In the scene where Gregory Peck lifts up Ava Gardner, he threw out his knee and production had to close down while he recovered. Unfortunately, all the scenes of his lying down in his sickbed had been shot already.
Ernest Hemingway disliked the film because he thought it cannibalized material from his other work to pad the story. He told friend Ava Gardner that the only things he liked about it were her and the hyena. It has been reported, but not confirmed, that director Henry King mimicked the hyena on the soundtrack.
The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film.
Scenes with Hildegard Knef singing two Cole Porter songs ("Just One Of Those Things" and "Alles War So Leer/You Do Something To Me") were shot but not used for the final cut, although the latter remained in the German version.
When the film was shot, Ava Gardner was married to Frank Sinatra, who severely argued about the fact that she had to go to Africa because of the making of the movie. So, Gardner insisted to the director Henry King so that the scenes with her had to be taken the most quickly possible.
Ava Gardner's second film based an Ernest Hemingway short story, after "The Killers" (1946). Both were short tales that had to be expanded considerably by their screenwriters to become feature-length films.
While the "African" roles are played by Americans and they speak with American accents, their Kiswahili lines (as those of Harry) are in most cases passable and what they are saying is appropriate to the action. For example, when Harry asks Molo where the memsaab (Helen) has gone, Molo tells him that she "has gone to get meat." Then he says,"memsaab is coming now."
The countess has a bohemian lifestyle whereas Cynthia wants to be a homebody. In real life Ava Gardner led a Bohemian lifestyle while Hildegard Knef (who endured the rise and fall of the Third Reich and the Soviet occupation) was more reserved.