Louise Brooks refusal to dub the movie angered her parent studio, Paramount, and effectively sabotaged her acting career. According to the documentary Louise Brooks: Looking for Lulu, Paramount spread the word that Brooks' voice was not suitable for sound film, although later sound productions made by Brooks proved this to be wrong.
Completed in 1928, Paramount sensed that releasing the S.S. Van Dine (Willard Huntington Wright) Philo Vance whodunit as a silent would be financial disaster. Studio honchos called in Frank Tuttle to rework it as an all-talkie. Margaret Livingston supplied the voice of the uncooperative Louise Brooks (as the Canary), who had left Hollywood for a career in Europe. The film was a big hit despite the high negative cost.
One of the earliest of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by MCA ever since.
Originally shot as a silent in 1928. Louise Brooks refused to return from Germany for the dubbing.
Paramount bought the rights to the first 3 S.S. Van Dine mysteries (The Benson Murder Case, The Canary Murder Case and The Greene Murder Case) as a package deal in 1928, filming the second effort first. MGM would outbid the studio for the 4th Philo Vance best-seller, The Bishop Murder Case.
The story was based on the real-life murder of showgirl Dot King, which was never solved.