Storm Over the Nile (1955) reuses a lot of the battle sequences from this film which did not lend themselves very well to cropping necessary to achieve the width of the CinemaScope ratio, nor did their comparative fuzziness blend well with the new footage which surrounded it.
The Korda brothers had a working relationship and method that sometimes agitated their English cast and crew, who were not used to sudden, loud arguments conducted in Hungarian and halting English peppered with expletives. John Clements recalled sitting in Alexander's office discussing a point of production when suddenly the three brothers broke into a violent screaming match. "Zolly [Zoltan] started picking things up off the table and throwing them on the floor, and I really thought they were going to kill each other," Clements said. Just as suddenly as it began, however, the fight stopped "and everybody embraced, including me, and we all had a nice cup of tea, and that was that."
The action scenes, photographed by Osmond Borradaile, were not only filmed where the historical battles had actually taken place but also included among the many extras people who had witnessed or participated in the fighting more than 40 years earlier. These battle scenes further benefited from Zoltan Korda's expertise at large-scale action and his early experience as a cavalry officer.
For historical accuracy, Zoltan Korda hired a military technical adviser, Brigadier Hector Campbell, and had him drill the actors and extras exactly the same as soldiers would have been in the period of the film's setting.
Although he was a stickler for historical fidelity, Zoltan Korda was not above stretching the truth for the sake of spectacle. As shooting was about to begin on the lavish ballroom scene, he went into a fit over the fact that the officers were all clad in blue uniforms. The picture's military adviser, Brigadier Hector Campbell, informed him that this was the proper dress for a private party in the late 1800s. "But this is Technicolor!" Korda roared, and the uniforms were changed to bright red.
To prove he can read Braille, Durrance (Ralph Richardson) scans with his fingers and reads out a speech spoken by Caliban in Shakespeare's The Tempest, before admitting he 'knew that bit by heart anyway.' Richardson played Caliban in the famous Old Vic production of The Tempest in 1930, which starred John Gielgud as Prospero.
This film was included in the first syndicated television presentation of a package of major studio feature films on USA television; it premiered in Los Angeles Sunday 14 November 1948 on KTLA (Channel 5) and in New York City Monday 6 December 1948 on WPIX (Channel 11). Although filmed in Technicolor, these telecasts were in B&W, since color broadcasting was still in its experimental stage. The package consisted of 24 Alexander Korda productions originally released theatrically between 1933 and 1942.
Alexander Korda decided not to direct, because his last two directorial efforts, The Private Life of Don Juan (1934) and Rembrandt (1936), had not been commercial successes. He had also lost considerable money on the aborted I, Claudius, a film that was well into production when it was abandoned. On top of that, the pressure of running the large, recently purchased Denham Studios made it all the more appealing to turn to a proven success like Mason's story and to concentrate on producing while brother Zoltan Korda directed.
According to a news item in Variety in June 1938, Alec Waugh went to Sudan to do research prior to the film's location work there. Waugh, who worked as a set decorator on other Alexander Korda productions, may also have worked in that capacity for this film.
According to two unidentified but contemporary news items from 1937 contained in the AFI Library, Alexander Korda announced that Robert Donat was to play the film's lead, after which Paramount Pictures, which owned the rights to the A. E. W. Mason novel, announced that it was refusing to sell their rights to the property.