"This was a completely straightforward arbitration," said McCambridge. A team of three arbiters read the submitted materials without knowledge of the writers' identities, judging the work based on dramatic construction, original and different scenes, characterization or character relationships and dialogue.
The film changes many historical facts. The Zong case (Gregson v. Gilbert) had no legal effect on slavery. Lord Mansfield had earlier decided Somersett's Case in 1772 when Belle was eleven years old. A slave-owner sued to recover an escape slave, James Somersett. Lord Mansfield condemned slavery as an odious practice neither allowed nor approved by the laws of England. For the most part, this decision ended slavery in England and Wales, but it did not stop the slave trade outside Britain. Lord Mansfield later decided the Zong case in 1783 when Belle was twenty-two years old. Although Zong case was very important to British commercial law and the cold-blooded murder of the slaves had great effect on public opinion, slavery was not the legal issue. Judge Mansfield expressed his disgust for slavery, but said that the legal case was the same as if horses had been thrown overboard.
When Elizabeth and Dido play the piano, the sound heard is that of a large modern piano, not that of the small eighteenth-century one we see on the screen. Also, the keys of the piano look improbably old, considering that pianos had only been invented a few decades earlier and were just at the beginning of their widespread popularity, so that most pianos in use, particularly those in amateur-musician households, would have been fairly new.