The USS Juneau, mentioned by Detective Brody, was a light cruiser sunk at the Battle of Guadalcanal in November 1942. Its loss was notable for the deaths of five brothers from the one family, the Sullivans.
At 20 minutes and 10 seconds, Eleanor Parker's performance in this movie is the shortest to ever be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar.
Horace McMahon, Joseph Wiseman, Michael Strong and Lee Grant re-enacted their stage roles.
The play ran on Broadway for 581 performances, from 23 March 1949-12 August 1950. It starred Ralph Bellamy as Det. McLeod. Meg Mundy played his wife. Maureen Stapleton played Miss Hatch, and James Westerfield was Lou Brody.
Film debut of Burt Mustin. NOTE: Mustin, who had done some singing and acting on stage over the years but was not a full-time actor , had retired to Tucson, AZ, with his wife. There he was performing in a stage production of the play on which this film is based one night in 1949 when director William Wyler was in the audience. Liking Mustin, Wyler told the actor that if he wanted to pursue a film career, to look him up in Hollywood. Mustin eventually did and Wyler later cast him in this film, starting Mustin's career as a film and television actor--at age 67.
William Wyler engaged Dashiell Hammett to adapt the Sidney Kingsley play for the screen. After three weeks Hammett returned the advance check to Wyler, saying he couldn't do it. At the time Hammett was under scrutiny for his alleged Communist affiliations and was blacklisted.
"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60-minute radio adaptation of the movie on April 26,1954, with Kirk Douglas and Eleanor Parker reprising their film roles.
When Charley grabs for Detective Callahan's holstered gun and Detective McLeod yells to Callahan "Watch the Roscoe!" McLeod is referring to a hoodlum's nickname--a "Roscoe"--for a handgun.
In the original play, Dr. Schneider was a provider of illegal abortions. Production Code rules forced Wyler to change the nature of the man's business to owner of "a baby farm." This was the shady practice of letting unwed mothers give birth discreetly, then give up babies for orphanages.