For many years, this was a "lost" film. When critic Pauline Kael wrote her "New Yorker" article "Raising Kane" claiming this film heavily influenced the development of Citizen Kane (1941), she could only reference it from memory as prints had not been available for 30 years. When the film was "rediscovered", it was discovered that Kael had overstated her case: It was not the example of classic cinema she had claimed it was, and its influences on "Kane" likely were minimal.
Preston Sturges has written that he based the story on his second wife's grandfather, C.W. Post, founder of a company which later became General Foods. However, except for Post's humble beginnings and the fact he committed suicide, the story bore no resemblance to his life.
A suit was brought against the Fox Film Corporation by Robert Maxwell, leader of The Maxwell Choristers, for alleged damages caused by the dubbing of their voices with "Nearer My God, to Thee," in a scene in which they were singing "Ave Maria." He claimed his reputation was damaged by not using their original voices. Although he later dropped the suit and the scene was eventually cut, the song is heard in the opening scene without the choir being shown.
The first film produced by Jesse L. Lasky after he was forced out of Paramount, a company he had co-founded. Writer Preston Sturges told Lasky the story and Lasky asked him to do a rough treatment. Instead, Sturges turned in a completed script, and Lasky called it "the most perfect script I'd ever seen". He shot the film exactly as Sturges had submitted it.