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The film's working title was Tambourine. Although the film is set in Los Angeles, a letter is shown during the picture that bears the address: "Marco Torino, Gypsy Quarters, New Market, PA." This was the last film of actor Mikhail Rasumny, who died on February 22, 1956, just before the film's March release. The Variety reviewer noted that the film had "an occasional sociological note on the effect of city living on the free-souled gypsy...however...the footage is assembled to stress a charming, carefree, somewhat roistering existence."
Modern sources add the following information about the film: Jean Evans was the pen name of Jean Abrams, director Nicholas Ray's first wife. In 1949, Ray wrote a treatment based on Evans' original research among the gypsies on New York City's Lower East Side and submitted it to RKO. In 1951, Ray worked with writer Walter Newman on a first draft of a script about urban gypsies which was then entitled No Return. Columbia finally agreed to make the film, but insisted that the script be re-written. Ray then collaborated with Jesse Lasky, Jr. on a new screenplay. Ray had wanted producer Gabriel Pascal to play "Marco Torino," the King of the Gypsies, but Pascal died before the film was made. According to modern sources, Ray also considered Edward G. Robinson for the role, which eventually was portrayed by Luther Adler, a veteran of the Group Theater. Modern sources also add that choreographer Matt Mattox substituted for Cornel Wilde during the dances.