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According to Daily Variety news items, the rights to the Nikolaus Lszl play on which this film was based were originally purchased by Ernst Lubitsch in 1938 with the intention to film it in an independent "share-the-profits" deal with Myron Selznick using his own company, Ernst Lubitsch Productions. Negotiations for the film's release were conducted with Paramount, RKO and United Artists, and Lubitsch planned to begin filming at the end of October 1938, but the deal failed to materialize, and when Lubitsch signed with M-G-M in January 1939, he included the story property in the deal with the proviso that he direct it. A November 1938 New York Times news item indicated that Lubitsch purchased the rights to the play for approximately $7,500. A July 1938 Los Angeles Times news item noted that Dolly Haas was originally set to appear in the picture. Daily Variety reported in October 1938 that Janet Gaynor was the likely candidate for the female lead. According to a January 1940 New York Herald Tribune article, "all scenes in the film were shot in the order in which they occur in the narrative." Studio publicity material indicates that because Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart were not available at the time that production was originally set to begin, Lubitsch decided to postpone the start date and wait until they were available. While waiting for Sullavan and Stewart, Lubitsch worked on Ninotchka. A 1940 Hollywood Reporter news item notes that Stewart and Sullavan were set to recreate their roles for a 29 September radio version of Shop Around the Corner on the Gulf-Screen Guild Show. Another film based on Lszl's play was the 1949 musical M-G-M picture In the Good Old Summertime, directed by Robert Z. Leonard and starring Judy Garland and Van Johnson. A musical stage version of the play, entitled She Loves Me, opened in New York on April 23, 1963. She Loves Me was later produced as a teleplay by BBC, and aired on the PBS network on December 19, 1979.