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The working title of this film was Escape to Happiness. It is also known as Intermezzo. According to David O. Selznick memos reproduced in a modern source, the title Intermezzo was not used because Selznick feared that the obscurity of the word would confuse the audience. The opening credits of the film read "introducing Ingrid Bergman." This was Bergman's first English-language film. She also appeared as "Anita Hoffman" in the 1936 Swedish film of the same name, directed by Gustaf Molander and starring Gosta Ekman and Inga Tidblad. According to news items in Film Daily, William Wyler was originally to have directed this picture but when the script was not ready on time, Wyler resigned because of a previous committment to Samuel Goldwyn to direct Hans Christian Anderson. (That film, however, was not made until 1952, at which time Charles Vidor was the director.)
Hollywood Reporter production charts add that Harry Stradling began photography on the film, but was later replaced by Gregg Toland. Stradling received no credit onscreen or in reviews. A news item in Los Angeles Times notes that John Van Druten was to have worked on the script, but his participation in the final film has not been confirmed. News items in Hollywood Reporter note that the picture was originally to have been produced by the late Merritt Hulburd. This was the first film produced by Leslie Howard. Selznick offered Howard the job as an inducement to appear in Gone With the Wind. Assistant director Walter Mayo was on loan from M-G-M, director Gregory Ratoff was borrowed from Fox and photographer Gregg Toland was borrowed from Goldwyn for this picture. According to another news item in Hollywood Reporter, Ratoff wanted to act in this picture, but Selznick vetoed his request.
According to the memos, Selznick bought the rights to the Swedish film because he thought that he could save money by "actually duplicating, as far as practicable, the cut [foreign] film." This would save on unnecessary camera angles and scenes. Selznick also considered Ronald Colman, William Powell and Charles Boyer for the male lead and Loretta Young for the female lead. The film was shot partially on location in Monterey and Santa Monica, CA. A news item in Hollywood Reporter notes that production was shut down for several days at the end of July for script revisions. The film marked actress Enid Bennett's return to the screen after an eight-year absence.
Materials contained in the MPAA/PCA disclose that Joseph Breen insisted that "Anita" be punished for her adultery. The picture was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Musical Score. In 1945, Bergman starred with Joseph Cotton in a Lux Radio Theater version of the story.