powered by AFI
A working title for this film was Crime of the Year. Much of the plot summary is based on a pre-production synopsis of the script, dated August 19, 1937, which is preserved in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS Library. Although some changes were made in the script after the synopsis was printed, a PCA memorandum, dated January 19, 1938, indicates that the August 1937 synopsis "follows closely" the completed script. The script was initially rejected by the PCA on the grounds that the main theme of the story involved kidnapping, and because it gave details of the crime and "showed gangsters in armed and in violent conflict with police." A memorandum in the PCA file, dated August 21, 1937, indicates that Columbia executives, after meeting with PCA officials, agreed to a number of changes in the script, including changing the ending to show that "Moran" was the one who engineered the kidnapping, and that he would be arrested after losing his fight match and punished for having developed the hoax. The stated purpose of these changes was to eliminate a gun battle scene between "Mac" and the kidnappers that resulted in the killing of three men.