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Thomas Walsh's novel was originally published in The Saturday Evening Post under the title Manhattan Madness. The working titles of this film were Manhattan Madness and Nightmare in Manhattan. According to a pre-production Los Angeles Times news item, John Lund was at one time considered for the lead role. Hollywood Reporter news items reported that Alan Ladd was initially considered for the lead, and Wandra Hendrix was cast as "Lorna." Union Station marked the feature film debut of character actor Robert Cornthwaite (1917-2006), who was billed as Robert R. Cornthwaite. Technical advisor E. W. Smith worked as a lieutenant in the Los Angeles police force.
Many scenes were shot on location in and around Los Angeles, most notably Union Station, and the L.A. Union Depot and Stockyards. Other locations included Griffith Park in Los Angeles, Saugus, a train station in Pasadena, which doubled for the "Westhampton" station in the film, and an East Los Angeles station. The Los Angeles Times review noted that "actually, so many of the sequences were shot here (or in a reasonable facsimile thereof) that it will come as something of a surprise to Angelenos to find an L [sic] train and stockyards suspiciously like those in Chicago popping up suddenly in the same city. To be sure, Paramount never says 'This is L.A.' in so many words, and an early reference to a suburb as 'Westhampton' should be the tip-off that it isn't."