Star Gene Kelly and director Vincente Minnelli both wanted to film scenes on location in Scotland but the studio bosses at MGM insisted the film be shot entirely at the studio. When the movie was released critics noted the staged studio feel of the movie.
Howard Keel and Jane Powell were originally slated to play the leads. When commitments on other films left them unavailable, Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse were cast instead, and dancing subsequently emphasized over singing.
As with The Robe (1953), Seven Brides For Seven Brothers (1954) and Oklahoma! (1955), two completely disparate versions of this film were shot simultaneously, requiring separate takes. One version was in the 2.55:1 CinemaScope ratio, the other in a less-severe 1.75:1 widescreen ratio. On the 1.75:1 prints of each of these films, the picture information on the far left and right of the screen was often expendable so that exhibitors could project the 1.75:1 prints in a standard 1.33:1 academy ratio as needed. This is especially noticeable in the main title credits.
Four of the show's musical numbers--"Come to Me, Bend to Me", "There But For You Go I", "From This Day On", and "The Sword Dance"--were filmed and/or recorded but eliminated before the film's release. The sound and picture for three of them are included as extras on the Warner DVD release, but only the audio for "There But For You Go I" has been included.