powered by AFI
Eleanore Griffin's original story, which was titled "Crocus Hill," was purchased by Harry Sherman in 1943 for a United Artists release, according to a Film Daily news item. Sherman sold the rights to Twentieth Century-Fox in September 1943. Hollywood Reporter news items reveal the following about the production: Actors considered for the role of "Tony Angelo" included Brian Donlevy, Michael O'Shea, James Cagney and Fred MacMurray, and actresses considered for a leading role included Merle Oberon and Lynn Bari. Gregory Ratoff was originally set to direct the picture, and in late April 1944, he was scheduled to travel to New York to test theater actress Nancy Nugent for a part. Hollywood Reporter news items and studio press releases include the following actors and dancers in the film, although their participation in the completed picture has not been confirmed: Chester Conklin, Neal Hart, Jack Richardson, John Ince, Pat R. McGee, Elinor Troy, Carol Hartsook, Bess Flowers, John Merkyl, Dorothy Costello, Ruth Costello, Fred Steele, Red Shellac, Valerie Traxler, Evelyn Eager, and The Troupers, a dance group consisting of Jimmy Cross, Les Clark, Merrill Long and Jack Barnett. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection and Records of the Legal Department, both located at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library, Henry Morgan was signed to play a character named "Goofy Gus," but that role does not appear in the completed film. Studio records and other contemporary sources also note that famed comedy team Joe Smith and Charlie Dale were scheduled to perform their well-known "Dr. Cronkhite" skit, with Veda Ann Borg performing as a nurse. Although Smith and Dale are in the picture, neither the skit nor Borg appears in the released film. Another skit, the "Hungarian Rhapsody," which was to feature the team and actors George E. Stone and George McKay, also was eliminated. Studio records reveal that the film's opening, during which singers and saloons on a Barbary Coast street are shown, is the same footage used to open the 1943 Twentieth Century-Fox film Hello Frisco, Hello. The legal files also note that William Rankin, the ex-husband of writer Eleanore Griffin, filed suit claiming that Griffin had plagiarized "Crocus Hill" from a story written by him. Rankin's attempt to obtain an injunction to prevent Twentieth Century-Fox from making the film was unsuccessful, although the disposition of his suit against Griffin and Harry Sherman is not known.