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The working title for this film was The Forsyte Saga. According to a pre-release news item in Time magazine, M-G-M decided to change the title of the film from The Forsyte Saga to That Forsyte Woman because a survey showed that many Americans did not know the meaning of the word "saga." The film was released in Britain as The Forsyte Saga. While onscreen credits indicate that the film was "based on Book 1 of The Forsyte Saga," the actual title of that book was The Man of Property. Galsworthy received the Nobel prize for literature in 1932, primarily for the novels of The Forsyte Saga. The author died in early 1938. A December 1934 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that RKO, which had optioned the screen rights to Galsworthy's story in April 1934, decided to abandon the production because the story was "too involved." M-G-M purchased the rights to The Forsyte Saga in May 1937, at which time a Hollywood Reporter news item noted that M-G-M was planning to adapt the saga into a series, and that Edward Chodorov was set to direct the first film. In June 1937, a Hollywood Reporter news item noted that the saga would be produced as a two-hour feature.
In October 1947, according to Hollywood Reporter, M-G-M producer Robert Lord was announced as the film's producer. Contemporary sources note that Errol Flynn was loaned to M-G-M from Warner Bros. in exchange for the release of William Powell, who was cast in Warner Bros.' Life With Father. According to a 1949 Cue news item, Flynn was first cast in the role of "Young Jolyon Forstye," but because he objected to the part, he was later assigned to play "Soames." Walter Plunkett and Valles' costume design received an Academy Award nomination. Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon recreated their roles for a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on November 5, 1951. In 1966, BBC-TV produced an internationally popular twenty-six-segment adaptation of The Forsyte Saga, directed by David Giles and James Cellan Jones, and starring Eric Porter, Kenneth More and Nyree Dawn Porter.