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The film's working title was Rough Sketch. When the film was released, some viewers protested that the picture was Communist propaganda. The Hollywood Reporter review called it "the heaviest dish of Red theory ever served to an audience outside the Soviet" and "a shameful handbook of Marxian dialectics." In a May 12, 1949 Los Angeles Examiner article, the Los Angeles district of the Federation of Women's Clubs is quoted as saying to Columbia head Harry Cohn that the film "can certainly be interpreted as a call to direct action by revolution against today's governments that are friendly to the United States." Modern sources report a rumor that Gene Kelly was slated to star in the film. Director John Huston and producer Sam Spiegel, whose pseudonym was S. P. Eagle, were partners in Horizon Pictures.