Actress Janet Suzman said of this film around the time it was made and released: "We had to learn the simple business of how to cope with a child - how to open its mouth and feed it, how to lift it, how to bath it. We had a medical advisor on the film - a woman doctor who has been very successful in that field - and she told us whenever we went wrong. Alan [Bates] and I were both dreading going to the hospital, because we didn't know what to expect. But when you get over that selfish reaction, you begin to appreciate what is being done. You ruffle a little head and you are rewarded with a mindless smile of such joy. It is almost an affirmation of faith, if you want to think in those terms. All the arguments for mercy killings go overboard because in the end, it's a choice between life and death. This is a living human being. It's your child and you love it".
The original Broadway production of "A Day in the Death of Joe Egg" by Peter Nichols, after six previews, opened on 1st February 1968 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre, where it ran for 154 performances, until it closed on 15th June 1968.
The picture was filmed in 1970 but was not given a theatrical release until 1972. According to Janet Suzman, speaking on BBC Radio 4's 'The Film Programme' in 2009, this was due to Sam Spiegel delaying release of the film until after Suzman's second film, Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) came out in 1971.
The film was made and released about five years after its source stage play of the same name by Peter Nichols had been first performed in 1967. Nichols also penned the screenplay for this filmed adaptation.