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As the print viewed was a re-release print, the onscreen credits were taken from a screen credit billing sheet in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library. The main character in this film is based on the gambler Arnold Rothstein, who, according to modern sources, acted as a go-between for businessmen and criminals in their dealings with New York politicians and police. Rothstein was reported to have devised the Black Sox scandal during the 1919 World Series. He was shot during a poker game and died two days later, November 6, 1928, without revealing his killer. Variety noted that at the time of the film's release, Rothstein's murder was still unsolved and commented that the character "Murray Golden," "resembles the noted Broadway gambling man in his moods and methods, many of which will be recognized by those who knew or studied him." New York Times called Spencer Tracy's portrayal "as thorough a characterization as has been seen on the screen."
According to information in the legal files, on July 11, 1933, Fox took out an option on a story to be written by Mrs. Carolyn Behar, formerly Mrs. Arnold Rothstein, which would "exploit and describe the activities, incidents and events in the life of Arnold Rothstein." A separate agreement gave Fox the right to furnish a ghostwriter to work with Behar if the work was not completed by October 1, 1933. The book, which was also entitled Now I'll Tell and published by the Vanguard Press on May 3, 1934, was written by Behar under the name Mrs. Arnold Rothstein, in collaboration with Donald Henderson Clarke. Fox obtained all rights to the book, except publication rights. Behar read the shooting script by Edwin Burke, which was finished before her book was completed, and signed a statement that read, "Some of the incidents included in the continuity are not based on real facts or incidents in the life of the late Arnold Rothstein and as to these incidents, I do not make any representations to the public or otherwise that they are true, but if these incidents are used in the picture, I will have no objection to their use, provided, I am not called upon to state to the public that they are actual happenings."
In an affidavit relating to a plagiarism claim concerning the ending of the film, Burke stated that the ending he wrote was developed from a suggestion made by Rothstein's black secretary, Thomas Farley. Fox had authorized Burke to travel to New York to interview Farley and some underworld characters, and Farley related an incident in which he found Rothstein fooling with a revolver in his office. Farley told him, "If I were you, Mr. Rothstein, I would not use that revolver," and Rothstein replied, "If I had any guts, I would use it." They left the office together and took a taxi, and when, at an intersection, Rothstein left the taxi, he was almost struck by a couple of cars. Burke stated in the affidavit that the film's ending was derived from that incident.
This was the only complete film that Burke, a Fox contract writer, directed; the previous year, he had co-directed retakes on Hello Sister!. According to the legal records, Fox hired a camera crew consisting of Sol Halprin and Larry Williams to take various shots of New York and the vicinity for this film and One More Spring (see below). Fox also received permission to take certain shots and stills of the interior of "Lindy's Restaurant" to be used in the film. Allen Jenkins was to be loaned by Warner Bros. for a role, but the agreement was not executed.