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HE ALWAYS refused to refer to his most famous film by its real title. To Christopher Plummer, it was The Sound of Mucus, or S&M – a sly reference to sado-masochism.

Devoting a brief chapter of his 600-page autobiography to the perennial favourite – it won five Oscars in 1966, none of which was for him – he opened with a quote: “Watching The Sound of Music is like being beaten to death by a Hallmark card.”

The actor, who recently died aged 91, played Captain Von Trapp, the widowed father of seven children, who hires a former nun to be their governess and falls in love with her.

Julie Andrews had the starring role as Maria and, though he was loath to admit it, Christopher felt intimidated.

Yes, he was a supremely gifted, spectacularly wilful actor, utterly confident of his own brilliance. But Julie was the beloved heroine of Mary Poppins, the woman with the voice of an angel who had triumphed on Broadway and the West End in My Fair Lady too.

Christopher, on the other hand, couldn’t carry a tune in an Alpine

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