The book that Laughton begins reading to his students at the end of the movie is "The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen" (French: Déclaration des droits de l'Homme et du Citoyen), a fundamental document of the French Revolution.
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The singing of "Die Lorelei" by the German soldiers was a subtle dig at the anti-semitic regime of the Nazis, since the words were written by banned Jewish poet Heinrich Heine. Many of his books, considered "un-German," were burned in the book-burning episode at Opernplatz, Berlin, Germany, on 10 May 1933. However, his works were so popular that they were still published, but "author unknown" was the listed writer. In his 1821 play "Almansor," Heine also prophetically wrote "Dort, wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen." ("Where they burned books, they will in the end in burn people.")
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Henry Roquemore is in casting call lists playing a butcher, but was not seen in the film. The jury foreman, George M. Carleton, is said to be the town butcher by Charles Laughton when he addresses the jury.
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"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on April 24, 1944 with Charles Laughton and Maureen O'Hara reprising their film roles.
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The film opened simultaneously at 72 theaters in 50 key cities on 7 May 1943, setting a box office record for gross receipts on an opening day. Opening day ceremonies were broadcast on a radio station in Cincinnati, Ohio.
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Walter Slezak ran into Charles Laughton on a train in Chicago where Slezak gave Laughton a copy of a script. Laughton stayed up all night reading it.
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Director Jean Renoir always had Charles Laughton in mind for the lead role.
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It was originally titled The Children.
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This film's earliest documented telecast took place in New York City Monday 14 May 1956 on WOR (Channel 9); it immediately became a popular favorite among home viewers as it first aired in Memphis Thursday 24 May 1956 on WHBQ (Channel 13), in Salt Lake City Friday 8 June 1956 on KUTV (Channel 2), in Altoona Wednesday 4 July 1956 on WFBG (Channel 10), in San Francisco Saturday 4 August 1956 on KPIX (Channel 5), in Los Angeles Tuesday 14 August 1956 on KHJ (Channel 9), in both Philadelphia and Dayton Saturday 17 November 1956 on WFIL (Channel 6) and on WLW-D (Channel 2), in Pittsburgh Monday 19 November 1956 on KDKA (Channel 2), in New Haven Sunday 25 November 1956 on WNHC (Channel 8), in Chicago Saturday 8 December 1956 on WBKB (Channel 7), and in Cincinnati Friday 4 January 1957 on WLW-T (Channel 5).
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