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According to Motion Picture Herald, the running time of the film at its press preview was 103 min., with the understanding that further cutting would be done. Film Daily reported that Florence Rice was originally cast in the role of Janet Grayson, but was forced to leave the film due to a sudden illness. According to a Daily Variety news item, assistant director Nate Watt testified at a National Labor Relations Board investigation in 1938 that he directed the mob scenes in this film; the investigation was concerned with the question of whether assistant directors were ever called on to direct scenes. This was the final film of star John Gilbert, whose career waned during the early sound era. Modern sources state that director Lewis Milestone fought with studio boss Harry Cohn over the casting of Gilbert in the role of the alcoholic writer, as the actor himself suffered from the same illness. Once production began, Milestone stated that filming was constantly delayed by the drinking of not only Gilbert, but that of other cast members Victor McLaglen, Leon Errol, Walter Catlett and Walter Connolly. When Cohn learned of the escalating costs, he telegrammed Milestone: "Hurry up. The costs are staggering." Milestone purportedly replied, "So is the cast." Modern sources also indicate that the film was partially shot on location at San Pedro Harbor, California.