When tossing the chess pieces to the floor Laurence Olivier cuts the palm of his hand very badly. You can see him look down at his hand, put his handkerchief in his palm, and put his hand in his jacket pocket. He then finishes the scene.
Michael Caine was so very much beside himself to be working with Laurence Olivier, that he didn't even know how to address him. Eventually, he broke down and just asked. Olivier replied, "Well I am the Lord Olivier and you are Mr. Michael Caine. Of course that's only for the first time you address me. After that I am Larry and you are Mike."
The line "you're just a jumped-up pantry boy who doesn't know his place" is repeated almost verbatim in the song "This Charming Man" by The Smiths, 1982. Lyricist and singer Morrissey has always been fascinated by English pop culture and class issues, and several working-class English actors of the 1960s (including Terence Stamp, Rita Tushingham and Diana Dors) appear in the role of "cover star" on The Smiths' albums.
John Addison was nominated for an Oscar for his music score. However, he was not originally among the five nominees when the nominations were announced. He was added to the list after the score for The Godfather (1972) was deemed ineligible.
The original stage production of "Sleuth" by Anthony Shaffer opened on Broadway on 12 November 1970. It originally starred Anthony Quayle as Andrew and Keith Baxter as Milo, ran for 1222 performances and won the 1971 Tony Award for the Best Play.
In Andrew Wyke's cellar, a life preserver from the R.M.S. Mauretania is seen hanging from a wooden post. Built in 1906, the original R.M.S. Mauretania was a luxury ocean liner owned by the Cunard line. She was a sister ship of the R.M.S. Lusitania. For thirty years, the Mauretania carried upper-class passengers between London and New York. When she was scrapped in 1935, the Mauretania's first class reading-writing room was moved to Pinewood Studios in London (where the cellar scenes were filmed), and became the studio's board room.
When Andrew goes and answers the ring of the doorbell, you see him walk past two pictures of the former King Edward VIII, later the Duke of Windsor on a wall. The Duke of Windsor died during the making of the film and the production team added a historical touch to mark this event by including pictures of the late Duke.
To confuse potential movie-goers who were unaware that tricky plot of play upon which film was based actually involved only two characters, a number of pre-release stories (including one widely-syndicated on-set interview by Rex Reed) suggested that film would feature a lot of cameos by unnamed stars. In a 1993 interview for "Films in Review" director Mankiewicz claimed that the names of the extra non-existent red herring characters in the credits were members of his wife Rosemary Matthews' family.
In addition to Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) and Give 'em Hell, Harry! (1975), only one of three films in which entire on-screen billed cast received acting Oscar nominations. (Virginia Woolf did feature two unbilled bit players as roadhouse employees, but obviously neither of them were nominated.)
Eve Channing" is a combination of "Eve Harrington" and "Margot Channing", the two main characters in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's All About Eve (1950). "Higgs" is the name of the dead body in Tom Stoppard's play "The Real Inspector Hound", a parody of Agatha Christie-type mysteries. "Alec Cawthorne" is also the name of a film writer for the BBC. The name Alec Cawthorne is virtually an anagram for "Or Michael Caine". To achieve the spelling, flip the 'W' in Cawthorne upside down to get the 'M' in Michael, and separate the horizontal and vertical lines in the letter 'T' to get the two 'I's needed... one in MIchael and one in Caine. The rest of the letters fall naturally into place.
The reason Alan Bates thought the role was "beneath" him was that he walked out of the stage show at intermission after believing that his character had been killed when Andrew "shot" him at the end of the first act.