Considerable censorship difficulties arose because of sexual discussions and innuendos, although the Hays Office eventually approved the film for release. However, it was banned by the Legion of Decency and was refused a certificate by the PCA for re-release in 1934, when the production code was more rigorously enforced.
Ernst Lubitsch originally wanted to cast Ronald Colman and Leslie Howard as the male leads, but Colman wanted too much money and Howard wanted to avoid being compared to the original Broadway cast. Lubitsch then asked Douglas Fairbanks Jr. to play George, and he accepted, but he contracted pneumonia just before filming was to start and he was replaced by Gary Cooper. Lubitsch then cast Fredric March, who was at the time just a contract player at Paramount, as Tom.
The play opened on Broadway in New York City, New York, USA on 24 January 1933 and had 135 perfomancs. The 3 leads were played Noël Coward, Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt. There were 2 Broadway revivals, the last in 2001.
The preview time for the film was 105 minutes, so that 14 minutes were cut before the film's release. This may account for scenes with Helena Phillips Evans (Mrs. Egelbauer) and Armand Kaliz (Mr. Burton) being cut from the final release print.
The film's leading female character is named Gilda Farrell. In the 1946 film noir Gilda (1946), Rita Hayworth's eponymous character has the same legal name when she marries Johnny Farrell. Given the rarity of Gilda as a given name, it remains unclear whether it's a coincidence or not.
One of over 700 Paramount productions, filmed between 1929-49, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. This was first released to DVD 31 May 2005 as one of 4 titles in Universal's Gary Cooper Franchise Collection and again 6 December 2011 as part of the Criterion Collection; since that time it has also enjoyed occasional airings on Turner Classic Movies.