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The working titles of this film were The Shores of Tripoli and Tripoli. After the opening credits, narrator Lowell Thomas announces that the picture was photographed on location at the Marine Base in San Diego, CA, and that it is dedicated to Marines "everywhere, past and present" and especially to those who fought on Wake Island. According to studio publicity, "The Marine's Hymn" and "Semper fidelis" were performed for the film by the San Diego Marine Band.
A July 22, 1941 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that the studio was negotiating with George Raft for the picture's "top male role," while in September 1941, Hollywood Reporter announced that Pat O'Brien would be in the cast. Although studio publicity and Hollywood Reporter news items include Marissa Flores, Barry Norton and O. Z. Whitehead in the cast, their appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed. The picture marked the screen debut of actor Henry Morgan, also known as Henry "Harry" Morgan and later known as Harry Morgan. Morgan is best known for his portrayal of "Col. Potter" in the long-running television series M*A*S*H.
December 1941 Hollywood Reporter news items reported that after the attack on Pearl Harbor, second unit director James Havens and his crew became trapped in Honolulu, HI, where they had gone to photograph background footage for this film. For several days, the studio did not know if the men were safe, but on December 12, 1941, Hollywood Reporter announced that none of the crew had been injured. Several days later, Hollywood Reporter noted that two thousand feet of film shot by Havens' crew had been seized by the Navy, but on January 21, 1942, a Hollywood Reporter news item declared that the film had been reviewed by Navy officials and returned to the studio. Edward Cronjager and William V. Skall received Academy Award nominations for Cinematography (Color) for their work on To the Shores of Tripoli.
According to a April 1, 1942 Hollywood Reporter news item, the studio intended to make a Technicolor recruiting short for the Marine Corps with unused footage from To the Shores of Tripoli. The short was to be narrated by Tyrone Power and written by Lamar Trotti. April and June 1942 Hollywood Reporter news items noted that the film was helping to increase the number of new recruits entering the Marines. A August 24, 1942 Hollywood Reporter news item stated that writer Jack Andrews and producer Milton Sperling were working on a story entitled "Battle Stations," which was to tell the story of the Marine Corps between the two World Wars and be a "follow-up" to To the Shores of Tripoli. That film was not produced, however.