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According to a Motion Picture Daily news item, when Darryl Zanuck, 20th Century Pictures, vice-president in charge of production, bought Rowland Brown's unpublished story "Bail Bond," he gave Brown an option to direct. According to a Variety news item, the unpublished story "Bail Me Out," also about the bail bond racket, by reporter Speed Kendall, was purchased for the use of several of its scenes for this film. That story originally was submitted to Warner Bros. when Zanuck was with that studio. This was Judith Anderson's first film. Reviews note that this was George Bancroft's first film in over a year. According to Hollywood Reporter news items, Loretta Young and Claire Luce were scheduled to be in the film at various times, and Tallulah Bankhead was offered the female lead. The Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Theater Arts Library notes that Luce tested for the role of "Elaine." Variety commented, "Parts of the narrative were evidently left in the cutting room, as pressbook, for example, mentions a county jail from which Bancroft escapes. This isn't in the picture at all." Variety also speculated that some of Blossom Seeley's scenes were cut.
According to a memo in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, the Maryland State Motion Picture Board initially banned this film on the grounds that it was "salacious and would incite law-abiding citizens to crime." The ruling was appealed by the Baltimore United Artists manager to Judge Samuel K. Dennis of the Baltimore City Court, who reversed the censor board's decision. While Judge Dennis stated in his decision that the film was "ineffective" as far as inciting anyone to commit crimes, he called it "objectionable on the grounds of extreme stupidity and dullness rather than on moral grounds." Bernard B. Gough, the chairman of the censor board, stated that he could not appeal the reversal because the law made no provision for an appeal. In 1934, this film was on the first list of films banned for members of the Catholic Church's Legion of Decency. In July 1935, PCA Director Joseph Breen ruled that the film was in violation of both the spirit and letter of the Production Code because of "the portrayal of a crook as the sympathetic leading character, and the complete absence of any attempt to portray the forces of law and order as opposing his illegal activities."