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The working title of this film was The Frightened Child. Dana Lyon's novel was purchased in March 1948 by Twentieth Century-Fox, prior to its serialization in Harper's Magazine in April 1948, and, according to a March 1948 Los Angeles Times news item, was assigned to producer Walter Morosco. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department and the Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library, writers David Hertz, Irmgard Von Cube, Allen Vincent, Robert Hill and Karl Kamb worked on the screenplay before Elick Moll and Frank Partos, who receive onscreen credit. It does not appear, however, that these writers contributed to the final film. According to contemporary sources, some filming was done at various locations in San Francisco, and the studio's art department converted the Julius' Castle Restaurant, a well-known San Francisco landmark, and its adjoining property into the exterior of the house used in the film.
Footage of displaced persons boarding an International Refugee Organization ship was included in the film at the request of the United Nations as a public service for "making the world conscious of the United Nations and its activities," according to a letter in the studio files. The film received an Academy Award nomination in the Art Direction (Black-and-White) category.