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The working title of the film was Busman's Honeymoon. According to an entry for the first edition of the novel in the National Union Catalog, the original title of Dorothy Sayer's story was A Busman's Holiday. This was the fourth and final film made by M-G-M's British studio prior to its closure during World War II. Acccording to the M-G-M story file on the film contained in the USC Cinema-Television Library, L. A. G. Strong provided additional dialogue for the film in April 1939, however, the extent of his work to appear in the completed film has not been determined. According to various entries in the story files and Hollywood Reporter news items, the film began under Richard Thorpe's direction on August 4, 1939, when Thorpe traveled to various locations in Devon, England, including Dartmoor. Maureen O'Sullivan sailed to England on the Queen Mary to appear opposite Robert Montgomery in the film, which was to be produced by Victor Saville. On September 18, 1939, about two weeks after the start of the war, Montgomery arrived back in the United States, and on 19 September it was announced that the picture had been shelved because of the war and because the Denham sound stage on which the film was to be shot was being used to store foodstuffs.
According to a contemporary notation contained in the AMPAS Library file on the film, the production was cancelled by M-G-M on February 2, 1940. However, a Hollywood Reporter news item on March 22, 1940, noted that the production began filming in Denham on the sound stage that temporarily had been used for storage, and that the extensive backgrounds and location shots done in 1939 were to be included in the film. At that time, M-G-M British production chief Ben Goetz was in charge of the picture and Constance Cummings took over the role of "Harriet Vane" that was originally slated for O'Sullivan. Production charts and news items include Gwen ffrangcon-Davies in the cast; however, her participation in the released film has not been confirmed. An article on the film in Time noted that director Arthur B. Woods, who was an RAF pilot, had to take time off from his military duties to complete the film. The article noted that the cast and crew were threatened with bombing in a broadcast by "Lord Haw Haw," the Nazi propaganda broadcaster, but they were unharmed. It also noted that Robert Montgomery sailed to France when the production was halted and drove a Red Cross ambulance for three weeks.
There have been a number of adaptations of Sayers' Lord Peter Wimsey stories. A 1935 British film entitled The Silent Passenger was directed by Reginald Denham and starred Peter Haddon as Wimsey. A popular British television series featuring Ian Carmichael in the role was produced in the mid-1970s and shown on public television in the United States, and another British series, produced in the late 1980s, featured Edward Petherbridge as Wimsey.