George Cukor was originally assigned to direct, but was fired because Darryl F. Zanuck did not care for his more literal interpretation of the novel.
W. Somerset Maugham was hired to write a screenplay, which is still on file in studio records. It is uncertain how much of his version, if any, was used in the final script.
89 different sets were built for the film, which had the longest shooting schedule for any film at the studio to that date. According to some news items, the film broke all previous studio box office records.
After his stint in the army during WWII, Tyrone Power wanted to tackle meatier roles. This was one of his first upon his return to Hollywood.
Alexander Knox, Anne Revere, Marcel Dalio, and Philip Merivale (who was actually born in India) were earlier choices for the roles played by Herbert Marshall, Elsa Lanchester, Robert Barron, and Cecil Humphreys.
Christopher Isherwood and Henry Channon are considered by many Maugham biographers to be the inspiration for the characters of Larry Darrell and Elliott Templeton.
Fox purchased the screen rights to the novel in March 1945 for $250,000 plus 20% of the net profits. To avoid another $50,000 specified in the contract if the principle photography was not started by 2 February 1946, producer Darryl F. Zanuck provided for location shooting in the mountains around Denver, Colorado (the Himalayas in the film) in August 1945. The cast had not yet been set, so the character of Larry was played by a double and seen only in long-shot. Zanuck hoped to get 'Tyrone Power (I)' to star and delayed casting until Power was released from military service in Januay 1946.
Like Larry Darrell, the character he played, Tyrone Power also served as a pilot during the war. Power served in World War II as a Marine airmen, rising from the rank of private to first lieutenant.
Maureen O'Hara was the original choice for Isabel.
The bittersweet song, "Mam'selle", was introduced in this film, and became one of the biggest hits of 1947.
The Breen Office requested a translation of the Russian lyrics sung during the nightclub scene in case they contained a subversive or salacious message.
The traditional Twentieth Century Fox opening fanfare theme was not used in this film.
The wedding dress Oleg Cassini designed for Gene Tierney and worn by her was actually designed for their wedding in 1941. It was never made since they eloped. After filming, Gene Tierney's stand-in Kay Adell Stork wore it at her own wedding.
When filming the hospital scene, Anne Baxter drew upon an experience from her childhood, when she lost her three-year-old brother. Speaking of it years later, she said the scene was the best in her career, and still gave her chills.