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Working titles for this film were The Killer Wore a Badge, 322 French Street and The Night Watch. According to a May 1952 Variety news item, Philip A. Waxman originally purchased the rights to the Thomas Walsh novel, The Night Watch, which was serialized in the Saturday Evening Post (10 November-15 December 1951) under the title "The Killer Wore a Badge." Although not credited onscreen, Walsh's novel, as well as Rafferty by William S. Ballinger are credited as sources in reviews. A December 1953 Hollywood Reporter item notes that Waxman's credit as associate producer was a compromise with Columbia Studios upon their purchase of Walsh's story. Waxman intended the script to be written by Orin Jannings and Stanley Ellin. Their contribution, if any, to the final film has not been determined.
Although the onscreen credits read "And introducing Kim Novak," the film did not mark her debut. She had a small role (billed under her real name, Marilyn Novak) in two earlier RKO productions. The Hollywood Reporter review of Pushover predicted Novak would have a future in film, describing her as "possessed of a face and figure to set men dreaming and a Jean Harlow-like personality that May set wives seething." Daily Variety observed that Novak, "[A] beaut, has an attractive personality."