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According to information contained in the file for this film at the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library, as of December 17, 1945, Theodore Strauss's story had not yet been published in novel form, but was being prepared for serialization in Hearst's International-Cosmopolitan. It appeared in that magazine in August and September 1946. According to a December 3, 1945 Los Angeles Times news item, Paramount Pictures originally purchased Strauss's story in hope of casting "one of the younger men emerging from the service" in the male lead and hired Strauss to write the screenplay. On November 6, 1946, Los Angeles Times reported that Garson Kanin had intended to purchase the story as a vehicle for John Garfield, but that he had been out-bid by John Farrow, who wanted to produce it as a vehicle for Alan Ladd. According to a February 9, 1947 New York Times news item, Marshall Grant Pictures then acquired the property and hired Vladimir Pozner to write a treatment. The news item also noted that Burt Lancaster was being considered for the male lead. The contribution of Pozner to the completed film has not been confirmed. On February 24, 1947, Los Angeles Times reported that Grant had assigned William A. Wellman to direct the film and was seeking James Stewart for the lead. Variety noted on the same day that Stewart, if signed to star, would cast and direct the film as well. On October 15, 1947, Hollywood Reporter reported that the property had been sold to Charles K. Feldman, who planned to produce it with Frank Borzage for Republic Studios. Lillian Gish was announced as one of the film's stars in January 1948, but she did not appear in the final film. Hollywood Reporter production charts include Art Smith in the cast, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed.
According to copyright information, "The Moonrise Song" was popularized by radio star David Street. According to memos in the MPAA/PCA Collection, the PCA objected to a scene in which a group of children tar-and-feather another child. This scene was excluded from the final print. Republic's sound department, headed by Daniel J. Bloomberg, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Sound Recording.