King Vidor originally took his cast and crew to Hawaii to shoot exteriors. After numerous technical problems, the weather took a turn for the worst, so hopes of shooting the picture in authentic locations was never realized.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
When David O. Selznick took over at RKO, this was one of the properties he inherited. Selznick tried to read the original play by Richard Walton Tully but gave up because he found it to be ridiculous. He suggested that King Vidor take a look at it, but Vidor also couldn't finish the piece so Selznick suggested that he take the title and make whatever film he wanted, provided that he put in three juicy love scenes and have Dolores del Rio jump into a volcano at the end.