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The opening and closing cast credits are presented in a slightly different order following Alec Guinness' name. According to biographies of Guinness and Daphne Du Maurier, M-G-M hoped to cast Cary Grant in the lead, but Du Maurier had always envisioned Guinness playing the dual roles. The Guinness biography also mentions that the actor directed portions of the picture. Hollywood Reporter casting charts add Gerald James to the cast, but his appearance in the film has not been confirmed. The film was shot on location in France and at M-G-M British Studios.
According to information contained in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, there was concern over allowing the "Countess's" drug addiction to remain in the film, as well as "Bella" clearly being "Jacques's" mistress and the suggestion that she becomes intimately involved with "John" as well. The PCA insisted that "Jacques's" murder was to be implied as self defense and a scripted scene that called for "John" to dispose of Jacques's body in the foundry furnace was excised at the PCA's behest.
The film adaptation of The Scapegoat differed from Du Maurier's novel in several ways: In the book John's impersonation of Jacques lasts only one week and Jacques does not kill "Francoise," her death is legitimately accidental. As in both the book and the film, Jacques is interested in gaining his wife's inheritance, but in the book John convinces Jacques to realize his potential and to embrace his family before they are lost to him. Similarly, in the book, Jacques provides John the opportunity to start his life over as he has impersonated John in England and caused several changes in John's life.