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The working titles for the film were Infamy at Sea, Infamy and Terror at Sea. Although the Hollywood Reporter, Variety and Daily Variety reviews indicate a 97 minute running time for the film, copyright records list it as 84 minutes, the approximate running time of the print viewed. Voice-over narration provided by James Mason as "Capt. Edward B. Rumill" is heard intermittently throughout the film. According to a Los Angeles Times article on October 7, 1957, actor Robert Ryan was originally cast as Rumill.
Although the film was set in the 1950s, according to a November 1958 review in the Beverly Hills Citizen News and publicity material on the film, the story was based upon an 1905 actual case history of mutiny aboard the S.S. Berwind. The mutiny, led by Henry Scott, occurred just off Cape Hatteras, as the ship was returning from Cuba to Philadelphia, just off of Cape Hatteras. Scott and two surviving seaman were later tried and found guilty. After Scott was sentenced to death and the seaman sentenced to life imprisonment, Scott confessed to a minister that the seaman did not instigate the mutiny. President Theodore Roosevelt commuted their life sentences, and later the men were pardoned by President Taft. Scott was hanged in 1906. The film was shot on location at Santa Monica Harbor, CA.