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According to an April 1954 Daily Variety item, Universal originally planned to base The Purple Mask on the 1920 Matheson Lang play of the same name, which was an adaptation of Paul Armont and Jean Manoussi's play Le chavalier au masque. The onscreen credits, however, read: "Based on Le chevalier au masque, a play by Paul Armont and Jean Moussi and adaptation thereof by Charles Latour entitled The Purple Mask."
Although an April 1948 Variety news item stated that Nunnally Johnson was to produce The Purple Mask for Universal, he was not involved in the production. According to a June 1951 Hollywood Citizen-News article, Errol Flynn wanted to play "Rene" but was warned by his doctor not to take the physically demanding role. Daily Variety reported in November 1954 that, for the scenes in the Paris sewer, Universal used a set that had not been seen since the 1925 movie The Phantom of the Opera (see the AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30). Some scenes were shot on location in Chico, CA. A November 1954 Hollywood Reporter news item adds January Arvan to the cast, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed.