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Working titles for this film were Big Harp, Big Jack Horner and The Great Harp. This was the last picture of actor Wallace Beery, who died of heart failure on April 15, 1949. The sixty-year-old Beery had been under contract to M-G-M for nineteen years. According to an August 1948 Los Angeles Times article, the story was "written originally by James Thomas Flexner," but his contribution to the released film has not been confirmed. A February 1948 Los Angeles Times article indicates that Spencer Tracy was set for role played by Richard Conte, and that Robert Taylor and Van Johnson were considered for the part played by Beery.