2. The Director of Casablanca Possibly Killed Several Extras
Back in the days before unions, safety regulations, and watchdog agencies, actors really had to take their chances with the films they signed on for.
The stunts were real, and the special effects were nonexistent.
This was why prolific director Michael Curtiz of “Casablanca” fame decided he had to go for broke when he was directing his biblical epic “Noah’s Ark”. The result was downright chilling.
The script called for a scene where a crowd was washed away by the huge floodwaters at the base of the titular arc.
The cinematographer insisted that using miniatures would have looked just as realistic but Curtiz would have none of it. He assembled his extras and began dumping gallons of frigid water upon them until the studio was flooded.
The extras were not informed of this beforehand, and had no floatation devices and were wearing heavy costumes. They were forced to stay in the water for hours while Curtiz filmed.
According to a stuntman who witnessed the whole thing, three extras actually drowned but no charges were ever filed. We’ll never know for sure. Early Hollywood was good at keeping these kinds of things out of the public eye.