20+ Curious Facts About the Most Iconic Movies of All Times Not Even True Movie Experts May Know

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Some movies keep standing the test of time no matter what generation watches them. These outstanding examples of a particular style and incredible filmmaking craft may thrill anybody. And the iconic characters make us fall head-over-heels for them over and over again.

We at Bright Side have selected five classic movies that have stolen the hearts of millions of viewers around the globe and continue to shape cinema as we know it today.

  • At first, according to Monroe’s contract, the film was supposed to be shot in color. But then she saw Curtis and Lemmon’s makeup give them a “ghoulish” appearance on color film, and finally agreed to it being filmed in black and white.
  • The movie was produced without approval from the Motion Picture Production Code. This so-called Hays Code restricted directors from featuring any cross-dressing and playing with the idea of homosexuality. The overwhelming success of the movie is considered one of the final nails in the Hays Code coffin.
  • A male cabaret dancer tried to teach Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon to walk in heels. It took Lemmon only a week to decline this help, saying “he didn’t want to walk like a woman, but like a man trying to walk like a woman.”
  • George Raft spent hours teaching Jack Lemmon how to tango.
  • Marilyn Monroe didn’t want to play Sugar, saying, “I don’t want to play someone who can’t tell Daphne and Josephine are really men dressed in drag.”
  • The closing line, “Well, nobody’s perfect!” was never intended to make the final film. They didn’t even expect it to become so famous.
  • Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon had to stand around in painful high heels all the time Monroe tried to get her lines right. As one would expect, they kicked off their shoes and started to soak their painful feet immediately after they heard the precious word “Cut.”
  • Lemmon and Curtis were supposed to select some dresses from the costume department. But they refused, claiming if men were about to choose their clothes, they wanted to look just as glamorous as Marilyn Monroe. So they asked their dressed done by the same designer.
  • The studio initially didn’t want Marlon Brando as Don Corleone, considering him to be too toxic. But then they saw his legendary screen test.
    Brando suggested that his character should be hoarse and look more like a bulldog. So he stuffed his mouth with Kleenex and smeared shoe polish in his hair. Then he started acting without saying a word. The studio changed their mind and gave the role to Brando right away.
  • Because of that Kleenex stuffed for the screen test, many people believe Brando was doing the same during the whole shooting. Actually, for the movie, a dentist made a special mouthpiece that helped to give the same effect of protruding cheek jowls.
  • During his whole career, Marlon Brando didn’t memorize his lines and rather used cue cards. He felt like they increased his spontaneity. His lines were printed and placed either on walls or held by someone in the crew or some of the actors.
  • It is known that Francis Coppola could change the script and add lines while working on a film. This time he liked some scenes where actors flubbed some lines nervously and used them in the final cut.
  • In the movie, Gable’s character was told that Scarlett has miscarried. The news was supposed to bring him to tears, but Gable didn’t want to shoot crying at any cost and even threatened to quit the movie. After all, they shot two versions: one with crying, one with a back turned in heavy sorrow. Then, Gable was convinced that the first version would only endear him to the audience, not ruin his image.
  • Vivien Leigh worked for a total of 125 days and received $25,000 for her work. While Clark Gable worked almost half the amount of days less but earned over four times more. Equal pay was not a thing in those days.
  • The Hollywood Production Code didn’t allow any curses or swearing in the movies. A legend has it that David O. Selznick had to pay a $5,000 fine for using the inappropriate word in Rhett’s closing line. But in reality, they were allowed to use it as a quotation from a literary work.
  • The movie was shot in an actual hospital ward, and many of the film’s extras were real patients. So one day a crew member accidentally left a window open. A patient saw it, climbed through the bars, and almost got away. The next day, a local journal reported the incident with the front-page headline “One flew OUT of the cuckoo’s nest”.
  • All of the actors who played patients lived in the hospital psychiatric ward throughout the whole production just to get a sense of what it was to be hospitalized. From time to time, they even interacted with real psychiatric patients.
  • Director Milos Forman also liked improvisation and shot actors’ reactions very often. He did it even when actors’ had very little dialogue in scenes, and then added it to the final cut. The shot where Louise Fletcher looked icily at McMurphy after he returned from the shock therapy was a genuine-irritated reaction to a piece of Forman’s direction.
  • Doctor Dean R. Brooks was a real superintendent of the hospital. So he plays himself in the movie. Most of the first McMurphy scenes when he just arrived at the hospital were pure improvisation, including the conversation at Brook’s office. Since the doctor wasn’t an actor himself, all his reactions were basically authentic.
  • Milos Forman hesitated to give the role of Nurse Ratched to ’angelic’ Louise Fletcher for a long time. But then he realized that it is better to give people a quick read of a secondary character by choosing some obvious physical type, but keep the audience more engaged to discover a completely different personality under the obvious type. This way, many will be really surprised by a deeper and totally unexpected knowledge of the character.
  • Frank Morgan actually played five different characters in the movie: Professor Marvel, The Wizard of Oz himself, Gatekeeper, Carriage Driver, and the Guard.
  • Buddy Ebsen was cast as the original Tin Man but unfortunately, they used aluminum dust as a part of his makeup. The actor had a terrible reaction to it and had to be hospitalized for weeks. The later makeup was replaced with a much safer aluminum paste. It turns out a new actor, Jack Haley, was much luckier in this case.
  • The studio has cut some of the most frightening scenes with Margaret Hamilton’s playing the witch. They worried those would frighten children too much. Hamilton said that was her biggest fear too, and she thought children would get the wrong idea of who she really was. In fact, the actress loved and cared deeply about children, giving to charitable organizations frequently.
  • The film canine star, Toto, was paid more than munchkins. He got $125 a week, while the latter got only $50.

What other classic movies do you like watching? What other movies have you put on your “favorites of all time” list and do you never cease to admire?

Preview photo credit Capital Pictures / EAST NEWS


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Two films mostly unknown.
1 A woman under the influence by John Cassavete.

2 A short film Expectations by Mark J. Meoli.


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