Alec Guinness made this movie during the two month break in the shooting of Lawrence of Arabia (1962), when the production moved from Jordan to Spain. Upon finishing this film, Guinness resumed his role of Prince Faisal.
The tune to which the sailors dance the hornpipe is Cock O' the North, by an unknown composer. There is no printed record of it prior to 1816, but it is quite possible that it was known as a folk tune during or prior to 1797.
Like many British actors of their generation, Alec Guinness, Dirk Bogarde and Anthony Quayle were veterans of World War II and served with distinction. However, the film reverses their ranks. Major Bogarde and Major Quayle both outranked Sublieutenant Guinness in reality.