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Top 5 Facts The Greatest Showman Got Wrong

VO: EB WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher
Script written by Savannah Sher If you’ve seen this movie musical and wondered just how much of the story was real, we’re here to separate fact from fiction. For this list we’re counting down our picks for the Top 5 Facts The Greatest Showman Got Wrong. For one, they got Jenny Lind’s singing voice wrong. You see, Lind was known as the “Swedish Nightingale” and in fact she was a famous soprano. In the movie however, she is portrayed as singing in the alto range. The portrayal of James Gordon Bennett is off too. In the film, one of P.T. Barnum’s detractors is the publisher of the New York Herald, James Gordon Bennett. He was a real historical figure, but sadly the movie portrays him in a negative light in order to put viewers on the side of the protagonist. Barnum and Jenny Lind's Relationship was exaggerated and lastly, P.T Barnum was actually not a nice guy in real life.
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Top 5 Facts The Greatest Showman Got Wrong



If you’ve seen this movie musical and wondered just how much of the story was real, we’re here to separate fact from fiction. Welcome to MsMojo and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 5 Facts The Greatest Showman Got Wrong.


For this list, we’re looking at all of the aspects of this film that weren’t exactly historically accurate.



#5: Jenny Lind's Singing Voice



There are a lot of things “The Greatest Showman” gets wrong about the character of Jenny Lind. We’ll get into some of the finer details later, but the first issue we’re going to tackle has to do with her singing voice. You see, Lind was known as the “Swedish Nightingale” and in fact she was a famous soprano. In the movie however, she is portrayed as singing in the alto range. Considering actress Rebecca Ferguson doesn’t even do her own singing, this one is pretty perplexing.





#4: Portrayal of James Gordon Bennett



In the film, one of P.T. Barnum’s detractors is the publisher of the New York Herald, James Gordon Bennett. He was a real historical figure, but sadly the movie portrays him in a negative light in order to put viewers on the side of the protagonist. In reality, Bennett worked to dispel some of the more egregious hoaxes that Barnum was putting on display. Unlike in the film, there is no evidence that Bennett eventually changed his mind about Barnum’s performances and gave his approval.





#3: How Barnum Got the Money to Start the Circus



According to New Yorker contributor Richard Brody, the film doesn’t make any attempts at accuracy when it comes to sharing how Barnum raised funds to be able to open his “museum”. In the movie, Hugh Jackman’s character manages to sell the bond for a sunken ship to get the cash, but the true story is a little more complicated. Barnum had recently been released from jail on libel charges and tricked a businessman into lending him money because of the exposee his newspaper had done on another company.





#2: Barnum and Jenny Lind's Relationship


In the movie, Jenny Lind is portrayed as being in love with Barnum, and even stirring up trouble by kissing him during a performance. First off, there’s no evidence that she ever had romantic interest in P.T. Barnum, and in fact was quite selfless, donating all the money she earned on her tour with him to charity- the modern equivalent of $10 million dollars. The reason she left his tour had nothing to do with her longing from him, but rather the rigors of touring life.





#1: P.T. Barnum Was Not a Nice Guy



We all love Hugh Jackman, and while the filmmakers did their best to turn a divisive historical figure into a sympathetic lead character, it’s important to know the truth behind the story. One of the first things he did which led to his fame was buy an elderly slave woman who was both blind and partially paralyzed and display her as George Washington’s wet nurse. Upon her death, he charged spectators to view her autopsy. Also, as far as the Bearded Lady and Tom Thumb go- these figures weren’t hired as adults. Both of them were young children when Barnum brought them into his “freak” show.
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