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Working titles for this film were Million Dollar Fugitive and Waiting for Lepke. An October 18, 1939 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that Republic Pictures Corp. purchased the rights to "Million Dollar Fugitive," a series of newspaper stories that appeared in the New York World Telegram, written by Jack Foster. Hollywood Reporter noted that the stories were "about the life of Louis Lepke Buchalter, racketeer." Although Fugitive from Justice appears to be about Buchalter, there is no indication that Warner Bros. used Foster's story as the basis for the film. The file for the film in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library indicates that the PCA, in October 1939, urged Warner Bros. to eliminate a number of censorable items from the script, including scenes showing "Ruby" dressed in a "scanty costume"; a gun battle between gangsters and police officers; the offensive portrayal of reporters; the sign "men" over a washroom; police dying at the hands of criminals and the letting of air out of tires. The PCA also warned the studio that "there should be nothing suggestive of a 'pansy' act where Ziggy mentions [that he] wears pink shorts."