The 10 square block set that represents Jerusalem is a historically accurate one.
Stephen Boyd wore lifts in his shoes to make his height more on a par with Charlton Heston's.
Of the 3 Academy Awards that Miklós Rózsa won, he cherished the one he won for Ben-Hur (1959) the most, because of the score's size, intricacy, emotional content, and its being a distillation of his more than twenty years' experience scoring films.
According to Gore Vidal's interview in The Celluloid Closet (1995), Ben-Hur and Messala were former lovers so Messala betrayed Ben-Hur because their relationship ended. According to Vidal, this information was hidden from Charlton Heston because it was felt that he could not handle it. After Vidal's interview, Heston vehemently denied that Ben-Hur was homosexual but Vidal reiterated his claim.
15,000 extras were used in the chariot race scene.
Gore Vidal was uncredited as a screenwriter, although producer Sam Zimbalist promised he and Christopher Fry, who worked on the script independently from Vidal and was on-set with William Wyler all during shooting, a screen credit. Karl Tunberg, who wrote the original screenplay that had been very much rewritten into a shooting script by Vidal and Fry, claimed the credit. Zimbalist died before the movie ended, and thus could not testify at the guild arbitration hearing. Tunberg won the credit, but failed to win the Oscar. The film had been nominated for 12 Oscars, and won a record 11 (since tied). The movie's sole loss was for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, and usually is attributed to the fallout from the credit dispute, which Vidal made widely known. |