The full name of the French general mentioned by Babatte and General Löwenhielm was Gaston Alexandre Auguste, Marquis de Galliffet. He was a French war hero and long-serving soldier. He became infamous for his repression of the Paris Commune in 1871.
The novella on which this film is based was originally published in 1958 in a collection called 'Anecdotes of Destiny'. It was the last work published in her lifetime by 'Isak Dinesen', the pen-name of Karen Blixen-Finecke (1885-1962) (Dinesen was her maiden name). She is best remembered now as being played by Meryl Streep in the film based on her memoirs 'Out Of Africa'.
The original novella is set in the Norwegian village of Berlevag. Although Gabriel Axel stayed very close to the original source he felt that the original setting had become too colourful and pretty to evoke the bleakness described by Blixen, and transposed the setting to Jutland in his native Denmark, where he had the wooden village houses built.
The church used in the movie was Marup Church in Jutland, Denmark built around 1250. Positioned on the Lonstrup Klint, a geologically unique cliff, it edged towards the sea as the ground eroded 1.5 metres a year over the last 300 years. Between 2007 and 2016 the church was dismantled and moved to a new site on an open-air national museum.