Henry V

Henry V

As a tribute to his abilities as a director, and uncertain over his own unproved directing abilities, Laurence Olivier originally invited William Wyler, who had directed Olivier in "Wuthering Heights", to direct "Henry V". It was Wyler whom Olivier always credited with teaching him how to give a more subtle performance in films and with giving him more respect for the art of acting in film. Wyler, however, declined, saying, "If it's Shakespeare, it must be you who directs the film".

As he lies dying, the lines that Falstaff speaks aloud and the ones that he hears in his mind are not from "Henry V". They are from Shakespeare's "Henry IV: Part II".

Because wartime rationing made supplies of metal scarce, all the chain mail armor in the movie was actually made of handknitted grey wool.

Due to privations brought about by the war, most of the costumes and weaponry were made from clothing scraps and with wood painted silver.

Due to the absence of trained stunt men, Olivier had to do his own stunts as well as showing almost every Irish extra how to do their stunts (this resulted in him suffering many injuries including fractured shoulders).

Filmed with a budget of $2 million, making it the most expensive British production at the time.

Final film of Roy Emerton.

John Gielgud asked Olivier to cast him as the Chorus in the film but Olivier declined, offering him the lesser role of the King of France instead. Gielgud turned down the offer.

Laurence Oliver's wife Vivian Leigh very much wanted to play Katherine, but David O. Selznick would not let her out of her contract, feeling that the role was much too small for a actress of her cachet. Leigh never forgave Selznick for that and never worked for him again.

Laurence Olivier was 37 when he tackled this challenging production.

Many of the 'casts of thousands' extras were servicemen, and it is said that you can tell the American servicemen as they wear their helmets at a jaunty angle.

Many of the sets used for scenes in France (not including the battle scenes) are based on medieval illustrated texts such as the "Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry". The producers attempted to recreate the flawed perspectives and stylised architecture, leading to a distinctly unrealistic look to the sets.

Movie with the longest title to ever receive an Oscar-nomination.

Olivier agreed not to appear in a film for 18 months to encourage this one to attract as large an audience as possible and in return was paid £15,000 tax-free, about £460,000 in today's money.

Partly intended as a wartime morale-booster for the British. Certain parts of the play were consequently omitted, such as Henry's hanging of a friend as an example of firm justice.

Renee Asherson replaced Vivien Leigh.

The decision to start the film as a stage production was made to help audiences attune to the Shakespearean dialog.

The filming of a battle scene was stopped in order for the company to watch while overhead a group of British fighters attacked a formation of German bombers on their way to bomb London. When the real battle passed out of sight, the movie battle resumed filming.

The first Technicolor film ever made of a Shakespeare play.

The French royalty depicted here was supposed to reflect the attitude towards the Nazis at the time - arrogant, uncivilized and rude.