Theatrical Release: July 13, 1966
HOW TO STEAL A MILLION was made in France--the exteriors were shot on location in Paris, the interiors in the Boulogne studio, also in Paris.
HOW TO STEAL A MILLION had too much action to be shot in a real museum, so art director Alexandre Trauner built one on the Studio Boulogne stage. Wyler wondered how Trauner was going to obtain the artworks for his construction and asked, "Are you going to rent real masterpieces?" When the set was finished it was full of fabulous artwork--by Renoir, Picasso, Degas, Monet, Rembrandt, Tintoretto, da Vinci, and El Greco. They were all fakes, not exact copies. Trauner had recruited several young Parisian artists by paying them handsomely and guaranteeing them anonymity. In response to public interest, Fox arranged a New York gallery exhibit of these "forgeries," complete with catalog, in November 1966.
George C. Scott was originally signed to play the role of Davis Leland in HOW TO STEAL A MILLION. On his first day, Scott was due on set at 12 noon, but he didn't arrive till 5:00. Almost immediately director William Wyler was called away to direct the next set-up. It was complicated, and Wyler did not return till 7.30--by then Scott had left. Wyler fired him on the spot and replaced him with Eli Wallach.
The original title was HOW TO STEAL $1,000,000 AND LIVE HAPPILY EVER AFTER.
Screenwriter Harry Kurnitz was also the author of a novel and a Broadway play about an art forger, RECLINING FIGURE.