powered by AFI
Ellen Glasgow's novel won the 1942 Pulitzer Prize for Literature. According to a Los Angeles Examiner news item dated February 27, 1941, the studio paid $40,000 for rights to the novel. A February 27, 1941 Hollywood Reporter news item adds that the film was to star Olivia De Havilland and Errol Flynn. Warner Bros. was named to the Honor Roll of Race Relations of 1942 for making this film because of its dignified portrayal of an African-American, although, according to a September 8, 1942 Hollywood Reporter news item, Warner Bros. cut scenes which treated Ernest Anderson's character in a "friendly fashion" in order to avoid offending viewers in the South. In 1943, when the film was examined by the Office of Censorship in Washington, D.C. prior to general export, it was disapproved because "only by the effort of a conscientious white man in whose law office a Negro boy is studying law is the young man saved from a charge of murder...recklessly made by a white woman....[who] claimed that the Negro and not she, was driving the car at the time of the accident and so strong is the race feeling in this Virginia community that the young Negro was practically condemned in advance. It is made abundantly clear that a Negro's testimony in court is almost certain to be disregarded if in conflict with the testimony of a white person." Actor Walter Huston, director John Huston's father, appears briefly in the film in a cameo role as a bartender. Modern sources erroneously note that Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Sidney Greenstreet, Peter Lorre, Ward Bond, Barton MacLane and Elisha Cook, Jr. appear as uncredited bits in the bar scene in the tavern.