The Trapp family

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Original title The Trapp family
Country of production FRG
original language German
Publishing year 1956
length 106 minutes
Age rating FSK 6
Director Wolfgang Liebeneiner
script George Hurdalek ,
Herbert Reinecker ,
Maria von Trapp
production Use Kubaschewski
music Franz Grothe
camera Werner Krien
cut Margot von Schlieffen

The Trapp family is one of the most successful German homeland films of the 1950s . The true story of the Trapp family was freely filmed in 1956 under the direction of Wolfgang Liebeneiner . The model was primarily based on the hugely successful memories of Maria Augusta Trapp , The Trapp Family. From monastery to global success (Original title: The Story of the Trapp Family Singers) .


The novice Maria teaches German in the monastery school of the Nonnberg Abbey in Salzburg, but has some difficulties with the strict discipline of the facility. Sometimes she is late and likes to use the wide railing instead of the stairs to slide. When she was summoned abbess from her class one morning, her concerns are therefore not unfounded that she might be expelled from the monastery. And in fact she is supposed to leave the facility, albeit on a Christian mission and with the option of returning: The widowed Baron Georg Ludwig von Trapp , a highly decorated Austrian submarine commander of the First World War, had problems with the upbringing of his seven children the abbess, and is now assigned to Mary. This is initially shaken by the military drill-borne behavior of the two boys and five girls; they are commanded with shrill whistles , wear white sailor uniforms instead of casual clothing and have to hold hands even when strolling in the park. The reception by the baron himself was relatively brittle, although the new governess finally made it possible for him to visit the princess Yvonne, who was envisaged for the new marriage.

Maria uses the time of absence, watched suspiciously by the staff with servant Franz at the helm, to make the first changes: In addition to new things to play with, this also applies to the permission for the boys to enter the girls' room for the first time for the purpose of making music together. The father, who was alerted by telephone by a baroness who also belonged to the household, plans the immediate dismissal of Maria on his hasty return, but is then overwhelmed by the singing of his offspring and shows himself to be understanding of the criticism made. At the following Christmas party even a slight affection sprouts between the two, and when Yvonne returns the visit, the banker Rudi Gruber, who is a close friend of the baron, advises "to hide the little nun a bit". Of course, this is just as unsuccessful as the female guest might miss the fact that Maria throws the master of the house amorous looks. When Yvonne even addresses this openly, Maria wants to flee back to the monastery, but is held back by von Trapp, who now shows feelings for the first time and gives the young woman the choice between a marriage with him or her love for God. After an open conversation with the abbess, Maria agrees to the marriage proposal, and a little later she is the new Baroness von Trapp.

The social upheavals of the 1930s did not stop at Salzburg either: Gruber, with whom Baron von Trapp only had small savings (the greater fortune was stored in English banks), informed him about the imminent collapse of his financial institution during a visit, because first the global economic crisis and then the economic measures of the Nazi regime have badly damaged the Alpine republic. Instead of withdrawing his remaining shillings, Georg decides to help his friend and transfers his foreign money to the local bank. At the same time as Gruber, the respected music teacher Dr. Wasner past the Trapps; Actually only expecting a donation for a new organ, he was surprised and impressed by the house music, but at the same time urged several improvements to the singing. Maria can persuade him to cooperate, which starts immediately and with due severity. A little later, a newspaper reported Gruber's suicide, with which the Trapps also lost their fortune.

Maria helps her downcast husband with her irrepressible optimism and the idea of ​​converting the castle into a hotel; after initial resistance, Georg agrees. When the two boys, Rupert and Werner, while running errands in the city, come across a poster that advertises a singing competition for the prize of the State of Salzburg in the hall of the Kurhaus, they spontaneously register their family choir because, despite numerous concerns, they for it hold a good hotel advertisement. On the day of the event, a number of inhibitions had to be overcome and the father's ranting tirades had to be endured, but then the Trapp family not only convinced the jury, but even the Chancellor , who was listening on the radio , who spontaneously invited the winning choir to a state reception. However, this does not happen, because when the evening dress ordered by Maria is delivered, the foreign hotel guests are in a spirit of optimism because the radio announces the annexation of Austria to Hitler's Germany. Although patriotic, but - in contrast to his servant Franz - by no means Nazi-minded Georg refuses to raise a swastika flag to the local group leader of the NSDAP who soon appears. This completes the trouble with the new rulers.

Again Maria has the saving suggestion: After the singing competition, an American music agent named Joe E. Samish contacted her and offered a tour through the States, at the expense of "all costs". Again, Georg only resisted briefly - the alternatives are also very bad. Against his conviction, Franz grants the family of 10 (shortly after the marriage another son was born to the couple) to escape from the approaching police. On arrival in New York, however, there is nothing left of Samish's promises; the family is stuck with Wasner on Ellis Island because the agent does not answer and Maria made an unwise remark. The head of the authorities could help the clergyman, but he doesn't want to let the Trapps down. A third telegram from the Trapp family to the agent Samish brings him and his boss Petroff at least to speak to the immigration authorities, if only to get the Trapps to be finally rejected. The official is outraged by the somewhat rude nature of the duo and demands that the family report the sad intentions of the family himself. When all strands break and the fate of the return seems sealed, the Trapps, on the advice of an immigration officer, sing the folk song Am Brunnen in front of the gate , and so the hard-hearted music publisher can be softened. He organizes the first appearances, and the extended family seems to have made their fortunes on the new continent.


The film was directed by the production company KG Divina GmbH & Co. produced. The company belonged to Ilse Kubaschewski , who was also the owner of the first distributor Gloria-Film GmbH & Co. Filmverleih KG . The outdoor shots were taken in Salzburg and Murnau .


The form and content of the film corresponded to the longing of the German post-war audience for harmony and perseverance, despite or perhaps because of the destruction of the war. The way in which the baroness takes the fate of the family into her hands and does not do herself a shame to roll up her sleeves and do simple work corresponds to the ideal of the economic miracle . Diligence and courage are simple messages that the director conveys.

In addition to Grün ist die Heide, the Trapp family is repeatedly mentioned as one of the most successful German films ever.

Continuation and other Trapp films

Two years later, Liebeneiner shot a sequel under the title The Trapp Family in America because of the success in the movie theaters . However, the widescreen format used in the first film was not used , which is particularly noticeable when you see scenes from the first film as flashbacks. In addition, contemporary exterior shots from New York in the 1950s were used with the then contemporary shark fin road cruisers in urban traffic, although the plot of the film is still set in the 1930s.

In the USA itself, the story was brought to the stage - somewhat embellished - in the musical The Sound of Music in 1959 ; For years this was very successful throughout the Anglo-American language area. The film adaptation of the musical under the same title (German title: Meine Lieder - Meine Träume ) in 1965, directed by Robert Wise with the main actors Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer , then became a triumph for 20th Century Fox Studios and one of the most commercially successful Films in film history - with the exception of Germany and Austria, where the flick did not compete with the relatively fresh presence of the old film. A 40-part anime series was created in 1991 under the title The Trapp Singing Family (original title: Torappu ikke monogatari) .

A remake of the material as a German-Austrian co-production was released in cinemas on November 12, 2015 under the title The Trapp Family - A Life for Music .


“Played by Ruth Leuwerik with a lot of believable feeling and not without charm. Very attractive as undemanding entertainment for the family. "

- 6000 films, 1963

"(...) emotional conversation with a dash of sentimentality (rating: 2½ stars = above average)"

- Adolf Heinzlmeier and Berndt Schulz , Lexicon "Films on TV"

The Wiesbaden film evaluation agency awarded the production the title valuable .

Differences between film and reality

In the film, the singing children are in childhood for the entire 13-year period, while they were actually young adults by the time they left for America at the latest (see article Georg Ludwig von Trapp # Children ) . Maria Augusta Kutschera came into the family's household in 1925 as a private tutor for the sick daughter Maria , not as a nanny. In the film she only has one child of her own (Johannes), who is born shortly before emigration. In fact, she gave birth to two daughters in 1929 and 1931, while the son was born in America in 1939. The emigration was not hasty as shown in the film, it was rather carefully planned.

Title baron and baroness

In 1915 Georg Ritter von Trapp was in command of the submarine SM U 5, with which he sank the French armored cruiser Léon Gambetta and the Italian submarine Nereide . For this he received the Knight's Cross of the Maria Theresa Order after the war (resolution of the Order Chapter of April 21, 1924). In the time of the Austrian monarchy until 1918 he would have theoretically had a right to the baron class, which was never granted to him. Regardless of this, he was and is often incorrectly called baron in literature using the baronary salutation .


  • Maria Augusta Trapp : The Trapp Family (Original title: The Story of the Trapp Family Singers) . German by Elisabeth Belnay , unabridged edition, Ullstein, Frankfurt am Main / Berlin 1989, 301 pages, ISBN 3-548-22120-3
  • Maria Augusta Trapp: Yesterday, Today, Everdar (Original title: Yesterday, Today and Forever) . German by Martha Eberherr . Frick, Vienna, Munich and Zurich 1954, 206 pp.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. The singing family Trapp on
  3. 6000 films. Critical notes from the cinema years 1945 to 1958 . Handbook V of the Catholic film criticism, 3rd edition, Verlag Haus Altenberg, Düsseldorf 1963, p. 438
  4. ^ Adolf Heinzlmeier, Berndt Schulz in Lexicon "Films on TV" (extended new edition). Rasch and Röhring, Hamburg 1990, ISBN 3-89136-392-3 , p. 837
  5. 6000 films. Critical notes from the cinema years 1945 to 1958 . Handbook V of the Catholic film criticism, 3rd edition, Verlag Haus Altenberg, Düsseldorf 1963, p. 438
  6. ^ The Trapp family, accessed on April 19, 2019