In February 1939, Variety reported that Hitchcock would direct a British Lion production about the life of English writer Edgar Wallace:
British Lion to Do Most Ambish Prod.; 350G Cost
London, Jan. 29. Sam Smith will produce British Lion's most ambitious production to date when it starts work on March 1 on a story dealing with the life of Edgar Wallace. Ralph Richardson will have the title role and Alfred Hitchcock is to direct. Picture to cost $350,000.