powered by AFI
The working title was With Banners Blowing. Correspondence in the MPAA/PCA Collection at the AMPAS library indicates that the AMPP was reluctant to approve the story due to the sympathetic portrayal of a former prostitute, Carrie. An April 1936 treatment was rejected by Joseph I. Breen, director of the AMPP. In a letter to Paramount, Breen noted that "before a picture of this kind can be approved by us, it is necessary that you definitely establish: a-that prostitution, per se, is wrong; b-that there be no suggestion of condonation or glorification of a prostitute or of prostitution; c-that prostitution, definitely characterized as wrong, is definitely condemned as wrong by sympathetic characters in your play; d-that there be no details of any kind showing the business of prostitution; and e-that there be ample compensating moral values by way of punishment and stigma." In a letter to Paramount, dated May 7, 1936, Breen cited some specific scenes in the treatment that were objectionable, including a scene in which the members of the city's council are hinted at being Carrie's patrons; a scene in which Darnley whips his son; and a discussion between Carrie and Moresby in which Carrie is made to appear the only sane, sensible and sympathetic person in the town. In a letter to Will H. Hayes, president of the MPPDA, Paramount noted that there was a dispute between one of their officials and Breen. Breen interpreted a comment by a Paramount official as, "If I were to listen to the regulations laid down by your office no pictures could be made on this lot." The Paramount official notes in his letter that he actually said "that under the present ruling by Mr. Breen no studio would be able to tell one of the grandest stories in sacred or profane literature, the story of the 'Magdalene.'" Paramount and Breen apparently resolved their differences, as by the middle of May 1936, the script for the film was approved by Breen. In June 1936, Breen viewed the final print, and noted a few questionable items: "The townswomen who frown on Carrie should not be of the blue-nosed type, but rather, normal, every-day types of American women. Mrs. Wadsworth's speech should not quote her as saying 'in defense' of Carrie and she should not venture her belief 'that such a woman has a place in the social scheme of a community of any size.'" Despite these difficulties, the film was approved by the PCA. A contemporary article in New York Times notes that Pennsylvania censors deleted the scene in which Darnley is whipped by his father. According to an article in New York Times, Paramount originally intended Irene Dunne for the leading role, but she rejected the part. News items and the pressbook note that some scenes were filmed on location at Malibu Lake, CA.