The 41-year-old Burt Lancaster performed all but one of the trapeze stunts himself, having worked in a circus before entering films. He insisted on doing the climactic triple somersault, but technical adviser Eddie Ward initially was hesitant on Lancaster performing the stunt, so Ward doubled for Lancaster during the first weeks of shooting. Director Carol Reed eventually hired Lancaster's longtime friend, stuntman Nick Cravat to perform the stunt.
A July 1957 Variety item noted that screenwriter Daniel Fuchs filed suit for $250,000 and one-sixth of the profits of Trapeze, charging infringement of copyright, break of implied contract and violation of a confidential relationship. Fuchs indicated he wrote a story for Collier's magazine in 1940 entitled "The Daring Young Man" and in 1946 hired Harold Hecht as his agent. Fuchs claimed that, in 1952, he gave Hecht a screenplay adaptation of the story which, by that time, was entitled "Trapeze." The suit charged that in 1955, Trapeze's writers produced and "copied in substantial part" Fuchs's original story. A May 1959 Daily Variety article noted that an out-of-court settlement, "believed to be one of the largest of its kind in motion picture history," ended the two-year litigation. Although none of the parties disclosed the amount of the settlement, one contemporary source estimated it to be about $50,000.
Writer Batia Jacobs filed a property right infringement suit against Hecht-Lancaster, UA, Catto and agent Ben Medford, claiming her manuscript entitled No Alternative was the basis for Catto's novel. The outcome of the suit has not been determined.
Johnny puleo does play a little harmonica. Sad it is portrayed as being a nusence. At one point he is mimicking that he is playing harp as the sound track plays harp. Again portrayed as a nusence as they throw something at him.