James Dean was offered the role of Basil, the sculptor, but he and his agent thought the script was poor. Paul Newman, who was a finalist for the role of Cal Trask in East of Eden (1955) that eventually was played by Dean and made him a star, took the role, which Newman later regretted. While shooting "East of Eden," Dean went over to visit Newman on the set of this film, where he met the love of his short life, Pier Angeli, Newman's co-star.
When the film ran on television in 1966, Paul Newman took out ads in the Hollywood trade papers, calling it "the worst motion picture produced during the 1950s," apologizing for his performance, and asking people not to watch the film. Unfortunately, it had the opposite effect, and many people tuned in to watch it on TV. Newman once screened the movie for friends at his home, giving them whistles, pots, and wooden spoons, and encouraging them to make noisy critiques of the film.
This film received a huge "premiere" in Saranac Lake, NY. The premiere was a "prize" to the town that sold the most "Christmas Seals" in a countrywide competition. The weekend consisted of a parade with the director and stars of the movie (with the exception of Paul Newman, who did not attend), and a gala premiere at the Pontiac Theatre in Saranac Lake hosted by Art Linkletter.