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According to information contained in the MPAA/PCA file on the film in the AMPAS Library, the picture was approved in November 1931 without eliminations, even though the words "hell" and "damn" were included in the dialogue. A memo in the file from Col. Jason Joy of the Hays Office notes that the word "hell" was allowed three times in the picture because of its proper use within context, even though its use was "probably" in violation of the letter of the Production Code. Exception was taken to the line "It's hell on bugs," but the line was allowed. The picture was issued a certificate for re-issue on July 5, 1935. According to a letter in the file dated July 24, 1945, written by PCA director Joseph I. Breen to Gordon S. White of the New York office, Breen advised that when the certificate was issued in 1935, the words "hell" and "damn" were not in the print submitted by Samuel Goldwyn. Some time in July 1945, Nat Sanders of English Films, Inc. had complained to White that he had recently seen the film in New York at the Criterion Theatre and it "had more hells than I have hairs on the top of my head." Breen explained in the letter that the Criterion had most likely gotten an original print of the film and that Goldwyn had not recently re-issued the picture. He also indicated that Sanders, who represented English films which frequently had words such as "damn" and "hell" removed before certification, was probably annoyed at finding those words in an American film.
Arrowsmithm, which was based on Sinclair Lewis' Pulitzer-Prize-winning novel of the same name, received several Academy Award nominations, one for Sidney Howard for Best Adapted Screenplay, one for Ray June for Best Photography, one for Richard Day for Best Art Direction, and one for the film for Best Picture. Modern sources mention that H. Bruce Humberstone assisted John Ford on the picture and that Ford worked off the production briefly when he and Humbertsone had an argument about staging one of the scenes and producer Samuel Goldwyn sided with Humberstone. Modern sources also include James Marcus, Sydney de Grey, Pat Somerset, Eric Wilton, Erville Alderson, George Humbert, Walter Downing and Bobby Watson in the cast. Spencer Tracy and Fay Wray portrayed "Martin" and "Leora Arrowsmith" on a Lux Radio Theatre Broadcast on October 25, 1937.