Fans of Tyrone Power were shocked by his tired and aged appearance in the movie, since he was only 42 at the time of filming. Years of chain smoking cigarettes and drinking heavily had taken a toll on his looks. In addition he was reportedly taking pills so he could survive with only three hours sleep every night.
Upon seeing it for the first time, Ernest Hemingway walked out after the first 25 minutes. He criticized most aspects of the film heavily, and said the only good thing about the film was Errol Flynn's performance.
As detailed in his autobiography, "The Kid Stays in the Picture", both cast and crew, Ernest Hemingway, Tyrone Power, and Ava Gardner included, attempted to have Robert Evans fired during production. Producer Darryl F. Zanuck refused, saying, "The kid stays in the picture," thus leading to both Evans' long career as a producer and the title of his book.
An Australian documentary on his life and career, narrated by Christopher Lee, included a film clip of Errol Flynn being interviewed on his being nominated for the Academy Award for his critically acclaimed performance in "The Sun Also Rises." We are then told that the nomination "disappeared".
Juliette Gréco was noticed by Mel Ferrer and wife Audrey Hepburn singing in a Parisian nightclub, and they introduced her to Darryl F. Zanuck, who was so taken with her that he cast her in the film and had her part enlarged. She went on to star in two additional Zanuck productions. Mel Ferrer had actually appeared with Juliette Greco in Elena and Her Men (1956) the previous year.