The epilogue of the film reads: "The actual photography of scenes in the Okefenokee Swamp of Georgia was made possible through the cooperation of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge for which appreciation is hereby expressed."
Director Jean Renoir, who was working on his first American film, and executive producer Darryl F. Zanuck infamously clashed during the making of this film. The crux of the disagreement between the men stemmed from Renoir's desire to shoot on location and use moving camera shots and Zanuck's desire to shoot the film quickly and cheaply on a studio lot. Renoir ultimately emerged victorious in many of these disputes, but not before the working relationship between the men was permanently ruined.
Despite clearly playing the protagonist, almost constantly appearing on screen during the film, and acting in nearly every scene, Dana Andrews is the fourth actor credited, behind Walter Brennan, Walter Huston, and Anne Baxter. Aside from Brennan, who himself is onscreen far less than Andrews' character, the actors listed ahead of Andrews have only supporting (albeit important) roles.
During the making of the film, director Jean Renoir was so exasperated with producer Darryl F. Zanuck's interference with the picture that he offered his resignation. Zanuck declined Renoir's resignation. As filming progressed, however, Zanuck grew increasingly frustrated with Renoir's method of directing and his inability to stay on schedule. On August 18, 1941, production manager William Koenig, acting on behalf of Zanuck, notified Renoir that he was being removed from the project. The same night that Renoir had been terminated, Zanuck phoned him at home and asked the director to return to complete the film. It is unclear what caused Zanuck's change of heart, but Renoir returned to his duties and finished the film.
Darryl F. Zanuck heavily edited the film after production wrapped, much to the dismay of director Jean Renoir. Renoir admitted in his biography that he felt the Zanuck's edits had distorted his vision for the film.
Although Irving Pichel was eventually assigned a much larger directorial role as filming progressed (possibly shooting most or all of the location filming in Georgia and working with a second unit to expedite the production process), Pichel was initially attached to the film as a dialogue director. Director Jean Renoir was working on his first American film and did not quite have a proficient grasp of natural American dialogue.