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The working title of this film was The Woman's Touch. According to Hollywood Reporter news items, John Payne was considered for the role of "Kenneth Nolan," and Evelyn Terry was to be included in the cast. Terry's participation in the completed film, however, has not been confirmed. Hollywood Reporter and Daily Variety news items reported that Harry Sauber and Lewis R. Foster worked on the screenplay, but their contribution to the completed picture has also not been confirmed. Hollywood Reporter news items also noted that William Wyler was originally scheduled to direct the film. Wyler was replaced by Leigh Jason, whom producer Samuel Goldwyn borrowed from RKO. Jason was in turn replaced by John Blystone after being re-assigned to direct The Goldwyn Follies, which finally was directed by George Marshall. Actor Charles Winninger was borrowed from Universal for this production, in which Broderick Crawford, the son of character actress Helen Broderick, made his screen acting debut.
According to articles in Life and the New York Times, Goldwyn had great difficulty with the film's pre-production. After purchasing Lynn Root and Frank Fenton's original story entitled "The Princess and the Pauper," Goldwyn hired Sam and Bella Spewack to write a screenplay based on it. The Spewacks produced a script but "refused to have their names connected with it." Goldwyn then hired Eric Hatch to work on the script, but Hatch refused to comply after reading it. A December 14, 1936 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that Dorothy Parker and Alan Cambell were signed to work on the script, and the New York Times review credits them and Variety writer Joe Bigelow with the finished screenplay. As with the other writers mentioned above, however, the extent of their contribution to the completed film has not been determined. After several additional studio writers were brought on to the project, a workable script was finalized. Goldwyn summoned Wyler, who read the script and offered to return the $25,000 bonus Goldwyn had given him for Dodsworth and Come and Get It if he did not have to direct The Woman's Touch. Goldwyn accepted the offer, and then began experiencing difficulties with the actresses. Miriam Hopkins read the script and asked to be relieved of the assignment, but, after much pressure from Goldwyn, agreed to do the picture if Gregory LaCava would direct. LaCava refused, however, after reading the script. While Hopkins finally agreed to participate, regardless of the director, actress Andrea Leeds, a Goldwyn contract player, refused the role of "Nina Tennyson." Goldwyn then borrowed Leona Maricle from Columbia for the part. The New York Times article concluded that Goldwyn had "won" his battle over the film, for audiences laughed so much during two previews that the picture had to be re-edited to allow more time between jokes. Modern sources add Edward Chodorov and Ben Hecht to the list of writers involved with the project, and indicate that Goldwyn originally signed Edward Ludwig as the director. This was the last of five Goldwyn films co-starring Hopkins and Joel McCrea, and it was also the last picture Hopkins made for Goldwyn.