The entire movie plot unfolds from lead Robert Montgomery's point of view, thus creating a rarity in film: the principal character is only seen on-screen as a reflection in mirrors and windows, and as the narrator speaking directly to the audience.
The first-person camera technique used by Robert Montgomery is known as "subjective camera," and had not before been employed in this manner beyond the first few minutes of a film (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, in 1931, by pioneering director Rouben Mamoulian.) Raymond Chander didn't think the technique would work. After hearing that it was going to be utilized from co-writer Steve Fisher, the author called the studio the next day to complain. It apparently was a contributing factor to Chandler's refusal to take a film credit.
This film was completed in mid-1946 and trade shown in Los Angeles, and reviewed in Weekly Variety in November 1946, so, in this sense, it's a 1946 production. Since it was not released theatrically until January 1947, IMDb and AFI use that date after the title, in order to comply with their own book of rules. Rumored to have been intended as a December 1946 release, which would have coincided with the Christmas themed story background, MGM executives backed down at the last minute and delayed its release until January 1947 so as not to "offend" holiday season moviegoers, a high percentage of which included the so-called "family trade." For the same reason, they tacked on the "happy ending" sequence, over the strenuous objections of both Montgomery and Totter.
The pistol at the end of the opening credits is a Colt Model 1908 "Vest Pocket" .25 caliber six-shot semi-automatic. It can be seen throughout the film in the hands of Marlow, Kane, Fallbrook, DeGarmot, and Adrianne Fromsett.
Lloyd Nolan who plays Lt. DeGarmot in this film previously played the lead in "Time To Kill" based on Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe novel "The High Window", which was released as part of the Michael Shayne series of detective films.
This film had its first television showings in Los Angeles Thursday 6 December 1956 on KTTV (Channel 11), in Altoona PA Saturday 22 December 1956 on WFBG (Channel 10), in New York City Saturday 16 February 1957 on WCBS (Channel 2), in Chicago Saturday 23 February 1957 on WBBM (Channel 2), in Philadelphia Friday 1 March 1957 on WFIL (Channel 6) , in Portland OR Saturday 9 March 1957 on KGW (Channel 8) and in Minneapolis Friday 15 March 1957 on KMGM (Channel 9); in Seattle it first aired 16 June 1957 on KING (Channel 5), in Phoenix 22 June 1957 on KPHO (Channel 5), in Cleveland 12 December 1957 on KYW (Channel 3), and in San Francisco 15 February 1958 on KGO (Channel 7).