Twentieth Century-Fox bought film rights to the book for $250,000, whereupon author Somerset Maugham came to Hollywood for two months to make suggestions on the script. Lamarr Trotti wrote the screenplay, and in it, tried to keep the dialogue exactly as Mr. Maugham had written it. Maugham kept suggesting changes. "But, Mr. Maugham," said Trotti, "this is the way you wrote it."
"Who is this Maugham fellow," came the reply, "who goes around terrorizing people so that they're afraid to change his words?"...
The picture cost four million dollars to produce and took more than one hundred days to shoot. Eighteen months were spent in research and preparation before the picture started...
Although it was his first picture since his discharge from the Marine Corps, Tyrone Power stepped in front of the cameras for the first time in over three years without a trace of jitters....
Anne Baxter delayed her marriage to John Hodiak a month, waiting the finish of the film, and during that time looked like anything but a bride. She played a dipsomaniac, and went around the studio with no makeup and stringy hair....
To replace Tyrone's dogs, which had dwindled away during the war, Gene Tierney presented him with a white German Shepherd dog which was named Olaf. Olaf spent his days on the set, in company with Butch, Gene's own Shepherd.
When a dog was required in a scene, director Edmund Goulding suggested using Butch, knowing how well Gene had trained him. But the plan didn't work. Butch was required to bark, and for five years spent on sets with Gene, each time he hade the smallest noise, he was tied outside the sound stage. So the scene was set, and Butch walked into camera range, but he wouldn't let go with even a grunt . . .
John Payne had his personal worries while working in the picture. Gloria DeHaven suffered an attack of penicillin poisoning, and John had to rush her to the hospital. Then again, there were the pop bottles. Living in a house on the beach, John was in constant fear
of the neighborhood kids, who tossed pop bottles through his windows at every opportunity . . .
Just recovered from a severe attack of pneumonia, Clifton Webb left the hospital to play his part in the film, wherein he dies. The death scene took three days to film, and Webb claimed that the studio paid him a bonus to leave his hospital bed, go to Fox and die properly for the cameras . . .
Gene Tierney and Ty Power were ribbed unmercifully by the cast and crew when a canvas on the set became ignited during one of their love scenes . . .
The prop man had to invent a special trick cigar for the scene where one of a mob plunges a burning cigar into Ty's neck. The problem was solved by inserting a lighted cigarette into the cigar, and while smoke can be seen coming from the cigar, the end is not actually lighted.
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