Arthur Loft is credited as "Swanson" in studio records, but that role was played by Edward Peil Sr., and Loft was not seen in the movie. Modern sources also list the following actors (with their character names) as cast members: Nina Quartero (Chita), Frank Darien (Shorty), Carl Stockdale (Minister), Ed Brady (Deputy), Dick Elliott (Salesman) and John Sheehan (Salesman). None of these actors were identifiable in the movie, but may have been in sequences which were cut. Some of these characters may have been in a coach, which is seen coming to town in extreme long-shot.
Howard Hawks started as director but quit after 2 weeks, ostensibly to direct Sergeant York. But Howard Hughes, who had the dailies flown to Los Angeles daily, had complained that Hawks was not spending enough time filming, which probably precipitated his leaving. Hughes took over as director in December 1940 and announced all scenes would be re-shot by Gregg Toland, who replaced the original cinematographer, Lucien Ballard. However, screenwriter Jules Furthman filled in for Hughes as director on 31 December 1940 and often thereafter.
Howard Hawks wanted Albert R. Broccoli to work as an assistant director on the film, but when Howard Hughes heard it he said: "I can't give a good friend a job, the studio will be very upset with me!" But Hawks replied: "I want Cubby!" (Albert R "Cubby" Broccoli, who later became famous for the 'James Bond' films).
Although the film was finished and copyrighted in February 1941, it was not shown theatrically for another 2 years, mostly because of censorship problems which required cuts and revisions. By May 1941, the PCA agreed to approve the film, but Howard Hughes found that many state censor boards wanted a lot more cuts that he was not willing to make, so he shelved the film until 5 February 1943, when it was finally shown theatrically in San Francisco in the 115-minute version that we essentially see today. It caused quite a sensation, especially since Jane Russell and Jack Buetel performed a 20-minute scene that was cut from the film after each showing. More hassles about its possible release in New York caused Hughes to shelve the picture once again.
Debut of Jane Russell.
Debut of Ben Johnson.
In his book "Hollywood", Garson Kanin wrote that one day in New York, he and George S. Kaufman were walking down Broadway and counted five billboards with an alluring picture of Jane Russell advertising this film, prompting Kaufman to remark: "They ought to call it 'A Sale of Two Titties'".
Once they'd found her, Howard Hughes and his aircraft engineers designed a special cantilevered bra to enhance the appearance of Jane Russell's bust. She never wore it, but this movie was the reason the famous bra was designed.
The first American film that defied the "Production Code" of the Hays Office, which dictated what could and could not be shown on screen.
This film seriously hampered the career of co star Jack Buetel. As a result of his contractual arrangement with producer Howard Hughes, he did not appear in another film for 7 years. Though a regular on TV's Judge Roy Bean and quite a few other roles, he retired from films in 1961 at age 46.
When re-released in San Francisco on 23 April 1946, the theater owner was arrested for showing a film "offensive to decency." The MPAA maintained that Howard Hughes switched prints and did not show the version that was approved. Hughes resigned from the MPAA and filed a $1,000,000 lawsuit demanding triple damages. He lost the suit and all the appeals. Despite the legal battles and many bans, United Artists continued to roadshow the film in 1946 and 1947 and it set records almost everywhere it was shown. Originally banned in New York, it was finally shown on 11 September 1947 when the ban was lifted.