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After reading the novel, Frank Sinatra wanted to star in Von Ryan’s Express, but 20th Century Fox had already purchased the rights.
The studio was happy to have Sinatra star though, especially after taking a hit from the expensive production of Cleopatra.
Sinatra agreed to the film under the condition that it be filmed in sequence – which is rare for films, since it’s easier to film out of order.
Sinatra was flown to location via a helicopter, while other actors had to travel by car, which took several hours.
Co-star John Leyton said, “Frank Sinatra had an extraordinary aura – with his piercing blue eyes. He was more than I expected. He was very professional. He'd walk in, and everyone would go quiet.”
When the crew did pickup shots at the studio, Mia Farrow visited the set to catch a glimpse of Sinatra. He later invited her to a screening of None but the Brave, a film which he directed.
Below, Trevor Howard sits in Sinatra's chair.