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In the film's credits, "Zero" the dog's credit reads: "'Pard' as portrayed by Zero." A memo from associate producer Mark Hellinger to executive producer Hal Wallis suggests that due to favorable publicity generated by Ida Lupino's role in They Drive by Night, she should be billed above Humphrey Bogart who, up to this point, had starred in "B" pictures. Lupino was billed in first position, but Bogart's performance as "Roy Earle" established him as a star in the opinion of many critics and in later releases, he was billed above Lupino. The film marked the first time Cornel Wilde was billed on the screen.
A Hollywood Reporter news item dated March 18, 1940 states that Warner Bros. purchased W. R. Burnett's novel for $25,000. According to studio memos reprinted in a modern source, Paul Muni and George Raft were offered the lead, but turned it down. Modern sources report that George Raft turned down the role because he was tired of getting killed in the last reel and add that James Cagney and Edward G. Robinson also rejected the part. Modern sources note that some scenes were shot on location at Big Bear Lake and Lake Arrowhead in California. In 1949 Raoul Walsh directed another version of W. R. Burnett's novel entitled Colorado Territory. A third version, I Died a Thousand Times, was directed by Stuart Heisler in 1955. That film starred Jack Palance and Shelley Winters.