José Ferrer was transformed into the short artist Toulouse-Lautrec by the use of camera angles, makeup, costume, concealed pits and platforms and short body doubles. Ferrer also used a set of special knee pads of his own design which allowed him to walk on his knees with his lower legs strapped to his upper body. He suffered extreme pain and could only use them for short periods of time. The cane he used in most of his scenes was of absolute necessity. This fact was covered in a LIFE magazine story in 1952.
In a scene towards the end, brooding on his responsibility for destroying the Moulin Rouge, Toulouse-Lautrec says, "They say men kill the thing they love most." This is apparently a reference to "The Ballad of Reading Gaol" (published 1898) by Oscar Wilde, who the historical Henri de Toulouse Lautrec befriended (and drew several times): the exact quotation is "each man kills the thing he loves".
When John Huston appeared on the BBC's "Desert Island Discs" program in 1973, host Roy Plomley told him that this movie was a personal favorite of his. Huston replied "I don't think it's one of my best films", adding that 1950s censorship constraints had made it impossible to tell the story of Henri de Toulouse Lautrec's life honestly.
A famous story from the filming of this movie: when Technicolor printed the dailies according to legendary cinematographer Oswald Morris' specifications, the lab management confronted Morris and director John Huston, claiming that the dailies were faulty. Huston and Morris screened them, and Huston allegedly turned to Morris and said, "What do you think, Os?" To which he replied, "Exactly as I wanted it." Huston replied, "Me too." They then turned to the Technicolor management with, "Gentlemen, thank you and f**k you!" After the film was released, it became a personal favorite of Technicolor inventor Herbert Kalmus.