid Ganis (TCM host Robert Osbourne was absent due to medical reasons) that he was offered an opportunity to play the captain in the original Broadway production of The Sound of Music. He expressed that he's always preferred theater, but film happens to pay a lot more.
"If you see it, you'll see that I'm running around not knowing what I'm doing," said Plummer of the film.
Andrews, however, believed Plummer's take on the role of Captain Von Trapp provided originality that would have changed the film completely had he performed in a different way.
"You made it less saccharine," Andrews told Plummer. "You made it have astringency because of the way you played the captain. Without that, we would have been sunk, I think. I really mean that."
"I did that on purpose because I wanted to," Plummer responded. "I didn't want to be a sissy."
Their playful banter during their Q&A session onstage entertained audiences and showed how they still have remained friends. Andrews said she and Plummer still talk to this day.
"She is a great, wonderful old-fashioned saint," Plummer said of Andrews. "You would follow her as much as you would Joan of Arc."
The scenery, shot on location in Austria, was a treat to the movie itself, as it featured picturesque views of snowy mountain peaks and the town of Salzburg. Andrews noted that although the setting was almost perfect, there were small details in the background that audiences should look for when they watch the film again for the "umpteenth time."
"When you see the movie, notice the strength of the background because it made a difference," said Andrews. "It wasn't just a picture postcard all the time."
Andrews gave a special shout out to both her children and three of her onscreen Von Trapp children who were also present: Debbie Turner (Marta Von Trapp), Heather Menzies-Urich (Louisa Von Trapp), and Kym Karath (Gretl Von Trapp).
Robert Morse, Shirley Jones, Keith Carradine, Leonard Maltin and Christine Ebersole were among the many film and theater stars who came out to support the timeless classic. Following the screening, guests mingled over cocktails at the W Hollywood rooftop for the postscreening bash.
The 2015 TCM Film Festival takes place March 26-29 throughout Hollywood, featuring special appearances by Dustin Hoffman, Spike Lee, Alec Baldwin and more.