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Before this film's written credits, an offscreen, voice-over narrator states: "In the summer of 1953, it was announced that an atomic bomb of foreign origin had been exploded somewhere outside of the United States. Shortly thereafter it was indicated that this atomic reaction, according to scientific reports, originated in a remote area in North Pacific waters, somewhere between the northern tip of the Japanese Islands and the Arctic Circle. This is the story of that explosion." In his review of the film, New York Times critic Bosley Crowther misquoted the foreword, implying that the film was based on a true story in which announcements about an explosion had been made by the White House and Atomic Energy Commission. According to a February 24, 1954 Variety article, the mistake happened because the studio sent Crowther, who wanted to quote the foreword, a final shooting script of the picture, in which the White House and Atomic Energy Commission were mentioned, rather than a cutting continuity.
According to an April 1953 Hollywood Reporter news item, Charles Boyer was originally cast as "Prof. Montel." Hell and High Water marked the feature film debut of French model Bella Darvi, whose stage surname was a combination of the first names of Twentieth Century-Fox production chief Darryl F. Zanuck and his wife Virginia. According to a May 1954 Daily Variety article, the film was banned in France "on political grounds." The article noted that France had also banned Soviet films with political themes, and that "a number of European countries are sensitive to films with political themes and refuse them exhibition permits rather than rouse the ire of either the U.S. or Russia." On December 24, 1954, however, Hollywood Reporter's "Rambling Reporter" column stated: "Despite elimination of the anti-red angle from Hell and High Water, film is breaking records in Paris." The picture was nominated for an Academy Award nomination in the Special Effects category.