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Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Mr. and Mrs. Smith(1941)

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The working title of this film was Mr. and Mrs. Materials contained in the RKO Archives Script Files at the UCLA Arts Library-Special Collections reveal that writer Norman Krasna wrote scripts for this film under the titles Who Was That Lady I Seen You With? and No for an Answer. According to a pre-production news item in Hollywood Reporter, Joan Harrison was hired to work on the screenplay, but her contribution to the final project has not been confirmed. A Hollywood Reporter production chart places Kate MacKenna in the cast, but her appearance has not been confirmed. Other pre-production news items in Hollywood Reporter note that RKO wanted Cary Grant to play the role of "David Smith," but the studio was already contractually obligated to Robert Montgomery, who was on loan from M-G-M. Alfred Hitchcock was on loan from David O. Selznick's company.
       In a modern interview, Hitchcock said that he agreed to direct the film as a favor to Carole Lombard. Hitchcock, who was known for his suspense films, claimed that because he did not understand the type of people portrayed in the film, he just photographed the script, never veering from Krasna's screenplay. The Hollywood Reporter review commented that Hitchcock should stay away from comedies. According to an article in Life, Lombard directed the scene in which Hitchcock strolls by and tips his hat to Montgomery. A modern source adds that Lombard, in response to Hitchcock's now-famous remark that all actors are "cattle," ordered a corral built on the set in which she placed three cows, each bearing a tag with one of the stars's names. This was Lombard's last picture for RKO. According to some modern critics, some of Hitchcock's later cinematic techniques were foreshadowed in this film.