1. Hamlet was the first British film to win both the Academy Award for best picture and the Venice Film Festival Golden Lion Award for best pictureTomorrow? Henry V.
2. Laurence Olivier became the first person ever to direct themselves to a best actor or actress Oscar
3. Hamlet cost $2 million to make; this was a very expensive production in its day
4. Laurence Olivier was 41 when Hamlet was released. Eileen Herlie who played Hamlet’s mother Gertrude, was 28
5. According to a book written in 1948, many actresses refused the role of Hamlet’s mother because of age concerns
6. Desmond Dickenson had a very maneuverable Camera Dolly specially made for this film.
7. Christopher Lee, Patrick Macnee and Jean Simmons are the only surviving cast members of the film
8. This is the first of many films that Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee would do together. Their later roles included The Curse of Frankenstein where Peter Cushing played Dr. Frankenstein and Lee was the Monster and Dracula, Lee played Dracula and Cushing played Van Helsing on three occasions
9. Shakespearean purist Ethel Barrymore criticized Olivier’s version of Hamlet. Complaining that it wasn’t as faithful as the stage version produced on Broadway in 1922, in which her brother John Barrymore played Hamlet. Ethel Barrymore was later to present Laurence Olivier with the Best Picture Oscar at the Academy Awards and was visibly shaken when she read out Olivier’s name as the winner
10. This was the first talkie film of Hamlet in English
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Along with the prizes, ITV DVD have sent ten interesting facts about the release of Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet ...