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The following written acknowledgment appears in the onscreen credits: "Our thanks to the Texas Film Commmission, and in particular to Warren Skaaren, Executive Director, for his cooperation in the making of this film." An August 1971 Hollywood Reporter news item stated that Peter Bogdanovich was to direct The Getaway which was to be released by Paramount. A November 1971 Daily Variety article noted that Paramount had withdrawn from negotiations to produce and distribute the film and National General had taken over the release. By December 1971, Hollywood Reporter reported that Sam Peckinpah was the film's director. Actor Steve McQueen and Peckinpah had worked together in 1971 on the Cinerama production of Junior Bonner. The Getaway marked the first project for McQueen as part of First Artists, a company formed by actors Paul Newman, Barbra Streisand, Sidney Poitier and McQueen.
According to Filmfacts, Jack Palance was intially cast in the film but was replaced by Al Lettieri prior to production. The article also added that Jerry Fielding had composed the film's original score, which was discarded by McQueen, who then commissioned Quincy Jones for a new score. Filmfacts added that later reports indicated that McQueen had had the film re-edited and that Peckinpah at some point threatened to have his name removed from the credits. Gordon T. Dawson's credits read "Associate Producer and 2d Unit Director." Although onscreen credits list John Bryson's character as "The Accountant," and "Jack Beynon" introduces him to "Doc McCoy" as his brother, Bryson's character is never called by name. In the same scene when Doc arrives, a henchmen alerts Beynon by calling "Claude," but no one has that name in the film. Jim Thompson's source novel was set in the 1940s, and, according to Filmfacts, the film initially was to be set in the 1940s as well. The Getaway was shot on location at Huntsville prison, San Marcos, San Antonio and El Paso, TX. Modern sources as Hal Smith and Tommy Splittgerber to the cast.
As recounted in numerous contemporary and modern sources, during filming of The Getaway, McQueen became romantically involved with co-star Ali MacGraw, who was married to producer and Paramount chief-of-production Robert Evans. McQueen's fifteen-year marriage to actress Neile Adams had been strained for some time and six weeks into the production, their divorce became final. MacGraw divorced Evans by the end of 1972 and in August 1973 married McQueen. MacGraw did not make another film until 1978 after her marriage with McQueen ended. In 1994, a remake of The Getaway, co-written by Walter Hill, was produced by Universal Pictures, starring then husband-and-wife Alec Baldwin and Kim Bassinger, directed by Roger Donaldson.