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The film opens with a scene of two gangs meeting in the warehouse district. Title credits begin when the fight starts. The credits continue until the "Dukes" gang runs away. Mark Rydell and Will Kuluva reprised their television roles for the feature film, as did John Cassavetes. Although the screen credits read "And introducing John Cassavetes," he had appeared briefly in the 1953 Twentieth Century-Fox film Taxi (see below). A November 7, 1944 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that Syd Saylor was cast in Crime in the Streets, but he does not appear in the final film. In addition, an April 1955 Hollywood Reporter pre-production news item reported that producer Vincent Fennelly was negotiating with Sidney Lumet, who directed the television episode, to direct the motion picture, and noted that the film would be shot on location in New York City. However, Crime in the Streets was filmed at Samuel Goldwyn Studios in Los Angeles, CA.
According to correspondence in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, in September 1955 Geoffrey Shurlock of the PCA declared the script was unacceptable. In his letter Shurlock stated that "it contains extremes of violence and brutality which would be at complete variance with the Code" and goes "far beyond the dictates of prudence and discretion." On September 13, 1955, Fennelly responded in writing following several discussions with Shurlock. Fennelly agreed to various changes, including the following: "The violence and length of the gang rumble will be lessened. I will be allowed to show two gangs as they are depicted in the script, come towards each other carrying weapons such as sticks, bats, belts, chains, etc., eliminating broken bottles and weapons of this nature....As the fight gets underway, I will let the sound effects take over a dark screen and come in with the main titles."
In addition, Fennelly added that "[t]he murder of Mr. McAllister as planned will remain. The sequence where Frankie Dane, Lou and Baby meet at ten o'clock at night, will be altered to the effect that Mr. McAllister will not be murdered, but will be humiliated by forcing him to lick dirt, scrambling, etc. Lou objects to not following the plan of murder." In his response to Fennelly on September 15, 1955, Shurlock approved the changes, and also requested that "some dialogue be inserted in the ten o'clock sequence, to debunk the idea that the boys who turn their back on the suggestion of murder are chicken. It would be all right for Frankie to make this charge, but it was agreed that somebody, perhaps Baby, will put the matter in its right light." The final film was approved by the PCA on March 14, 1956.