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The working titles of this film were Jail Breaker and Passport to Fame. Some contemporary reviews mention a scene between Manion and Jones's Aunt Agatha, that was apparently deleted in later prints. Edward G. Robinson was borrowed from Warner Bros. for the film. The Variety review predicted that this film would be a turning point in Robinson's career, which had been foundering after box office failures. Other reviews concurred with that estimation and modern sources note that the success of The Whole Town's Talking did restore Robinson's career. According to modern sources, prison footage was taken from Columbia's film The Criminal Code.