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Charles L. Clifford's novel first appeared in Redbook in 1937. The working title of this film was The Last Frontier. A December 3, 1936 Hollywood Reporter news item referred to the film as Revolt of Manilla [sic], and a October 30, 1937 Hollywood Reporter news item called it Back of Manilla [sic]. Producer Samuel Goldwyn first announced plans for the film on December 3, 1936, and a May 17, 1937 New York Times news item noted that it was to be shot in color for Goldwyn's 1937-1938 season. Production was delayed numerous times due to script difficulties and once due to an injury sustained by actress Andrea Leeds. Contemporary sources from December 3, 1936 to the beginning of production in April 1939 list many writers who were signed to work on the screenplay, although their contribution to the completed film has not been confirmed. They were: Dudley Nichols, Charles Bennett (who was borrowed from Universal) Sidney Howard, Howard Estabrook, Gene Fowler, Humphrey Cobb, January Fortune and Anthony Veiller. Among the actors considered for or signed for roles in the film, but who did not appear in the completed picture are: Merle Oberon, Keye Luke, Donald Crisp (who was borrowed from Warner Bros.) and Walter Brennan. Hollywood Reporter production charts include Maurice Moscovitch, Thurston Hall and William Stack in the cast, but their participation in the finished film has not been confirmed. Hollywood Reporter news items note that director Henry Hathaway was borrowed from Paramount and that actor Reginald Owen was borrowed from M-G-M.
A August 19, 1938 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that Goldwyn intended to destroy all of the old sets used by Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D. W. Griffith on the United Artists backlot in order to build the Filipino village set. In protest, Griffith wrote to New York's Museum of Modern Art, requesting that they intercede and preserve the sets in permanent collection at the museum. The film's pressbook notes that the backlot set covered six acres. According to the pressbook and Hollywood Reporter news items, the dam blown up by the character "Doctor Bill Canavan" was built in the "Hunt-Salto Canyon, forty-five miles from Hollywood"; Hathaway was in charge of locations at Chatsworth; associate director Richard Talmadge shot chase scenes at Kernville; second unit director Stuart Heisler filmed other action sequences at Point Magu; and background shots from the Philippines, which were "dovetailed" in with the California locations, were provided by Philippine Films, Inc. According to a New York Times article, the scene of the dam being blown up had to be redone, and the "resultant cost of delay and refilming was more than $10,000." A April 26, 1939 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that Archie Mayo would direct two hundred Filipinos in a skirmish. Contemporary sources indicate that approximately 1,200 Filipinos were used as extras in the film, and a New York Times article states that they were supervised by a Seor Demendante and Mrs. Pacita Paredes. Paredes was the daughter-in-law of the Philippine Ambassador to the United States, and the article reported that Goldwyn was considering putting her in the film.
According to a study guide on the film written by Educational and Recreational Guides, Inc., Goldywn spent $200,000 to build the Philippine backlot set. The study guide noted that "This picture, which is based on an incident in the annals of the American Scouts in the Philippines, cost more money ($2,000,000) and took more time (200 eight-hour working days) than the original campaign in 1906!" The study guide also pointed out that Col. William H. Shutan, who acted as the technical advisor, was the former military governor of the island of Mindinao, the location of the film's action. A June 20, 1939 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that The Real Glory was being produced "in two distinct versions, one for the domestic market and a second for the foreign." The foreign version was to emphasize "visual and audible horror aspects of the Philippine uprising in graphic detail," including using a stuntman instead of a dummy for the scene in which the character "Lieutenant Larsen" is eaten alive by ants. The pressbook notes that Curly Eagles, "Hollywood's outstanding authority on insects," was in charge of the 20,000 ants that were used in the scene.
After the film was completed, it was viewed in a special screening by J. M. Elizalde, the Philippine Island Resident Commissioner, at the request of the Philippine president, Manuel Quezon. On behalf of Quezon, Elizalde requested the deletion of scenes that depicted "his people as inferior, morally afraid of the Moro Tribe and reflect[ed] in general against the courage of the Commonwealth." Goldwyn at first refused to make the deletions, but after consulting with aide James Roosevelt, the son of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the producer gave in to the commissioner's request and deleted some sequences. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, a full battery of two hundred artillerymen were scheduled to attend the film's press preview, which was held in Beverly Hills on September 11, 1939. According to a August 29, 1942 Motion Picture Herald news item, when The Real Glory was re-issued in 1942, the Motion Picture Division of the Office of War Information requested that it be withdrawn from distribution "because of scenes in the picture showing conflict between Americans and Filipinos." According to modern sources, the re-issue title was A Yank in the Philippines, and it had to be withdrawn because the Philippine Moros had become allies of the United States during World War II.