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The working title of this film was Ferguson. An August 1949 Hollywood Reporter news item announced that location filming was planned in South America, but no filming took place there. A January 1950 Daily Variety news item indicates that Cary Grant was coached by Dr. Tracy Putnam for the brain surgery sequences. According to a memo in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, a version of the script submitted to the PCA for review in October 1949 was deemed "unacceptable" under the provisions of the Production Code. The Breen Office stated that the primary reason for the rejection was the lie told by "Dr. Eugene Ferguson" about the death of "Raoul Farrago" and the presentation of Ferguson's intentional murder of Farrago as having been justifiable. As a solution to problem, the Breen Office suggested that the script be amended to have Ferugson "make a last-minute, desperate effort to force information concerning his wife from the tyrant at the threat of gun point." Regional censorship reports indicate that the film was banned in Colombia for political reasons, and in Peru and Mexico because it was deemed "derogatory" to Latin America.
The film marked the directorial debut of screenwriter Richard Brooks, who went on to direct, write and produce several highly-acclaimed films, including The Blackboard Jungle (1955) and In Cold Blood (1967). Crisis also marked the first major role in twenty-three years for silent film star Antonio Moreno, who last appeared in an M-G-M film in 1926. Gilbert Roland and Ramon Novarro were also silent screen stars. Phyllis Hill, who at the time of the film's production was the real-life wife of Jos Ferrer, made her screen debut in the film.
Modern sources provide the following additional information about the production: Brooks visited several South American countries in 1949 to research the film. Brooks's plans to shoot the film on location in Colombia were opposed by producer Arthur Freed, who persuaded Brooks to keep his first film as director on the studio lot. Spencer Tracy was initially considered for the part played by Grant. Actress Sylvia Sidney tested for the role played by Signe Hasso, and actress Nancy Davis was also tested for a role. Grant was paid $200,000 for his work. Brooks, fearing that he would be replaced as director on the film at the slightest provocation, initially refused medical attention when a heavy camera crane ran over his foot during production. Brooks encountered many difficulties on the set as a first-time director, often finding himself engaged in bitter arguments with some of the more experienced members of the production crew, including cameraman Ray June and art director Cedric Gibbons. In a modern interview, Brooks claimed that the crane incident was not an accident. The film was completed at a cost of just over $1,600,000, and lost $713,000 in its first run. Robert Taylor and Paula Raymond starred in a April 21, 1952 Lux Radio Theatre adaptation of the story.