Humphrey Bogart and Mayo Methot fell in love during production. They were married as soon as he had divorced his second wife, Mary Philips.

Based on the life of gangster Lucky Luciano, who was finally imprisoned when some of the prostitutes who worked in one of his brothels, tired of the beatings and maltreatment meted out by him, informed on him to the police.

Dedicated to realism, Bette Davis left the set when the makeup department outfitted her with dainty bandages for the hospital scene following the physical attack on her character by mobsters. She drove to her own doctor and instructed him to bandage her as he would a badly beaten woman. Returning to the set, she declared, "You shoot me this way, or not at all!" They did.

Screenwriters Rossen and Finkel capitalized on a sensational trial reported by the "New York Times" between May 14 and June 22, 1936 according to film historian Charles Eckert. Prosecutor Thomas E. Dewey was the prosecutor and Charles "Lucky Luciano" Lucania his target. Dewey went on to become New York governor and a two-time Presidential candidate while Luciano went on to organize Dannemora, the New York dock workers, and the international drug trade. The women whose testimony led to a conviction left the House of Detention and were sent to Dewey's offices in the Woolworth Building, where they received sums ranging between $150 and $175 dollars, barely a half week's wages that they earned as prostitutes. Then, according to Eckert they "disappeared, as they do in the film, into the fog."