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The working titles of the film were Their Secret Affair and Melville Goodwin, U.S.A., which was the title of the John P. Marquand novel from which the characters were derived. According to a November 1956 New York Times news item, director H. C. Potter claimed that the film's title was changed to reflect that the screenplay no longer resembled the novel, as screenplay writers, Roland Kibbee and Allan Scott saved only the four main characters from the novel and completely rewrote the plot.
According to a October 6, 1955 Daily Variety news item, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall were signed to play the leads in the film for United States Pictures. Although a November 1955 Hollywood Reporter news item stated that production would begin in January 1956, a March 2, 1956 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that Bogart was in the Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles for "throat surgery." His last film, Columbia's The Harder They Fall, was released in April 1956 and he died in January 1957 from cancer of the esophagus. A December 1955 Los Angeles Times news item reported that William Clothier and Mal Bert would serve as cameraman and art director, respectively, and February and March 1956 Hollywood Reporter news items stated that Richard Moder would be assistant director and Howard Shoup would be costume designer. However, none of them were involved in the final film. Although March 1956 Hollywood Reporter and Los Angeles Times news item reported that Keenan Wynn and Walter Matthau would appear in the film, those roles were assumed by Paul Stewart and Jim Backus after the production was later recast with Kirk Douglas and Susan Hayward as the leads.
Although their appearance in the film has not been confirmed, October and November 1956 Hollywood Reporter news items add the following actors to the cast: Ezelle Poule, Mushy Callahan, Herbert Lytton, Alan Craige, Bob Carson and Franklyn Farnum. According to an October 1956 Hollywood Reporter news item, one of the reporters was played by Douglas' stand-in, Foster Phinney, who, according to the news item, always appears briefly in Douglas' films for good luck. However, according to modern sources, neither Douglas nor Hayward used a stand-in for the judo sequence. Longtime director John Cromwell appeared in the film as "Gen. Grimshaw."
In a scene prior to that of the "high government official" interrupting the inquiry, Goodwin sends "Gooch" to deliver a note to the President asking for an intervention in his case. The official is listed as "personage" in the CBCS and is called "Charlie" in the film, but the implication is that the character is the President. The Daily Variety review speculated that Goodwin was fashioned after Gen. George S. Patton. In the Hollywood Reporter review, the resemblance between Time magazine and the film's fictional News World Magazine was noted.
Hollywood Reporter production charts indicated that portions of the film were shot in Santa Maria, CA. An Los Angeles Examiner news item reported that the Beverly Hills estate of E. L. Cord was used in the film. Aerial shots of the Pentagon were also used in the picture.