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Although Herbert Ravenel Sass's short story was loosely based on the adventures of real-life pirate Anne Bonny (1700-?), the film is not a biography of Bonny, nor of Edward Teach, more commonly known as Blackbeard (d. 1718). According to 1948 New York Times news items, producer Walter Wanger originally purchased Sass's story as a vehicle for Susan Hayward, but shelved the project because of its large budget. Information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, located at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library, indicates that Guy Endore wrote a treatment of Anne of the Indies for Wanger, but that his work was not included in Wanger's sale of the property to Twentieth Century-Fox in May 1950. Screenplays by January Fortune, written for Wanger, were included in the sale, athough the extent of Fortune's contribution to the released picture has not been determined. According to the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collections, also at UCLA, studio production chief Darryl F. Zanuck instructed the writers to incorporate unused footage shot for the 1942 Twentieth Century-Fox pirate film The Black Swan, starring Tyrone Power (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50).
In a December 28, 1950 conference, Zanuck indicated that Valentina Cortese was being considered for the role of "Anne." Although contemporary sources include Lynn Davies in the cast as a "Carib woman," she does not appear in the completed film. Studio publicity includes the following actors in the cast, although their appearance in the released picture has not been confirmed: Michael O'Brien, Mercer Barnes, Harold Hatfield, Earl Audet, Roy Jensen and Guy Way.
Other films featuring Anne Bonny as a character include the 1945 RKO picture The Spanish Main, directed by Frank Borzage and starring Maureen O'Hara (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50), and the 1995 Carolco picture Cutthroat Island directed by Renny Harlin and starring Geena Davis.