12 People Who Totally Broke The Law To Make Great Movies
10. Michael Curtiz Murdered Actors For Noah's Ark
Before making the beloved classic Casablanca, Michael Curtiz was already making a name for himself as a great film-maker: not only was he the studios' best friend by delivering under budget, he was also incredibly prolific. That's unsurprising when you look back though, because the director was stunningly casual about cutting corners and costs by having a worryingly fast and loose view on the value of human life.
For the film's climactic flood scene, Curtiz had grand ideas - so grand that a young John Wayne was attracted to playing an extra - and wanted to shoot as authentically as possible, ignoring calls to use miniatures rather than real life humans and animals, and thus avoiding things as inconvenient to everyone as death. Cameraman Hal Mohr strongly protested and said that the extras wouldn't know what to expect and would be in serious danger, to which Curtiz rolled his eyes and basically shrugged off the concerns, prompting Mohr to quit.
He was right to complain: the massive scene led to three extras dying, another losing a limb and almost a dozen suffering broken limbs and other injuries. Thanks to the lack of a union - and apparently any police who actually cared - Curtiz escaped any sort of blame.