|Directed by||Gordon Douglas|
|Produced by||Saul David|
|Written by||Nelson Gidding|
|Based on||Les Animaux dénaturés by Vercors|
Roger C. Carmel
|Music by||Oliver Nelson|
|Cinematography||Robert C. Moreno|
|Edited by||John Woodcock|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
The screenplay is based on the French novel Les Animaux dénaturés (1952) (variously titled in English as You Shall Know Them, Borderline, and The Murder of the Missing Link) by Jean Bruller (writing under the pseudonym "Vercors").
On an expedition in Papua New Guinea, the Tropis, a tribe of apelike creatures, are being used as slaves by humans. When one of the Tropis is allegedly murdered, the following murder trial centers round the question of whether the Tropis a form of human or animal.
The author adapted the novel into the play Zoo, which was performed in Paris. Otto Preminger optioned the stage rights and got Nelson Gidding to adapt it under the title The Case of the Troublesome Topis.
Giddings later said he showed the original novel by Jean Bruller writing as "Vercors" to Otto Preminger with the idea of making a film of the book. After they viewed a play based on the novel presented in Carcassonne, Preminger agreed but later became busy with other film projects.
The film was to have been the first major feature film production of ABC Pictures with the film crew planning on shooting in Papua New Guinea where an Australian Army General who Gidding had known in World War II provided extensive cooperation to the production.
One of the producers from ABC Pictures wanted to talk to David about the film at short notice as he was flying to Europe. David refused to meet him due to the medical problems of David's daughter that precluded a meeting; however, David refused to tell the producer why he would not see him. Thinking himself insulted, the producer placed the film on hold with the production of the film being purchased by Universal Pictures who insisted the film be shot in much safer and economical Jamaican locations.
Filming started 6 January 1969.
On the first day of shooting David sacked his director Richard Wilson and replaced him with Gordon Douglas who directed David's In Like Flint. The termination was put down to "creative differences".
After casting Burt Reynolds and Susan Clark, Karl Malden expressed interest in playing the role of Otto Krebs that the screenplay described as a fat man. David thought Malden too thin and hired an actor he thought was corpulent, Roger C. Carmel but was dismayed when Carmel arrived on location having slimmed down for the role.
Burt Reynolds later said the film had a "good script. The guy's a good writer, Lorenzo Semple Jr. Badly directed, kind of sloughed off. Susan Clark was good; she's a good actress. But nobody knew how to sell the picture. Any time you have Pat Suzuki dressed as a small ape, I think you're in trouble."
The film was not a success.
David had a number of films in development at Universal - A Stretch on the River, Marie Beginning, Dove Creek Rodeo and The Tuck - but none were made.