In one of the final scenes, when Orson Welles lifts Loretta Young one-handed into the clock tower from a ladder, this is not a special effect. Young stated that this was actually filmed in the church with her dangling dangerously many feet above the church floor.
A lengthy scene of Meineke trying to find Kindler was filmed but cut by the studio. The footage (between 20-30 minutes) is believed lost as even the original negatives have gone missing. (see alternate versions)
The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film.
The vast New England town exterior sets, including the church with its 124-foot clock tower, were constructed in Hollywood on the back lot of the United Artists studio located on Santa Monica Blvd. In some production shots taken by LIFE Magazine, the circular metal scaffolding of a huge collapsible natural-gas storage tank can be seen behind some of the sets. The only such tank near a Hollywood studio was a block away from UA.
A "Carthaginian peace", as mentioned by the characters, is used to refer to any peace treaty demanding total subjugation of the defeated side. It is based on the defeat of Carthage by Rome and the total destruction of Carthage thereafter. In modern times, it is often used to describe a peace settlement in which the terms imposed by the victor are overly harsh and designed to keep the loser subjugated for a long time, if not forever..
During the dinner conversation, a correspondent, Standish of the London Times in Berlin, is mentioned. This could be a reference to Henry Standish, a war correspondent for the "News Chronicle", a UK daily paper that closed in 1960 after 30 years in existence (Standish is quoted in 1945's "What Buchenwald Really Means" by Victor Gollancz. Whether this reference is meant to be the same Standish and whether Standish really wrote an article similar to the one discussed in the film cannot be determined.
The quote recited by Mr. Walker (E.G Robinson) is from Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay titled Compensation. "The league between virtue and nature engages all things to assume a hostile front to vice. The beautiful laws and substances of the world persecute and whip the traitor. He finds that things are arranged for truth and benefit, but there is no den in the wide world to hide a rogue. Commit a crime, and the earth is made of glass. Commit a crime, and it seems as if a coat of snow fell on the ground, such as reveals in the woods the track of every partridge and fox and squirrel and mole. You cannot recall the spoken word, you cannot wipe out the foot-track, you cannot draw up the ladder, so as to leave no inlet or clew. Some damning circumstance always transpires. The laws and substances of nature - water, snow, wind, gravitation - become penalties to the thief."
In the scene where Meinike attempts to kill Mr. Wilson, Meinike escapes through a door in the gymnasium which has a sign posted on it. The sign reads "Use at your own risk" and is signed "Coach Roskie". In reality there was a football coach that lived and coached at Todd School in Woodstock Illinois during the early 1930s when Orson Welles was student there.