powered by AFI
The film opens with the following quotation from Walt Whitman: "Have you not learned great lessons from those who brace themselves against you, and disputed the passage with you?" The opening credits also include the following message from Lloyd C. Douglas, the writer of the novel on which the film was based: "Dear Paramount, thank you so much for preserving the full flavor of Disputed Passage in this beautiful picture. Those who liked the characters in the book will be glad to see them come to life here." According to an article in Los Angeles Times, Robert Preston was originally to have portrayed the role of "John Wesley Beaven." Although the film credits Dr. E. Y. Chung with the role of "Dr. Ling" and Philip Ahn with the role of "Dr. Fung," the copyright records reverse those roles. News items in Hollywood Reporter add that Gordon Jones, an ex-UCLA gridiron star, won a contract for his work on this film. The picture also marked the acting debut of Lee Ya-Ching, an activist for Chinese relief. On 25 March 1940,Lux Radio Theatre presented a radio version of this story starring Alan Ladd. According to modern sources, director Frank Borzage was loaned from M-G-M, and location shooting was done in the San Fernando Valley and at the UCLA campus.