- Originally to be directed by Sidney Franklin (I), but replaced by W.S. Van Dyke.
- This was Irving Thalberg's last project while head of production at MGM. At the time of his death in 1936, the film was in the planning stages, but his widow, Norma Shearer, took special interest in the film and stuck with it to its completion in 1938.
- Irving Thalberg originally planned for Charles Laughton to play the role of Louis XVI. Laughton, after lengthy deliberations, finally declined.
- For the first time, the French government permitted filming at the Palace of Versailles for a motion picture.
- MGM's creation of the Palace of Versailles was twice as large as the original.
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