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The working title of this film was Carriage Entrance. According to April 1949 Hollywood Reporter news items, when Howard Hughes, who had recently become the head of RKO, learned that the studio had purchased Polan Banks's novel and screenplay and had entered into a three-picture independent producing contract with him, he abrogated the deal. While contemporary sources state that Hughes objected to the deal because the story was a potentially expensive period piece, modern sources contend that Hughes did not like Ann Sheridan, who was contractually attached to Banks. As part of its renegotiated contract with Banks, RKO agreed to take over his commitment to Sheridan, who had recently left Warner Bros., but made Banks a one-time studio producer. In addition to earning a $150,000 salary, plus ten percent of the picture's profits, Sheridan's contract stipulated that she was to have approval on script, director and male lead. Robert Young was hired as her co-star, but dropped out in July 1949, causing the production to be delayed. According to a November 1949 Hollywood Reporter news item, Sheridan provided RKO with a list of five actors she would consider as Young's replacement, including Franchot Tone, John Lund, Charles Boyer, Richard Conte and Robert Mitchum. Although Mitchum was ultimately cast, Sheridan was replaced by Ava Gardner, borrowed from M-G-M, in August 1949.
In July 1949, Hollywood Reporter announced that Nicholas Ray was taking over direction from Robert Stevenson because of Stevenson's prior commitment to RKO's Jet Pilot, but after the delay in production, Ray was replaced by Stevenson because of his own scheduling conflicts with In a Lonely Place. The role of "Corinne" was first assigned to Gloria Grahame, but Janis Carter took over the part after Grahame was cast in In a Lonely Place. RKO borrowed Carter from Columbia for the production. On November 22, 1949, a week after the end of principal photography, Hollywood Reporter announced that Sheridan was suing RKO for $350,000 for breach of contract, claiming that the studio had "arbitrarily, wrongfully and unreasonably" violated its deal with her. According to modern sources, Sheridan won her suit, which also guaranteed her a role in a later RKO film, Appointment in Honduras . My Forbidden Past lost $700,000 at the box office, according to modern sources.