Working with practically no budget and largely without on-location filming permits, Stanley Kubrick had to remain unnoticed while shooting in the nation's busiest city, sometimes secretly shooting from a nearby vehicle.
To shoot the scene in which the fight manager is murdered in an East Side alley, Stanley Kubrick had to first negotiate with five transients who had set up a makeshift home in the alley and were unwilling to relinquish their turf.
In one scene Irene Kane was supposed to walk across 42nd Street, but a truck driver repeatedly blocked the way with his vehicle. The driver agreed to clear the area only if Kane would later meet him for a drink. She agreed and the scene was shot, but to this day no one knows if the rendezvous actually took place.
Unable to record the film's dialogue on-set due to technical problems, Stanley Kubrick was forced to post-sync all of this film's dialogue and sound effects. Veteran soundman Nathan Boxer was hired to record sound. However, after his boom mike and pole created many shadows, the inexperienced Kubrick was forced to fire him and his sound crew. Irene Kane was unavailable to add her dialogue later, so radio actress Peggy Lobbin voiced her role.
Many scenes were photographed with a springwound Eyemo camera, which holds 100-foot loads of film. The Eyemo was borrowed from Max Glenn and was subsequently stolen from Stanley Kubrick's car. For many tracking shots, Kubrick and company used the back of a pickup truck in place of a dolly. Kubrick was on welfare during the making of this film.
Scenes from the movie are among those comprising the thirty-second "Open All Night" montage on Turner Classic Movies. The montage is frequently shown prior to feature films that air in the middle of the night Eastern Time on the network.
Stanley Kubrick: [breaking the 180-degree stageline] Kubrick often breaks the 180-degree stageline in this film. That is, characters are photographed from both sides of the stageline, making them appear to be (for instance) looking in the same direction, when they are supposed to be looking in opposite directions. Watch the Davey Gordon and Rapallo ax fight at the denouement for an example.