John Ford insisted that no actor could possibly recreate the pain of a real flogging. Jon Hall agreed to undergo the real thing, finding himself horsewhipped until his back bled. Unfortunately his quest for verisimilitude went unnoticed as the censors found the sequence to be far too realistic and insisted that it be cut from the final film.
According to Life Magazine, special effects wizard James Basevi was given a budget of $400,000 to create his effects. He spent $150,000 to build a native village with a lagoon 200 yards long, and then spent $250,000 destroying it.
Doubles were not used for Mary Astor and Dorothy Lamour when they were lashed to a tree during the hurricane. In her autobiography, Astor said that the sand and water whipping their faces sometimes left pinpricks of blood on their cheeks.
Jon Hall was the nephew of James Norman Hall, co-author of the novel, "The Hurricane," on which the movie was based. Although he had made several previous films using his real name, Charles Locher, the actor officially adopted "Jon Hall" as his professional name for this movie, in order to capitalize on his real-life relationship with the book's co-author.
Samuel Goldwyn originally intended contractee Joel McCrea in the leading role, but the actor balked at playing the role as he believed he would be unconvincing as a Polynesian. The problem was solved when Goldwyn became convinced that the actor was right and traded the actor's services to Paramount in exchange for Dorothy Lamour's.