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According to a news item in Hollywood Reporter, Clark Gable was originally to have played the role of C. K. Dexter Haven. Another item in Hollywood Reporter states that the film was completed five days under schedule. The Variety review notes that in order to avoid competition with the stage play, M-G-M agreed not to put the film into general release until January 1941, although it was screened at selected theaters in December 1940. Hepburn revised the role she starred in on Broadway. James Stewart won an Academy Award for Best Actor and Donald Ogden Stewart won the award for Best Screenplay for their work on this film. The film also received the following Academy Award nominations: Best Picture, Best Actress (Katharine Hepburn), Best Supporting Actress (Ruth Hussey) and Best Direction (George Cukor).
In an interview, Cukor confirms that Katharine Hepburn, who was considered "box office poison" at the time, had purchased the screen rights to the play, which was written with her in mind, in hopes of reviving her flagging film career. As hoped, the film's success revitalized Hepburn's standing in Hollywood. According to modern sources, because she had purchased the screen rights before the play opened, she was able to chose her director and co-stars. In 1942, the Lux Radio Theatre presented Philip Barry's play featuring the film's stars, and in 1943, presented another version starring Robert Taylor, Loretta Young and Robert Young. In 1956, Charles Walter directed Grace Kelly, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra in High Society, M-G-M's musical version of the Barry play.