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The working titles of this film were Vespers in Vienna, Storm Over Vienna, The Strange Case of Mary Buhlen, The Case of Maria Buhlen and The Crossroad. According to an April 1947 Los Angeles Times news item, production on the film was initially set to begin before mid-June 1947. An October 1947 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that art director Hans Peters was part of a shooting unit that filmed background footage for the picture in Vienna and Rome. The same news item listed Victor Saville as the film's director. Although some filming took place at Clover Field in California, the rest of the picture was shot entirely at M-G-M's Hollywood studios.
The Red Danube was one of several anti-Communist films made in Hollywood in the early days of the Cold War. For additional information, see entries above and below for The Iron Curtain, The Red Menace and I Married a Communist. The Red Danube received mostly negative reviews in its initial release. The Variety reviewer commented: "Neither a thriller nor a sound propaganda exposition of the totalitarian threat, 'Danube' falls between two chairs, landing the harder because it first wanders in a morass of religious talk." The New York Times reviewer noted that the film inadvertently lampooned the "...Western procedure in the quadripartite administration of Vienna through official blindness to Soviet cunning." The film received an Academy Award nomination in the category of Best Black & White Art Direction-Set Decoration. Walter Pidgeon, Peter Lawford and Janet Leigh recreated their film roles for a March 19, 1951 Lux Radio Theatre version of the story.