The extras in the film are all speaking Cantonese, a Chinese dialect focused mainly in southern China. If the film were to be more true to life, the extras would be speaking Mandarin, a more spoken dialect. However, most Chinese residents in the Los Angeles area spoke Cantonese, making von Sternberg use Cantonese.
The Hays Office expressed concern about the unlikable character of the minister, which prompted a revision of the script. Other concerns included the remark by Chang that he was not proud of his white blood, but that line remains in the print.
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. Its television premiere took place Friday 2 January 1959 on KPIX (Channel 5), launching the MCA/Paramount Film Library in San Francisco. It first aired in Milwaukee 30 May 1959 on WTCN (Channel 11), in Toledo 22 October 1959 on WTOL (Channel 11), in Philadelphia 5 September 1960 on WCAU (Channel 10), in Detroit 9 September 1960 on WJBK (Channel 2), and in Cleveland 18 October 1960 on WJW (Channel 8). It was released on DVD 6 February 2012 in tandem with Dishonored (1931) by Turner Classic Movies and Universal Studios Home Entertainment, and has also enjoyed an occasional airing on cable TV on TCM.