Anouk Aimee couldn't bear being without her lover and future husband Albert Finney during location shooting and wanted to leave. Director George Cukor persuaded her friend Omar Sharif to convince her of the dire consequences for her career if she did. Although Sharif failed, Finney was able to convince her to finish the film.
During shooting, George Cukor told an interviewer that the film would very likely be near to three hours long, but when it finally emerged in cinemas, it was under two hours. Cukor never went into detail about what had been cut, but was always very reserved when discussing the film.
Joseph Strick worked for several weeks on this film on location in Tunis (with Anouk Aimee, not Glenda Jackson). His plan was to films as much of it as possible on location. He had quarrels with the management of Twentieth Century Fox and was disliked by some of his actors - Anna Karina claimed that he had actually fallen asleep whilst directing her. When he was replaced by George Cukor, a big decision was taken to recreate the Alexandria of the 1930s in the Hollywood studios and to do the rest of the movie there. A few bits and pieces of Strick's location work were retained, but most of his work was re-shot by Cukor, who accepted the extant cast. The film ended up being enormously costly and was a box-office flop.