- "Ah Still Suits Me" was written especially for the film to give Paul Robeson a larger role.
- In the scene, where "Ah Still Suits Me" is sung, we can see an "Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix" box standing on the Table. Aunt Jemima played the role of Queenie in Show Boat (1929) and on Broadway in the original Ziegfeld production.
- Carl Laemmle was ousted from Universal by a new takeover just after this film was completed. He retired from films the day after its release, as did his 28-year-old son, who never produced another film.
- Special permission had to be granted from the Hays Office in order to retain the famous "miscegenation" sequence in the film. Miscegenation was banned as a film subject and the scene had been excluded from the 1929 film version.
- Because of copyright problems involving a real "Cotton Blossom" show boat sailing the Mississippi in the 1930's, the name of the showboat in the film had to be changed to "Cotton Palace". This required omitting the second half of the opening chorus, in which the townspeople sing about the boat while the stevedores continue singing about their daily work, and the "cotton blossom" growing on the levee. The section sung by the stevedores is still heard in the film.
- Of all the films that he directed, this was James Whale's favorite.
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