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Kenneth Roberts' novel was published in 1934 and became a best seller. Film rights were bought by Hal Roach who made the film as part of a five-picture deal he had with United Artists. (The others were The Housekeeper's Daughter, One Million Years BC, Of Mice and Me and a novel by Thorne Smith.) Eugene Sollow was assigned to write the script.
Plans to make the film were pushed back following the entry of Britain into World War Two out of fear the film could be seen as anti British. However "sea pictures" were in vogue at the time (e.g. The Sea Hawk, South of Pago Pago) so Roach decided to proceed.
The anti-British tone of the novel was softened and the script rewritten by producer Grover Jones, who said "in the main we won't be giving them much time to think about whether they like the theme of the picture or not. We'll be giving them action and more action. And if we let a little plot to trickle in to let them know why they are getting all that fighting, we do it only because the camera needs a new set up now and again."
^The War of 1812: CAPTAIN CAUTION. By Kenneth Roberts. 310 pp. New York: Doubleday, Doran & Co. $2.50. Wallace, Margaret. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] November 11, 1934: BR7.
^"Best Sellers Here and Elsewhere", New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] November 12, 1934: 17.
^"32 Films for United Artists", The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current file) [Boston, Mass] May 8, 1939: 17.
^"NEWS OF THE SCREEN: Fox Buys Play 'Here Today, Gone Tomorrow'--Greta Garbo at Music Hall in Her First Comedy Role Chosen for Jack Benny's Film Of Local Origin", By DOUGLAS W. CHURCHILL Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] November 9, 1939: 26.
^SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD: Paramount Schedules 'Miami,' Modern Musical Romance, as Mary Martin Vehicle FIVE OPENINGS THIS WEEK 'Destry Rides Again,' Starring Marlene Dietrich, at the Rivoli on Wednesday Revival of "Champ" Reported Coast Scripts Of Local Origin
By DOUGLAS W. CHURCHILL Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] November 27, 1939: 13
^"Rollers Ahead For Hollywood In Latest Cycle", The Washington Post (1923-1954) [Washington, D.C] February 9, 1940: 11.
^"Roberts' 'Captain Caution' on Way to Screen: Hollywood Goes to Sea", By Frank Daugherty Special to The Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current file) [Boston, Mass] June 21, 1940:
^"News of the Screen" by a Staff Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current file) [Boston, Mass] April 23, 1940: 16.