Ben-Hur had the largest budget at $15.175 million and the largest sets built for any film produced at the time. Costume designer Elizabeth Haffenden oversaw a staff of 100 wardrobe fabricators to make the costumes, and a workshop employing 200 artists and workmen provided the hundreds of friezes and statues needed in the film. Filming commenced on May 18, 1958 and wrapped on January 7, 1959, with shooting lasting for 12 to 14 hours a day, six days a week. Pre-production began at Cinecittà around October 1957, and post-production took six months. Under cinematographer Robert L. Surtees, MGM executives made the decision to film the picture in a widescreen format, which Wyler strongly disliked.
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