- The role of Major Penderton was extremely physically demanding, and the insurance company underwriting the production required proof that star Montgomery Clift was fit enough for the role, after his years of illness. Clift's long-time friend 'Taylor, Elizabeth' committed her large salary as insurance in order to secure Clift for the role. Clift subsequently died of a heart attack before filming began, and the role went to Marlon Brando.
- Originally released in a version in which all scenes were suffused with the color gold, with one object in each scene (such as a rose) normally-colored. This was in reference to the houseboy's drawing of a golden peacock in whose eye the world is a mere reflection. But that version puzzled audiences, so it was withdrawn and a normally-colored version released.
- Both Richard Burton and Lee Marvin turned down the role of Major Weldon Penderton before Marlon Brando agreed to do it for $750,000 plus 10% of the profits.
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