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According to contracts included in the file on the film at USC Cinema-Television Library, Elia Kazan collaborated with Edwin Gilbert on the play, but for reasons that were not made clear in the file, agreed to have his name removed from the credits. The film's working titles were Hot Nocturne and New Orleans Blues. News items in Hollywood Reporter note that the film was originally to star James Cagney and that Dennis Morgan was considered as his replacement. Richard Whorf then replaced John Garfield in the lead. Johnny Mercer received an Academy Award nomination for their song "Blues in the Night."