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A working title for this film was Not Too Narrow, Not Too Deep. The picture was the last of eight films co-starring Clark Gable and Joan Crawford. According to the file for the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, in October 1939, the PCA urged M-G-M not to show scenes of illicit sex, the "reading of the Bible with sarcasm" and the throwing away of the Bible. A March 1940 New York Times news item notes that the Legion of Decency placed the film in the "condemned" category and protested the film's "anaturalistic concept of religion contrary to the teachings of Christ and the Catholic church." A Hollywood Reporter news item indicates that Strange Cargo was banned in Detroit. In England, censors deleted the scene in which the convict discusses the Bible and identifies himself with God. Modern sources indicate that the film was also banned in Boston and Providence, RI. Some filming took place in Pico and Laguna, CA. A biography of producer Joseph L. Mankiewicz quotes him as saying: "It was almost a good film. I wish it could have been made later. It was tough doing any kind of film that even approached reality in any way." According to modern sources, some retakes were shot in mid-January 1940.