In order to correctly write a script that would depict the experience of a woman being arrested and imprisoned, screenwriter Jeanie Macpherson arranged, at Cecil B. DeMille's behest, to be imprisoned for stealing a fur piece from a friend (with whom she had worked out an agreement beforehand). She was arrested in Detroit, booked and fingerprinted under the name Angie Brown and spent three days in jail before a police official discovered the truth and arranged for her release. Macpherson wrote about the experience in an article called I Have Been in Hell.
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Leatrice Joy claimed to have based her performance on Madelynne Obenchain, whose trial she attended in Los Angeles. Obenchain, who murdered her (unreceptive) paramour J. Belton Kennedy in Los Angeles, later had her story incorporated into a film, "A Man and a Million", produced by Charles R. Seeling and starring her husband, Ralph Obenchain.
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Sometimes cited by historians and film critics as one of Cecil B. DeMille's worst films. Robert S. Birchard attributes it to a bout of debilitating rheumatic fever that DeMille was hit with while on a trip to Europe right before the film went into production.
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It is widely believed that this film contains the first same-sex romantic kiss, occurring in a scene set within a women's prison.
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"American Cinematographer" magazine published the following letter from cinematographer L. Guy Wilky in its January 1923, issue: "The list of releases for November gives me credit as being one of the cinematographers for 'Manslaughter.' I desire to state that I had no connection therewith, as my activities are confined to William de Mille productions."
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