Best movie trivia of 1958
Trivia: The three Viking ships in the film were designed using blueprints for an actual Viking ship salvaged from the water and restored by a Viking museum in Norway. It turned out that the boats built for the film were too accurate, because the modern actors were taller than their historical counterparts. Every second oar hole had to be plugged so the modern men would have room to row with a full oar stroke. Otherwise, they would hit the backs of the oarsmen seated in front of them when pushing the oar handles forward to start each new stroke.
Trivia: For close-ups of the giant marlin swimming near the skiff, Warner Brothers committed to building a giant, realistic, mechanical marlin with moving fins and tail, which was going to be deployed in actual open-ocean shots. Unfortunately, the first time it was lowered into Gulf Stream waters off the coast of Cuba, the elaborate mechanical marlin immediately sank and was never seen again. Thereafter, they used the much-less-realistic static marlin model that bobbed on the surface like a cork in a sound stage water tank (arguably the weakest scenes in the film).