William Dieterle had full charge as director for about a week because of a breach-of-contract suit filed against Max Reinhardt by a French film company. The judge found in favor of Reinhardt, and lifted the restraining order.
Olivia de Havilland was cast in the film after successfully playing Hermia in the Hollywood Bowl production.
Mickey Rooney broke his leg during filming, and was wheeled around behind bushes on a bicycle during filming.
Mickey Rooney is usually thought to have been eleven when he made this film. He was actually 14 during filming.
James Cagney's daughter, Cathleen Cagney, has said when she was a child and saw this movie, she was so upset by the scene where her father is turned into a donkey, that they had to bring James out to calm her down.
Composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold was personally chosen by director Max Reinhardt. Both agreed in an early production stage to use the original incidental music written by Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy as the film's soundtrack. (Reinhardt did a stage production of the play before and used Mendelssohn's music.) As the film runs over two hours it was obvious that Mendelssohn's composition would be too short. Instead of just repeating several musical cues to fit the film's final length Korngold adapted the incidental music and parts of some other compositions by Mendelssohn, re-orchestrated them for a larger orchestra and choir (most notably heard in his Wedding March version at the end) and composed some short musical bridges by himself. Thus he created a complete symphonic score for the movie based on Mendelssohn's music. However, he chose to remain uncredited as a composer and insisted on giving full musical credit to Mendelssohn.
Film debut of Olivia de Havilland, although it was released after her next two films, Alibi Ike and The Irish in Us.
None of Ernest Haller's photography is in the finished film; he was fired and replaced by Hal Mohr, who re-did everything that Haller had shot.
The first Shakespeare adaptation to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.
The first stage production of this play was in London, about in 1595.
The movie was banned in Germany by the Nazi government because Max Reinhardt and Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy were Jews and considered undesirable.
When the forest that Max Reinhardt designed could not be lit properly, cinematographer Hal Mohr thinned the trees slightly, sprayed them with aluminum paint and covered them with cobwebs and tiny metal particles to reflect the light. As a result, he became the first (and only) write-in winner of an Academy Award.