The murder of Johnny Mack Brown's Hank character is reminiscent of the sensational murder of Chicago Tribune reporter Jake Lingle, who had ties to organized crime, in 1930, but instead of being shot on the subway as Brown is, the real Lingle was gunned down in a tunnel leading to the train.
After previewing Warner Bros. upcoming releases of "Public Enemy" and "Little Caeser," MGM production chief Irving Thalberg commissioned writer Francis Marion to come up with MGM's first real "talking" gangster picture.
'The Secret Six' was a name coined by Chicago Tribune reporter James Doherty to six influential Chicago businessmen (including the president of Sears- Roebuck)who organized the business community against Al Capone and were instrumental in obtaining his conviction on tax evasion.
The $3,600 that was on Scorpio when he checked into jail would be about $56,000 in 2016. Back then it was easier to carry around such sums as U.S. currency had bill denominations above $100 - as seen by the $1,000 bills in the cigarette cases Scorpio passed out as bribes.
After Wallace Beery spits a mouthful of chewing tobacco presumably on the floor or in a spittoon, two drools continue out of his mouth and onto his collar. As this was likely not in the script, it can be assumed this was left in on purpose.