The camera is always moving (if only slightly) in every shot as requested by producer and director Robert Altman.
Downton Abbey (2010), written and created by Julian Fellowes, was originally planned as a spin-off of this movie, but instead was developed as a stand-alone property inspired by the movie, set several decades earlier.
In the DVD commentary, producer and director Robert Altman stated he included the "f" word several times on purpose to get an R-rating because he didn't want kids to see this movie. He thought kids wouldn't like the movie, so he wanted to keep them out (especially fourteen-year-old boys).
None of the actors and actresses who played servants wore any movie make-up, although they did wear conventional make-up like lipstick.
The jewelry worn by the upstairs ladies in the movie was all authentic, and had to be escorted in by armed guards each day.
The wallpaper in Constance Trentham's bedroom was hand-painted, imported from France. Even for this small set, it would have cost the filmmakers $18,000. However, the manufacturer donated it to the production. Even so, the owners of the house demanded that the walls were re-papered to their liking (to match their bedding) after the production was over.
In the documentary Altman (2014), it is stated that Robert Altman was unable to fund this movie, even with most major stars not being paid and lining up to work with him. Eventually, he said he won the lottery when the British Lottery funded this movie.
There is no animal rights tag in the closing credits of this movie. The shooting scene was filmed with real birds, and they were shot.
By her own admission, Dame Kristin Scott Thomas was famously difficult on-set while working on this movie. In an interview with a British newspaper in 2005, she said that "when I did Gosford Park with Robert Altman, apparently I was a complete nightmare. I was very imperious, and completely foul and horrible, and I had no idea I was doing it at all. Actually, that's not entirely true. I did wonder why people were giving me sideways looks, and there would be this odd hush whenever I walked into a room. The only explanation I could come up with was that I was half in character the whole time. I was playing this woman who was difficult, and so I became difficult. But I did apologize to everyone afterwards."
Robert Altman hired a retired cook, valet, and housekeeper as consultants to coach the actors and actresses working downstairs.
In an attempt to keep the dialogue in scenes feeling more natural, producer and director Robert Altman read the script as little as possible so he wouldn't know the characters' lines. He relied heavily on script supervisors to ensure that all the important beats in scenes were met, consulting with them after each take.
Bob Balaban recommended to Robert Altman that Julian Fellowes write the screenplay. "Altman asked him to try it, and maybe six weeks later, Julian sent the first seventy-five pages. It was clear that he was brilliant, and his knowledge of class society, the workings of it, was encyclopedic. This talented writer, moldering away as a relatively unsuccessful actor. That was a brass ring, and he took it. It's part of the key to his current success, his work ethic. He doesn't procrastinate. He doesn't hide. He works like a demon." (Alex Wichtel, New York Times September 2011)
During group scenes, producer and director Robert Altman had two cameras going at all times, moving about (out of each other's shot, of course). His intention was to prevent the actors and actresses from acting to the camera, but instead to play the scene more naturalistically.
Dame Maggie Smith, Richard E. Grant, and Jeremy Swift appeared in Downton Abbey (2010), which was also written by Julian Fellowes and inspired by this movie. (It was originally intended to be a spin-off set in the same universe, but this was dropped.)
Ivor Novello (Jeremy Northam) was a well-known London matinée idol, singer, and composer who starred in Sir Alfred Hitchcock's The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927). He had a good voice and starred again in the successful "talkie" remake The Phantom Fiend (1932). In this movie, set in November 1932, Countess Constance (Dame Maggie Smith) refers to The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927) as a flop.
When Ivor Novello plays the piano, it is actually Jeremy Northam's brother Christopher Northam who is playing. He is a classically trained pianist.
Many people criticized this film for the obvious mistake of referring to Ivor Novello's film "The Lodger" as a recent film in 1932, and also as a box-office flop. But, in fact, this isn't a mistake, as the real Ivor Novello was in two films called "The Lodger" - not only the silent classic directed by Alfred Hitchcock (The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927)), which was a huge hit in 1927, but a sound remake (also called The Phantom Fiend (1932)), directed by Maurice Elvey and, indeed, released in 1932. That version was, as stated, a huge flop.
There really was a movie called Charlie Chan in London (1934), and it was a mystery set in an English manor house. While it featured Alan Mowbray and Ray Milland, it was produced by John Stone, not Morris Weissman (a fictional character).
Dame Eileen Atkins (Mrs. Croft) was co-creator (with Jean Marsh) of the classic British drama series Upstairs, Downstairs (1971). The movie also features Meg Wynn Owen, who starred in the series from 1973-1975.
Jude Law was originally cast as Henry Denton, but dropped out just before the shoot began and replaced at the very last minute by Ryan Phillippe.
The only Best Picture Oscar nominee of the year to be also nominated for Original Screenplay.
This movie featured seven knighted actors and actresses: Sir Alan Bates, Sir Derek Jacobi, Sir Michael Gambon, Dame Eileen Atkins, Dame Maggie Smith, Dame Helen Mirren, and Dame Kristin Scott Thomas.
Sir Kenneth Branagh was first choice for Inspector Thompson, but had to decline due to a scheduling conflict.
Robert Altman consulted writer Ezna Sands in depth on the idea before commencing with the project, having wanted to employ his doctoring skills on the script. Sands simply said it was as close to perfect as it could possibly be.
Stephen Fry is dressed and moves like Jacques Tati's character Monsieur Hulot. When asked if there was a particular reason for this, producer David Levy replied, "It amused Bob (producer and director Robert Altman)".
Inspector Thompson never gets a chance to introduce himself properly to the guests, although he is more forceful and brusque with servants.
Alan Rickman, Joely Richardson, and Dame Judi Dench were considered for roles in this movie.
Not only Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith and Kelly Macdonald appeared in the Harry Potter films as stated in another Trivia entry, but also Geraldine Somerville who played Lily Potter on occasions.
Dame Maggie Smith plays an aristocrat who looks down on her maid; she played a lady's maid to a snobby aristocrat played by Bette Davis in Death on the Nile (1978). Davis similarly played a deranged governess to an upper class family in The Nanny (1965).
The ensemble cast includes two Oscar winners: Dame Maggie Smith and Dame Helen Mirren; and six Oscar nominees: Clive Owen, Bob Balaban, Sir Alan Bates, Emily Watson, Dame Kristin Scott Thomas, and Richard E. Grant.
Robert Parks mentions that prior to working for Lord Raymond Stockbridge, he served as valet to the Earl of Flintshire. Downton Abbey (2010), also written by Julian Fellowes, featured a character known as the Marquess of Flintshire.
Although this movie takes place in 1932, Ivor Novello is questioned about the failure of The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog (1927), and the actor made eight other movies in that time frame. Ivor Novello's previous movie in the story's chronology was The Phantom Fiend (1932), which was a sound remake of The Lodger.
Wrotham Park, near Potters Bar in Hertfordshire, features as Gosford Park in exterior scenes. Wrotham Park has been used in a number of films and television programmes, including the Lovejoy episode 'The Italian Venus' (1991), and the film Peter's Friends (1992). Gosford Park and Peter's Friends share the following similarities: (i) both feature Stephen Fry, and, (ii) both revolve a group of people gathering together for a weekend at a stately home and the drama that unfolds between them. A further point to bear in mind is that Sophie Thompson appears in Gosford Park, and that Peter's Friends featured her sister Emma Thompson and featured/was directed by her ex-brother in law Kenneth Branagh
Interestingly, in Coventry where Clive Owen comes from there is in fact a school named Gosford Park.
The only movie that year to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, but not at the Critics' Choice Movie Awards.
Theatrical movie debut of Laurence Fox (Rupert Standish). His first scene is as the passenger, speeding up in the open roadster, in the driveway/courtyard, where Mary has just brought a cup of coffee to her (and her mistress', Lady Trentham's) chauffeur.
Tom Hollander and Claudie Blakley played husband and wife in Pride & Prejudice (2005).
Sir Alan Bates, Tom Hollander, and Sir Michael Gambon played King George V. Bates played the role in Bertie and Elizabeth (2002), Hollander in The Lost Prince (2003), and Gambon in The King's Speech (2010).
The opening scenes of Lady Constance' house were shot at Hall Barn, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. Hall Barn has been used in several productions including Treasure Island (1990) - where it was the exterior of Squire Trelawney's house - and also Chariots of Fire (1982) where it was the home of Lord Andrew Lindsay
Although the commentary claims Charlie Chan in London (1934) was Ray Milland's first movie, it was his twenty-third.
Maggie Smith is a longtime friend of fellow actor Judi Dench. In this film, she works with Dench's daughter, Finty Williams. The following Christmas, Dench herself appeared with Smith's son, Toby Stephens, in Die Another Day (2002).
Sir Alan Bates and Sir Derek Jacobi share two roles with each other: Hamlet, and his uncle, Claudius.
Morris Weissman asks if Claudette Colbert is English. Ms. Colbert was born in France and moved to the United States with her family when she was three.
Neither Una Merkel, Claudette Colbert or Clara Bow appeared in Charlie Chan in London (1934), they the three real life actresses mentioned by Morris Weissman as potentially being attached to his movie project.
Besides Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Kelly Macdonald and Geraldine Somerville as listed, another actress that participated in both the Harry Potter series and this movie is Sophie Thompson (as Mafalda Hopkirk in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010)).
Alan Bates, Derek Jacobi and Clive Owen appeared as Claudius in films adapted from or inspired by Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'. Bates played him in Hamlet (1990), Jacobi in Hamlet (1996) and Owen in Ophelia (2018). Adrian Scarborough previously appeared in A Midwinter's Tale (1995), where the plot revolved around a community theatre production of 'Hamlet'.
Both Michael Gambon (William McCordle) & Maggie Smith (Constance Trentham) starred in the "Harry Potter" movie series as Professor Dumbledore & Professor McGonagall respectively. Additionally, Kelly Macdonald (Mary Maceachren) played Helena Ravenclaw in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011).
Robert Altman: [dialogue overlap] Rather than just use a typical boom mike to pick up dialogue, Altman had all of the actors and actresses wear portable microphones to assist in creating overlapping dialogue. He first developed this technique during A Wedding (1978), and used it several times.