A number of pieces of the set, including those used for the rooftop chase, were sold to the production of The Matrix (1999) at the end of shooting.
There were many deliberate anachronisms to give the viewer a feeling of confusion about the time period of the film.
New Line Cinema forced Alex Proyas to include the opening narration by Kiefer Sutherland, which gives away several plot reveals. Proyas objected to it, saying it was unnecessary, and he subsequently removed the narration from his director's cut.
Has one of the shortest Average shot lengths (ASL) of any modern narrative production at 1.8 seconds. This means there is a cut almost every 2 seconds.
An over-sized version of Dr. Schreber's syringe (roughly a meter long) was built for the close up shots of the needle being extended so that its surface details would be visible in the focal plane of the camera lens.
The name of Kiefer Sutherland's character, Daniel Schreber, is the same as that of an author of an early twentieth century book entitled "Memoirs of My Nervous Illness". He wrote it while he was institutionalized for schizophrenia, originally as an argument for his release. The book has become standard reading for many psychiatrists and psychologists, and many of the theories of both Sigmund Freud and Carl Gustav Jung were based on it (Freud never actually met Schreber, though). "Dark City" borrows heavily from the concept of "fleetingly-improvised men" which are found within Schreber's "Memoirs".
Alex Proyas got the idea for the buildings changing and growing while the crew was moving pieces of the set around during filming of The Crow (1994).
Roger Ebert called this movie the Best Film of 1998. He recorded a special audio commentary track for the DVD release of the movie.
Mr. Sleep is played by twins, a girl (Satya Gumbert) and her brother (Noah Gumbert). Both were fond of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), and they (and the rest of the cast and crew) were frequently entertained by Richard O'Brien, who played Mr. Hand in this film and Riff Raff in "Rocky Horror", with recitations from that film.
(at around 10 mins) The music which Inspector Bumstead is playing on his accordion in his very first scene in the movie is a song written in 1939 by a Polish-Jewish composer Jerzy Petersburski which was originally called "Mala blekitna chusteczka" ("Little Blue Handkerchief"). The lyrics were later translated (with slight differences) to many languages and it became especially popular in Soviet WWII era under the title "Siniy Platochek" ("Blue scarf"). The song lyrics tell about an unhappy, lonely man who wanders aimlessly around the world thinking about his lost love which is gone forever. His only memento of his beloved one is the blue handkerchief from the title. As the movie is about our memories, the song actually fits the movie mood quite well.
The filmmakers cite 1940s-50s films noir (particularly The Maltese Falcon (1941)) and the sci-fi features Metropolis (1927) The Twilight Zone (1959) and Akira (1988) as an influence on the film.
Although Alex Proyas wrote the original screenplay, very little of the plot was retained (besides the fact that the lead is wanted for murders). Lem Dobbs wrote the final draft and reformed the plot as it appears in the film with the exception of the special effects sequences. Although the powers of the Strangers were alluded to they would never actually be depicted. David S. Goyer was hired to write the shooting script when they had secured a bigger budget. He added all the action scenes that appear in the film and which show explicitly the operating background of the Dark City.
The number of the motel room in which John Murdoch wakes up at the start of the film is 614. In the Bible, John Chapter 6, Verse 14 talks about the coming of the Savior.
The main character, John Murdoch, shares the name, and the quest, of a Scottish liberal in the 1870s and 1880s. The Scottish Murdoch led a major campaign for Scottish farmers to own their own land.
In his Bluray commentary for The Crow (1994), Alex Proyas recollected that he had the idea for Dark City in his head while filming The Crow. He later stated, in an unrelated moment, that he and Brandon Lee would often take breaks from filming (to a local cinema) and would talk about future projects that they would have liked to have done together after filming on The Crow was complete. One can then assume that Brandon Lee would have played the lead character of John Murdoch in Dark City, Alex Proyas' next film, if his fatal accident hadn't have happened.
American heavy metal band Iced Earth wrote a song titled "Dark City" that is directly inspired from the movie. The song is from their 2011 release "Dystopia" and features the lyrics, "Experimenting to understand the human soul, endangered they'll fade away" and "Fill our heads with false identity, synchronizing our confusion".
The film was originally going to be released in the fall of 1997, which is presumably why it bears an MCMXCVII (1997) copyright year in the credits.
The song from the film's trailer is "Sleep Now" by Hughes Hall. The song was also used in the trailer for the B-movie Talisman (1998).
This was the last movie watched by Argentine rock idol Gustavo Cerati before he suffered a stroke that left him in a coma for four years, which resulted in his death.
The repeated theme of circles and spirals noted elsewhere, and established by the blood patterns left on the bodies of the murdered hookers, the scrawls the obsessed Walenski has on his walls and in his office notes, and the repeated closeups of fingerprint whorls, is culminated and resolved at the end, when the wisps of cloud visible over the city take the form of a broken spiral.