Director Menahem Golan has said that when the picture was booed midway through at the 1980 Montreal Film Festival, he left the theater, went to his hotel and was preparing to commit suicide by jumping off the balcony when his business partner barged in and stopped him.
Mr. Boogalow sings the line, 'The world is nothing but a big Casino Royale.' Vladek Sheybal, who plays Mr. Boogalow, actually appeared in the film Casino Royale (1967) as Le Chiffre's Auctioneer. Sheybal also appeared in another James Bond movie, From Russia with Love (1963).
Screenwriters Coby Recht and Iris Recht set their screenplay in 1984 because of the Orwellian themes in the story. Director Menahem Golan decided the year was too close to the era in which they were living, so he pushed back the setting to 1994.
Catherine Mary Stewart learned the music and was working with a vocal coach who was confident she could perform the songs. The producers, however, got cold feet, hired professional singer Mary Hylan to record the songs, and made Stewart lip-sync to Hylan's recordings. Decades later Stewart commented, "She was wonderful and I'm thrilled that I had her voice attached to my face, so it's all good in the end." Stewart later had the opportunity to do her own singing in Scenes from the Goldmine (1987).
The character of Alphie's unnamed landlady didn't exist in the original screenplay by Coby Recht and Iris Recht, she was added to the story by director Menahem Golan, who took an additional pass on the script after the Rechts' version was finished.
Story writers Coby Recht and Iris Recht, originally conceived "The "Apple" in 1977 as a 3-act Hebrew stage musical about God and the Devil, but their vision was deemed too elaborate and costly to execute on the stage. They showed the script to Menahem Golan, who convinced them to turn it into an English-language screenplay. The Rechts quickly determined that their initial vision wouldn't work as a film, so the original story and all 17 existing songs were scrapped.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
The film originally began with a sequence in which Mr. Topps (aka God) creates the world. He sings the song "Creation" and brings various creatures including Alphie to life, then he sings a song with Mr. Boogalow (aka The Devil), who ultimately falls into a stream and disappears. Live animals, humans, puppets and people in costumes filled a small set. Mishaps abounded as a tiger got loose, the elephants got their trunks stuck in set pieces, people wearing a brontosaurus costume collapsed from the heat, and the terrain and restrictive size of the set proved difficult for the actors to dance through and cameras to maneuver. The omission of this disastrous shoot makes the biblical ending of the movie seem completely random.