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Ruth McKenney's stories, on which Jerome Chodorov and Joseph Fields based their play, were originally published in The New Yorker Magazine. According to a news item in New York Times, Columbia paid $225,000 for the screen rights to the property. Actors Richard Quine and Gordon Jones appeared in the Broadway production as well as the film. The Variety review adds that Franklin Heller, who worked as dialogue director on the picture, was the stage manager of the Broadway production. Max Gordon produced both the stage and screen versions. According to a New York Times news item, Sidney Buchman prepared the scenario from the screen adaptation written by Jerome Chodorov and Joseph Fields. The article states that Buchman expanded the relationship between "Ruth" and "Robert." Although Buchman is uncredited on the film, a comparison between the play and the film reveals that Ruth's meeting with Robert occurred much earlier in the picture. In addition, the scenes of Robert meeting Ruth in the Manhatter office and their subsequent dinner do not appear in the play. The New York Times article adds that the nationality of the foreign sailors was changed from Brazilian, as it was in the play, to Portuguese when the Brazilian government protested the depiction of the sailors.
This picture marked the screen debuts of Jeff Donnell and Kirk Alyn. Rosalind Russell was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in the film. Russell also appeared in the July 5, 1943 Lux Radio Theatre version of the production. In 1955, Columbia produced a musical version of this film, titled My Sister Eileen and starring Betty Garrett, Janet Leigh and Jack Lemmon and directed by Richard Quine, who played the role of "Frank Lippincott" in the 1942 version. The Broadway musical Wonderful Town was also based on the Chodorov and Fields play, as was the December 2, 1958 CBS television production Wonderful Town, starring Russell and Jacqueline McKeever and directed by Mel Ferber. From October 5, 1960 to April 12, 1961 CBS broadcast a half-hour television series titled My Sister Eileen, starring Elaine Stritch and Shirley Bonne and directed by Oscar Rudolph.