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Author Lewis E. Lawes was warden of Sing Sing Prison for many years and allowed the filmmakers to shoot scenes inside the prison, including mob scenes. He wrote another book, entitled Life and Death in Sing Sing (Garden City, NY, 1928), about his prison experiences. According to production reports in the file on the film at the AMPAS Library, the film took thirty days to shoot and was made for a total cost of $215,000. According to modern sources, James Cagney was first choice for the role of Tommy Connors, but when a salary dispute kept Cagney from playing the part, Tracy was cast in the lead. Shots of the exterior of Sing Sing were intercut with studio recreations, according to modern sources. Modern sources list as additional cast members: Rockcliffe Fellows, Lucille Collins, Clarence Wilson and James Donlan. The film was remade by First National as Castle on the Hudson in 1940.