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Edgar Wallace's play opened in New York on October 29, 1930 and was published as a novel in 1932. According to Wallace biographers, the play was written in four days and was based on the career of Al Capone. Anna May Wong reprised her stage role from the New York production in the movie. Passages from symphonies by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, played by "Recka" during numerous scenes, were blended into the musical score. Early Hollywood Reporter production charts list Charles Schoenbaum as photographer. According to contemporary sources, Wong capitalized on the success of the film when she toured on behalf of Chinese war relief.