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Papers included in the Charles K. Feldman collection at the AFI Louis B. Mayer Library add the following information about the production: Feldman originally wanted Jeanne Crain to play the part of "Laura," and Ethel Barrymore was his first choice for the role of "Amanda." Feldman also considered Gene Tierney and Montgomery Clift for the film. Feldman intended to make the picture in Technicolor but was unable to get a commitment from the company. Norman Corwin wrote a script for the film, but none of his material was used in the final picture. The film was shot in 42 days for a total cost of $1,357,000.
According to March 3, 1949 Hollywood Reporter news item, Warner Bros. held discussions with Helen Hayes to play the part of "Amanda." An July 18, 1949 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that Feldman was negotiating with Marlon Brando, who had made a name for himself in Williams' play Streetcar Named Desire, to co-star in the film. According to a August 22, 1949 memo from New York studio executive Harry Mayer to studio executive Steve Trilling, reproduced in a modern source, Tallulah Bankhead, Miriam Hopkins, Ralph Meeker and Pamela Rivers tested for roles in the film.
In a March 31, 1949 letter to Warner Bros. executive Jack L. Warner, MPAA head Joseph I. Breen wrote, "We suggest that Tom's narration at this stage be very carefully scrutinized and possibly rewritten, to get away from the present suggestion of an incestuous attraction toward his sister. Particularly we think of his line, 'Oh Laura, Laura-I tried to leave you behind, but I am more faithful than I intended to be,' might convey a suggestion of incestuous love. Also...'I can feel you touch my shoulder. I turn around and look into your eyes. Laura, I know now what I am searching for.'"
Williams' play won the New York Drama Critics' award, and was the first of his works to be adapted for the screen. The film was re-released by Twentieth Century-Fox in 1959. Jane Wyman reprised her role in a Lux Radio Theatre broadcast on March 8, 1954. Fay Bainter played "Amanda" in this production. In 1966, the CBS network presented a performance of the play, which starred Shirley Booth, Barbara Loden and Hal Holbrook. A 1973 television version of the play, directed by Anthony Harvey and starring Katharine Hepburn, Joanna Miles, Sam Waterston and Michael Moriarty (who won an Emmy for his performance) aired on the NBC network in 1973. Paul Newman directed a second film version in 1987, which starred Joanne Woodward, John Malkovich, Karen Allen and James Naughton.