'The Hollywood Reporter' once reported during early 1951 that British actor Trevor Howard would be starring in this movie. Howard, who has starred in several movies about World War II, did not in the end appear in this movie.
Stanley Baker is dubbed.
Alan Ladd's wife, Sue Carol, had a big influence on Alan's career and contract negotiations. For this movie, she demanded it be shot in Technicolor, have a major studio's distribution guarantee and first class travel and accommodation for her, their four children and their nurse during the shoot. Sue was a catalyst in closing the deal after Alan's agent Lew Wasserman initially rejected the producers' offer of US $200,000 plus 10% of the profits.
About an hour into the film, Leo Genn enters his office and tosses his hat across the room where it lands on a hat rack. A similar bit was a running gag in the early James Bond films which also had Terence Young directing and Richard Maibaum writing.
According to Richard Todd's 1986 auto-biography 'Caught in the Act', this film's director Terence Young's first choice for the lead role of Steve MacKendrick (aka Canada) was him, Richard Todd. Apparently, Todd thought the part was "far fetched" and turned it down. Todd did appear a couple of years later in another movie about the Second World War involving flying. He played Wing Commander Guy Gibson, V.C., D.S.O., D.F.C. in The Dam Busters.
According to an edition of the 'The Hollywood Reporter' during mid-1952, this movie was initially going to be produced by Warwick Films together with RKO-Radio Pictures. However, producers Albert R. Broccoli and Irving Allen and the RKO-Radio Pictures studio all mutually decided to cancel the contract. The picture was then taken to the Columbia Pictures studio by the producers.
According to the 2001 book 'Licence to Thrill: A Cultural History of the James Bond Films' by James Chapman, this movie grossed at the international box-office about US $ 8 million whilst its negative budget cost was around US $ 700,000.
According to the 8 March 1951 edition of 'The Los Angeles Times', American actor John Russell was slated to appear in this picture. He was going to be the only other American actor other than this picture's lead American star Alan Ladd to feature in this film. Russell did not end up appearing in this movie.
According to the auto-biography of Albert R. Broccoli 'When The Snow Melts', when this film was linked to studio RKO_Radio Pictures, the legal document for RKO to distribute this movie was signed by Howard Hughes in the lavatory of the home of Walter Kane. Producer Albert R. Broccoli had had considerable difficulties in contacting reclusive and elusive Hughes. Broccoli located him at Kane's house where he slipped the document under the door where it was signed by Hughes.
According to the book 'British War Films, 1939-1945: The Cinema and the Services' by S.P. Mackenzie, facilities, locations and background artists were supplied to the production by The Parachute Regiment. These were all provided at the Royal Air Force's RAF Abingdon Parachute School at Abingdon in Oxfordshire, England.
After Albert R. Broccoli and Irving Allen split dissolving their production company Warwick Films, many of the crew from this movie (who also had worked extensively on other Warwick pictures) went on to work on the James Bond movies with Broccoli. These included stuntman Bob Simmons; screen-writer Richard Maibaum; camera operator / cinematographer Ted Moore; and director Terence Young.
Debut movie as a producer for producer Albert R. Broccoli.
First film of Carl Duering.
For the lead role in this picture playing Steve MacKendrick (aka Canada), Alan Ladd was paid US $ 200,000 for eleven weeks work. Ladd also received free accommodation and first class travel for his family (his wife and four children) and their nurse. Ladd also apparently received a back-end points deal receiving 10% of gross box-office receipts over the US$2 million mark described as "deferred compensation" in United States Court of Appeals legal documents. Ladd worked on this picture from 20 September 20 1952 until 6 December 1952.
Known as 'Paratrooper' in the USA, the working titles for this movie were 'The Big Jump' and 'The Red Beret'.
Part of this movie (the North African scenes) were filmed at Trawsfynydd in North Wales where Hedd Wyn and First Knight were shot.
Some of the characters in the film are based on actual people, but their names have been changed in suggestive ways. Major Snow is based on the real John Frost. Major General Whiting represents the real General Browning (and the actor bears quite a resemblance to him).
The first film of Harry Andrews
This film stars Alan Ladd whose arguably most successful film, Shane, filmed prior to this movie, was released in the same year as this picture. Ladd appeared in four films in 1953, the others being Desert Legion and Botany Bay.
This movie was a British war movie with an American lead, Alan Ladd. The producers were very careful that this movie did not create the furore that Objective, Burma! had triggered eight years before. That movie was pulled from release in Britain after just one week. It was banned there after heated protests from British veterans groups and the military establishment. As the Burma campaign was a predominantly British and Australian operation, the picture was taken as a national insult due to the movie's Americanization of the Burma operation. The resentment that many felt was seen as yet another example of Americans believing they had won the war singlehandedly. But there was still some criticism that an American was playing the lead in this movie. So for Paratrooper, criticism was fended off by Ladd telling the media: "The story is of a Canadian i.e. of the British Commonwealth and not an American who joins the British Paratroopers in order to learn, not teach the job. All the big decisions in the film are made by the British."