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Reviews and news items variously list the title as Riff Raff, Riff-Raff and Rifraff. According to various news items in Hollywood Reporter, in late November 1934, Clark Gable and Gloria Swanson were originally announced as the pictures leads, and W. S. Van Dyke was to direct an Anita Loos, John Emerson script. In late May 1931, Tay Garnett was offered the job of directing Riffraff, but refused because he felt the story was "not his style." Bruce Cabot was tested for the lead opposite Jean Harlow in late June 1935, although Spencer Tracy had previously been announced as the lead. News items and production charts included Paul Porcasi, Dorothy Gray, Eileen Carlisle, Polly Bailey, Harry Savoy and James Marquies in the cast, however, their participation in the released film has not been confirmed. One news item noted that the picture was using forty-two contract players, the largest ever used in an M-G-M picture. According to a November 16, 1935 news item, forty female extras in the picture were given $15 checks as compensation for having been drenched in the film's rainstorm sequence after a charge of negligence was brought against M-G-M by Mrs. Mabel Kinney of California's State Industrial Welfare Committee. Mrs. Kinney's action charged that M-G-M should be responsible for possible work loss that some women might face if they became ill after working in the sequence. Parts of the film were shot on location at Fish Harbor in San Pedro, CA.