As Katharine Hepburn's close friend and frequent director, George Cukor was a natural choice to direct, but for her first film with Spencer Tracy, Hepburn wanted Tracy to be as comfortable as possible, so as a quasi-producer, she hired George Stevens, who had directed her in Alice Adams (1935). As Hepburn said, "I just thought he (Tracy) should have a big, manly man on his team - someone who could talk about baseball." Cukor (who was openly gay and known for his friendships with actresses) would later become a good friend of Tracy and would direct both actors in Keeper of the Flame (1942), Adam's Rib (1949) and Pat and Mike (1952).
The Broadway musical version opened at the Palace Theater on May 29, 1981, ran for 770 performances starring Lauren Bacall and Harry Guardino and was nominated for the 1981 Tony Awards for the Best Musical, Book and Score.
In the opening montage, the audience sees two side-by-side ads. One says "Hitler can't win" by Tess Harding and the other says "Yankees can't lose" by Sam Craig. Only Tess was correct; the Yankees made it to the 1942 World Series but lost to the St Louis Cardinals in five games.
Vilfredo Federico Damaso Pareto (1848 - 1932) was an Italian sociologist and philosopher. He made important contributions to economics, particularly in the study of income distribution and in the analysis of individuals' choices.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
The entire final sequence where Tess tried to win Sam back by making him breakfast and thus proving her marriage to Sam worth saving was written and filmed after the original ending tested poorly in preview. Apparently the original final sequence is lost.
The reason for the changed ending is revealed in the book 'A Remarkable Woman: A Biography of Katharine Hepburn' by Anne Edwards. It says, "Joseph L. Mankiewicz and George Stevens were concerned that 'the average American housewife, seated next to her husband, staring for two hours at this paragon of beauty, intelligence, wit, accomplishment, and everything else, (could not) help but wonder if her husband (wasn't) comparing her very unfavorably with this goddess he sees on the screen.' Stevens, who for all his charm was a dedicated male chauvinist, decided with Mankiewicz that Tess Harding had to have her comeuppance." This is why the ending was added showing Tess as incompetent in the kitchen.