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A January 1947 Hollywood Reporter news item indicates that Edmund Goulding worked on this film's screenplay for two weeks but left the picture due to a "difference of opinion" with producer Jules Schermer. The extent of Goulding's contribution to the final film has not been determined. Charles Vidor directed the first three weeks of filming, but was replaced by Harry Levin following a dispute with Columbia production executive Harry Cohn. The feud was viewed by many as an extension of a dispute that began in 1946, when Vidor sued Columbia for termination of his contract, and when Columbia responded with a countersuit. In a public statement issued by Columbia and printed in Hollywood Reporter in March 1947, the studio said that it was "dissatisfied with the progress being made with Mr. Vidor in the shooting of the picture." Vidor responded to the studio's charges by stating that he had been given a mere 48-day shooting schedule, and that "such a picture could not be made in under 75 days." Vidor also stated that Columbia deliberately cast Glenn Ford in the picture knowing that animosity existed betweeen the two men since Ford testified as a character witness against Vidor in Columbia's 1946 countersuit. The legal matter remained unresolved for over three years. During that period, Vidor formed an independent production unit, The Beckworth Corp., but made only one film, The Loves of Carmen. In 1949, when Vidor refused to direct The Petty Girl, Columbia suspended him and sued him for breach of contract. On October 17, 1949, the day that Columbia's suit against Vidor was to go to trial, Daily Variety reported that a settlement had been brokered by M-G-M production chief Louis B. Mayer. Mayer reportedly intervened in the dispute in order to "avert a repetition of the name-calling and black headlines that marked the last Columbia-Vidor court fight." In exchange for the abrogation of his contract with Columbia, Vidor agreed to pay the studio $15,000 a year for five years.
A February 1947 news item in Los Angeles Examiner noted that Melvyn Douglas was set as Ford's co-star. According to a May 1947 Hollywood Reporter news item, an explosion and fire destroyed part of the film's Jay Corrigan Ranch location set in Simi Valley, CA, and resulted in the hospitalization of bit actress Helen M. Gereghty. Gereghty's participation in the final film has not been confirmed. Columbia borrowed William Holden from Paramount for the production.