Tom Allen in 'The Village Voice' said that the Matilda kangaroo was "worked by a person in a fur suit and fixed mask . . . The technicians do not even get the ears to wiggle and the mouth to pucker until the final minutes".
The film's Matilda (1978) title refers to the name of the movie's central character, an Australian boxing kangaroo called "Matilda", and it is a totally unrelated property to the later children's' film Matilda (1996), which was made and released about eighteen years after this film.
Producer Albert S. Ruddy once said of this movie: "We debated over using both a real kangaroo and an actor in costume and opted for the latter as cross-cutting proved too jarring for the viewer. However the costume was a $30,000 investment that paid off as it not only allowed freedom of movement, but we were able to program it with transistors to allow us to direct the actor's tiniest gesture".
This American film about an Australian boxing kangaroo was made and released about five years before Molly (1983) an Australian film about an Aussie singing dog called Molly (1983). Both animal characters, "Molly" and "Matilda", had names beginning with the letter "M".
The tagline on the Australian DVD cover, "Who'll come a boxing Matilda with me" is a variation of a line from the famous Australian A.B. 'Banjo' Paterson poem 'Waltzing Matilda' which reads "Who'll come a-waltzing Matilda, with me?". A musical version of the piece by Christina Macpherson is actually featured in the film.