powered by AFI
On 23 December 1940, Hollywood Reporter reported that actress Marlene Dietrich was threatening to leave this production, as she was unhappy with Universal's inability to sign a "big name" for the role of "Robert Latour." The same item noted that Universal was testing contract player Maria Montez to replace Dietrich if she did leave the film. The next day, however, it was reported that the problem had been solved, as it was Dietrich's agent, not the actress, who was complaining about the film's casting. Hollywood Reporter noted, though, that the male lead had not yet been cast. In modern sources, Dietrich's dislike of selected leading man Bruce Cabot has been made clear: she has been quoted as calling Cabot "an awfully stupid actor." While editing the film in March 1941, director Ren Clair entered into negotiations with Universal for a new contract, but no agreement was ever reached.
News items and Hollywood Reporter production charts include actor Raymond Walburn in the cast, though he did not appear in the released film. Hollywood Reporter also reported the casting of actresses Dorothy Darrell and Elaine Morey, but their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. The film's premiere was held on April 24, 1941 at the Orphium Theater in New Orleans, LA. Producer Joe Pasternak was named honorary mayor of the city during the premiere festivities, which were attended by the film's stars and a number of Universal contract players. According to modern sources, Clair stated that he and screenwriter Norman Krasna devised the film to parody the Dietrich image, and they did so with her knowledge. The film received an Academy Award nomination in the Art Direction (Black-and-White) category.