When the film was released, it got bad reviews and lost money. The studio, without Billy Wilder's permission, changed the title to "The Big Carnival" to increase the box office take of the film. It didn't work. On top of that, Wilder's next picture, Stalag 17 (1953), was a hit and he expected a share of the picture's profits. Paramount accountants told him that since this picture lost money, the money it lost would be subtracted from the profits of "Stalag 17".
In a 1950 memo to Billy Wilder, Kirk Douglas objected to several aspects of Chuck Tatum's monologue about missing New York City: "No pastrami! No garlic pickles! No Madison Square Garden! No Yogi Berra!", among other things. Douglas asked, "... what the hell is a Yogi Berra?". Douglas' secretary, who was amused her boss didn't know who the New York Yankee star was, told him he was a catcher.
The studio constructed a replica cliff dwelling at a cost of $30,000. The set was located behind the Lookout Point Trading Post on U.S. Route 66, west of Gallup, New Mexico. After filming was completed, the set was left intact and the owner of the trading post used it to draw tourists to his store.
Actor Victor Desny brought a lawsuit against this film while the script was being written. He claimed the film was an unauthorized version of the Floyd Collins story. Collins was actually stuck in a cave years earlier, as mentioned in the film. Since Desny owned the rights to the Collins story, he claimed copyright infringement. Desny prevailed, although Wilder appealed. The California Supreme Court ruled in Desny's favor. ('Desny v. Wilder', 46 Cal. 2d 715, 299 (Cal. Sup. Ct. 1956).)