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According to news items in Hollywood Reporter and New York Times, Frank Capra purchased the original story on which this film is based from Hugh Wedlock and Howard Snyder. When Capra discovered that the story was remotely similiar to the one-act play The Jest of Haha Laba by Lord Dunsany, which was produced in London twenty years earlier, he purchased the rights to the play to avoid a plagiarism suit. After enlisting in the Army, however, Capra sold the rights to producer Arnold Pressburger. Intrigued by the story, Ren Clair approached Pressburger about directing the film, and the two then enlisted Dudley Nichols to help write the screenplay. Nichols and Clair decided to avoid all references to the war by setting the picture in the 1890s. Although Hollywood Reporter news items list Ralph Linn, Edmund Cobb, Claire Whitney, Bud Jamison, Sam Adams, Frances Morris, Jean Wayne, Herbert Heyes, Pass Lenoir, Kay Linaker, William Forrest, Romaine Callender, Kate Herrington, Chick Collins, Howard Mitchell, Tom Quinn and Bruce Cameron's acrobatic troupe in the cast, their appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. The film received Academy Award nominations in the Music (Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture) and Sound Recording categories. On July 3, 1944, Lux Radio Theatre broadcast a radio adaptation of the story starring Don Ameche.