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The film's pre-release title was The Men Behind. A news item in Hollywood Reporter notes that Michael Curtiz substituted for Lloyd Bacon while he was on his honeymoon. The film is loosely based on the story of gangster Lucky Luciano (Charles Lucania), who was convicted in 1936 of running a prostitution racket. District Attorney Thomas A. Dewey turned the investigation into one of the most sensational trials of the decade, with almost one hundred women turning state's evidence. His success led to his successful campaign for the governorship of New York. The studio purchased the rights to a Liberty magazine series on Luciano, but censorship problems forced some changes, including a switch in the women's profession from prostitutes to "nightclub hostesses."
This was Bette Davis's first film after her famous court case against Warner Bros. After she won an Academy Award for her performance in Dangerous, Davis felt that she was entitled to certain privileges, such as an increased salary, more vacation time, the right to do one outside picture a year and more say in which parts she played. When the studio refused to write a new contract, Davis turned down a role in God's Country and the Woman, and left for England, where she had been offered work by producer Ludovic Toeplitz. Warner Bros. sued her for breach of contract and Davis lost the case. Warner Bros. records indicate that Jane Wyman was originally cast as "Florrie." According to Warner Bros. files, Wallis felt that bit player Hymie Marks, formerly a gangster and henchman of Lucky Luciano, did not look menacing enough for the role he played in the film. Although the Call Bureau Cast Service lists Wendell Niles in the role of the news commentator, Warner Bros. studio records credit Ken Niles with the role. It was on this picture that Humphrey Bogart met Mayo Methot, whom he later married. Modern sources credit James Gibbons and Robert Burks with special effects. The film was re-issued with Dust Be My Destiny in 1947.