powered by AFI
The working title of this film was This Changing World. The opening credits are presented by an offscreen narrator's voice speaking over an image of St. Paul's Cathedral. The narrator explains: "St. Paul's Cathedral, London...That's right...Happily still standing after so much that has taken place in recent years. And to many of us, it's a symbol of something that will surely survive any other trials that May yet be in store. This May be the reason why a number of people banded themselves together to make this picture possible. In order of their appearance, these are the players who took part. Many others offered their services, but could not eventually appear through no fault of their own. The main point was the eagerness of everyone to take part in a job of real teamwork..." The narration is followed by a list of actors in order of their appearance. The name of Sir Cedric Hardwicke, who appeared before Anna Lee and after Charles Laughton, is omitted from this list, however. His name is included in the end credits, which are not as all-inclusive as the opening credits. Doreen Munroe's name is misspelled as "Monroe" in the onscreen credits. The narrator then continues: "Of course, it takes more than actors to make a picture, and we were fortunate in being able to make use of many offers of assistance... among them, these writers..." This is followed by a list of the film's writers. The narrator continues: "Also these directors and producers contributed their time and skill." A list of the film's directors follows. The narrator then concludes:"[their cooperation] symbolizes the common efforts of ourselves and our allies to make secure the ideals for which the picture stands."
According to materials in the production file on the film in the AMPAS Library, this picture was based on an idea by Hardwicke. According to a May 1941 New York Times, however, article, the film was originally conceived by a group of British and French nationals living in Hollywood as a way to raise money for war refugees. After the collapse of France, the British writers and actors decided to carry on with the project. A Hollywood Reporter news item adds that the production was halted for rewrites in September 1942 after America's entry into the war. The Motion Picture Herald review notes that the players, writers and directors worked without pay and that RKO distributed the film at cost. The profits were distributed to British and American charities connected to the United Nations war effort. According to a September 21, 1942 item in Hollywood Reporter, Frank Lloyd directed the London blitz sequences that open and close the film. A production still for the film revealed that Charles Coburn appeared in a scene with Claude Rains, however Coburn was not in the released film. A November 1941 Hollywood Reporter news item adds that Edmund Goulding directed the sequence in which "the Ismays" are running the Trimble house as a hotel. In his biography, Herbert Wilcox stated that he directed the sequence depicting the building of the Trimble house and the meeting between "Bill" and "Lesley." This marked British actress Jessie Matthews' sole appearance in an American film. According to modern sources, Ray Bolger [who was not identified in the viewed print] played a sentry in the film and Ren Clair replaced Alfred Hitchcock as one of the directors.