1. The scenes and plots were inspired by the director's real experiences on movie sets.
--Source: French Films, 1945-1993: A Critical Filmography of the 400 Most Important Releases, Page 197
2. In one of his earlier films, La Peau Douce (1964), Francoise Dorleac puts a breakfast tray outside a door, and a kitten comes up to explore. In La Nuit Americaine, one episode involves the travails of cat wrangling, as a kitten refuses repeatedly to cooperate in a similar scene.
3. The title refers to a technique for filming night scenes in broad daylight, achieved by either lowering the lens aperture or through the use of filters.
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Director Truffaud: “I tried to have ten characters of equal importance: the prop man and script-girl count for as much as the stars.”
--Source: Truffaut by Truffaut, Page 37
The abandoned huge set of the American film The Madwoman of Chaillot (1969) inspired Truffaut to stage his own film within a film there.
--Source: Truffaut, Page 293
François Truffaut: “I won't reveal the whole truth about filming, but just some real things that happened in my past movies or in other movies.”
--Source: Truffaut, Page 294
Director Jean-Luc Godard was so enraged by this film, that he wrote a stinging letter suggesting that Truffaut gave him some money to make a feature of his own, "so that audiences don't think that the only kind of movies being made are your kind'. Suitably piqued, Truffaut responded by questioning Godard's commitment to agit-prop film-making: "I've always felt that true militants are like cleaning women, performing a thankless, daily, necessary task. But you, you're like Ursula Andress. You make a four-minute appearance, just enough time for the cameras to flash, for you to make two or three startling pronouncements, then you disappear, shrouded in appealing mystery."
--Source: Godard: A Portrait of the Artist at Seventy, Page 272
The film is dedicated to the Gish sisters (Lillian Gish and Dorothy Gish).
When director Ferrand listens to a piece of music prepared for the film-within-a-film by George Delerue, he is listening to a piece from Les deux Anglaises et le continent (1971)
As Severine (Valentina Cortesa) has more and more trouble remembering her lines (blowing several takes), Ferrand eventually writes her lines on pieces of paper that can be stuck up on the set out of sight of the camera, so that she can read them. It doesn't really work here. However, Truffaut used the same trick for himself when he was having trouble remembering his English lines in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977).
As the director Ferrand and the Cinematographer Walter are looking over promo stills of Julie Baker, one remarks that he remembers her "from that movie with the car chase". This is an inside reference to the fact that five years earlier Jacqueline Bisset played the role of Steve McQueen's girlfriend in Bullitt (1968), a film featuring a groundbreaking car chase.
The film was nominated for Academy Awards for two years: As best foreign language film in 1974, and director, supporting actress (Valentina Cortese), and screenplay in 1975. This happened because the eligibility periods for foreign language film is different than other awards, and is dependent on the film's release in its originating country. Academy rules have since been amended, limiting nominations in all categories to the same year.
During one scene, director Ferrand briefly talks about The Godfather (1972). François Truffaut was up for an Oscar for directing this film but lost to Francis Ford Coppola for The Godfather: Part II (1974).
François Truffaut's reason for his character Ferrand wearing an earing-aid (while never clearly defined as deaf) is partly expressed in a voice-over mentioning a film director is the person everyone in the crew has a question to ask. In later interviews, Truffaut explained the best way he could find to ignore some of those questions was to pass for someone hard of hearing.
The crew shared the studios of la Victorine with American production The Last of Sheila (1973) directed by Herbert Ross.
When Nathalie Baye first heard that Billy Wilder asked François Truffaut if he used a real script girl for the part of Joelle, she felt a bit offended as she was trying hard to be a proper actress. Later, she eventually admitted it was the best compliment she could receive.
For reasons that are unclear, the on-screen movie crew never change their clothes even though story unfolds over weeks.