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Dean Martin's first film without Jerry Lewis.
The roles played by Charles Dale and Joe Smith were orginally intended for Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, who had to drop out of the film due to an illness contracted by Laurel while filming Utopia (1950).
James Dean was signed to play Rocky Graziano, but the part was given to Paul Newman after Dean was killed in an automobile accident on September 30, 1955.
After his success in The Three Musketeers (1948), Gene Kelly was initially slated to star in a musical version of the Sabatini story. Fernando Lamas and Ricardo Montalban were subsequently cast before the studio cast new studio contractee Stewart Granger. Granger had seen the original, silent version of Scaramouche (1923) as a ten-year-old boy in England and it had a strong effect on him. When he heard M-G-M was going to remake the film, he arranged a deal with the studio in which he would sign an exclusive contract, if he was given the lead in the new film. This meant the film could no longer be a musical and more emphasis was given to the action, thanks to Granger's athleticism. Gene Kelly had to move on to another musical project, Singin' in the Rain (1952).
It is mentioned by Kate Bighead that Custer cut his hair before the battle, a historical fact. The only other film that mentions that is "Tonka."
Only three B-17s were actually used to make the film: DB-17P 44-83684 (N3713G), DB-17P 44-83525 (N83525) and B-17F 42-29782 (N17W). N3713G, provided by Ed Maloney's Air Museum at Ontario, California, had been the primary aircraft used in the television series of "Twelve O' Clock High."
Twice while the Ruptured Duck is flying over Japan the crew spots Japanese fighter planes and tenses for an attack, but both times the fighters ignore them. This is factual. In an unbelievable coincidence, the Japanese had planned a major air raid drill for the same time in Tokyo, and the fighters thought the American B-25s were part of the drill until the bombs started exploding. Also, according to the book upon which the movie is based the planes' crews were told prior to the mission that there was a slight chance that the Japanese would not recognize them and react because the Japanese air force had a bomber very similar to the B-25.
After this film, Fred Astaire effectively retired from musicals, preferring to concentrate on non-musical roles, though he would produce several musical specials for TV in the next few years. Astaire wouldn't make another musical until 1968.
The sixth and final teaming of Alice Faye and Don Ameche, who considered this his favorite screen role.
Although playing the older man, Arthur Hunnicutt was actually twelve years younger than Randolph Scott.