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According to an August 1944 New York Times news item, RKO acquired the rights to Arthur Pinero's play in 1929 as a vehicle for Helen Twelvetrees. Ten years later, the studio considered making a version starring Ginger Rogers. According to a modern article by screenwriter DeWitt Bodeen, when neophyte producer Harriet Parsons discovered that RKO owned the rights to the play, she decided to produce it as her first assignment at that studio. A September 1943 Hollywood Reporter news item adds that Teresa Wright was set to star as "Laura." By November and December of 1943, however, Hollywood Reporter news items state that Parsons was occupied with another assignment, and that Dudley Nichols was to produce and write the screenplay and Jean Renoir would direct. In February 1944, the Nichols-Renoir project was shelved, according to a Hollywood Reporter news item. In March 1944, the project was re-assigned to Parsons, who then hired Bodeen to write the screenplay. At that time, the story was updated from Pinero's World War I London setting to New England during World War II.
According to an August 1944 New York Times news item, Pinero's play was written at the behest of the British government as a message of optimism for shell-shocked war veterans. Although Alan Marshal was intially set to co-star in the film, an August 1944 Hollywood Reporter news item notes that Marshal was forced to withdraw after he suffered a "nervous collapse," and that Joseph Cotten was being considered for the part. Robert Young was finally borrowed from M-G-M to play "Oliver," and director John Cromwell and actress Dorothy McGuire were borrowed from David O. Selznick's company. The picture was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Score. The 1924 First National film The Enchanted Cottage, starring Richard Barthelmess and May McAvoy (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.1526), was also based on Pinero's play. On September 3, 1945, Robert Young and Dorothy McGuire starred in a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast based on the play, and on September 29, 1955, Dan O'Herlihy and Teresa Wright appeared in a Lux Video Theatre presentation of the play, broadcast on the NBC network. Another film version of the story, which was to star Cher, was announced in 2001, but that project was never realized.