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According to the New York Times review, the character of "Johnny Blake" was based on the real life policeman Johnny Broderick, sometimes known as "The Duke" or "The toughest cop on Broadway." Writer Martin Mooney, a New York City reporter, uncovered the Welfare Island Prison scandal and spent time in jail as a result of his muckraking. His front page stories exposing racketeering provided the basis for the script. The "Al Kruger" character was based on notorious gangster Dutch Schultz. Motion Picture Herald's "In the Cutting Room," listed William Harrigan and Pierre Watkin in the cast, but their final participation has not been confirmed.