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The working titles of this film were Out of Gas and No More Gas. Pre-production news items in Hollywood Reporter report the following information about the production: Islin Auster was originally slated to produce this film, which was to feature Charles Laughton and his wife, Elsa Lanchester. Maureen O'Hara was also considered for the female lead. Charles Vidor was borrowed from Columbia to direct the film and romantic lead Jon Hall was borrowed from Goldwyn for the production. An October 1941 Hollywood Reporter news item adds that Robert Carson was signed to collaborate on the screenplay after script problems threatened the start of production. When production finally began on November 7, 1941, Sol Lesser took over the production reins from Auster, who had already begun preparation for the film. This was Lesser's first production effort since joining RKO in 1941. According to a January 27, 1942 news item in Hollywood Reporter, production had to be suspended in late January when actress Peggy Drake was stricken with pneumonia.
The file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library indicate that the PCA ordered the elimination of any bloodshed during the cockfight sequence in the film. Although New York Times noted that the studio changed the characters in Charles Nordoff and James Norman Hall's novel from mixed Polynesian blood to Caucasians because the Hays office did not approve miscegenation, there is no correspondence regarding this change in the PCA files.