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Approximately ten minutes was missing from the viewed print. The title for the film and the book on which it was based on an old adage, which is quoted twice in the film: "Red sky at morning, sailor take warning; red sky at night, sailor's delight." The major characters are listed in the same order in both opening and closing credits, but the minor characters are listed in a slightly different order in the closing credits. In the opening credits are two statements preceding the actor names, "Starring as the young ones" and "Starring as the adults." Character names are listed onscreen in lower case, while actors names appear in all caps. After the ending cast credits, a written acknowledgment thanks the New Mexico Film Industry Commission for its cooperation. The last onscreen credit card reads, "Produced at Universal Studios, California U.S.A.," and is followed by a color card advertising the Universal Studio tour.
A May 1968 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that Universal bought the film rights to Richard Bradford's first novel, Red Sky at Morning, and assigned it to producer Frank P. Rosenberg. In June 1968, a Daily Variety news item reported that Bradford had been signed to write the screenplay from his own novel. According to a modern source, Rosenberg and director James Goldstone had discussions about the film, but could not agree on its treatment, leading Goldstone to drop out of the project. The same source stated that producer Hal B. Wallis moved his production company to Universal shortly afterward and was offered the film. Wallis began working with writer Marguerite Roberts, with whom he had collaborated on Paramount's 1969 True Grit and Goldstone was again brought in. Although June 1970 Daily Variety and New York Times news items reported that Kim Darby had been cast as "Marcia Davison," and a modern source erroneously lists the actress as appearing in the film, Catherine Burns played the role. Goldstone, according to modern sources, convinced Wallis to cast the lesser known Burns.
According to Hollywood Reporter production charts and other sources, the film was shot in New Mexico. The studio publicity notes reported that shooting took place on Santa Fe's Central Plaza, as well as other streets, and at the city dump, after the newer model cars were replaced by "older wrecks." A prep school was used as the film's high school, while Romeo's home was shot at an artist studio on Canyon Road, and St. John's Hospital served as the film's hospital. The J. W. Eaves Ranch (also known as Eaves Movie Ranch) in Sante Fe was used as the Arnold's Sagrado home. The studio notes also reported that a 1707 adobe hacienda built in the town of Galesteo and the Lamy railroad station appeared in the film. The village of Truchas was used as the fictional village of La Cima.
In one important scene in the film that is also in the book, Steenie, Marcia and Josh discover a dead and decaying cow while walking, a phenomonen not unusual in rural life. Steenie and Marcia have devised a ritual for when they find an animal corpse, in which, one at a time, they hold their breath, walk up and touch the animal. On a dare, Josh attempts to do so, but trips and falls on the corpse. In a modern source, Goldstone explained that the scene was crucial to the story because it is Josh's first significant encounter with death. According to a March 1971 LAHExam, the scene was almost deleted from the film. According to a modern source, Goldstone and Wallis disagreed about whether it should remain, and, according to the LAHExam article, Wallis was convinced to keep it after seeing the amused audience reaction during the first preview of the film.
A May 10, 1971 LAHExam article reported that two "world premieres" of the film had already taken place in Albuquerque and afterward in Sante Fe, but provided no specific dates for the events. Several reviews compared Red Sky at Morning with the tremendously successful Summer of `42, a film released in April 1971 that was also about growing up during World War II. Some modern sources speculate that the popularity of Summer of '42 overshadowed Red Sky at Morning, causing the latter to suffer at the box office. A May 1971 NYT article comparing the two films claimed that they were "two of the first period films to treat the drab forties as an exotic, nostalgic wonderland." However, a May 1971 Los Angeles Times article contrasted the two films by saying that Red Sky at Morning was "past remembered," while Summer of '42, was "past imagined."
According to an October 1973 Box Office news item, Red Sky at Morning was re-titled That Same Summer at some showings, because the filmmakers believed that the original title did not "convey the intimacy of the story." After a short run, the film was sold to television, at which time many scenes were deleted and a voice-over narration by Thomas was added. For his performance in the film, Arnaz won a Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer.