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MGM trimmed advertising efforts on what they believed was an unprofitable film.What eventually hit the theaters was not a commercial success, and it was also not the film both Murphy and Huston believed they had made.Murphy performed well in the screen test, but Steve Broidy, president of the project's production company Allied Artists did not want to cast someone in a major role with so little acting experience.Cherry, Short, and the theater owners refused to finance the film unless Murphy played the lead.The film was directed by Jesse Hibbs with an on-screen introduction by General Walter Bedell Smith.Susan Kohner, daughter of Murphy's agent Paul Kohner, Both Murphy and Universal gave serious considerations to a follow-up version of his post-war life. Collins script The Way Back which created the fictional scenario that filming To Hell and Back had been so therapeutic for Murphy that it cured him of his combat fatigue.When Murphy arrived in California after his military discharge, Cagney cancelled the hotel reservations he'd made for Murphy and instead took him into his own home, "I got the shock of my life. His complexion was bluish-gray." Commenting years later on his first impression, Cagney said, "[Murphy was] in such a nervous condition that I was afraid he might jump out of a window.
When promoting his 1949 book To Hell and Back he appeared on the radio version of This Is Your Life.Murphy would team with Siegel one more time in 1958 for The Gun Runners.He only worked one time with director Frederick de Cordova, who later became producer of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. George Marshall directed Murphy in the 1954 Destry, based on a character created by author Max Brand.Spec Mc Clure scripted a second unused version of The Way Back that incorporated Murphy's real-life friends into the storyline and ended with the star living happily ever after with Pamela and their two sons.A third version by an unknown writer focused on the Murphy-Mc Clure friendship and was rejected by the threat of a lawsuit from Mc Clure.
Desi Arnaz offered to bankroll a 1965 project titled Helmets in the Dust. The Story of Charles Russell with Murphy as the lead was under development at Universal but shelved after the disappointing receipts of Walk the Proud Land.