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According to an article in New York Herald Tribune, technical advisor Andy Lennox was a member of the crew of the submarine Wahoo, whose skipper, Lieutenant Commander Dudley Walker Morton, also offered advice to the filmmakers. After the picture's production, the Wahoo was reported missing in action. The emergency appendectomy performed by "Pills" in the film was inspired by an actual 1942 incident aboard the submarine Seadragon, in which pharmacist's mate W. B. Lipes successfully removed the appendex of seaman Darrell Dean Rector. As in the film, the real operation took place while the vessel was submerged, and was performed by Lipes at the urging of his officers, who felt that Lipes, who had observed appendectomies, was the best person to operate. According to a April 19, 2005 Los Angeles Times obituary of Lipes, he used a strainer and other kitchen equipment to perform the surgery, the first reported operation in a submerged submarine.
Key members of the cast spent time at the submarine base at the Mare Island Navy Yard in San Francisco Bay in order to become familiar with submarine operations. The Copperfin was designed to be an accurate scale model of a working submarine, but in order to confuse the enemy, the equipment and operating apparatus were a mixture of those found on all types of American submarines. A July 26, 1943 Hollywood Reporter news item notes that some scenes were filmed on location in Portuguese Bend near Redondo Beach, CA.
Cary Grant was borrowed from Columbia for this film. A December 3, 1943 Hollywood Reporter news item notes that the film's world premiere, which was held in Pittsburgh, benefitted crippled children. According to a press release included in the file on the film at the AMPAS Library, "Cassidy's" children were played by director Delmer Daves's children, Michael and Deborah. Steve Fisher received an Academy Award nomination for his original story. Modern sources note that President Franklin D. Roosevelt requested that this film make no reference to radar or military electronics.