Mary Pickford made several tests for the role of Vinnie, but the studio worried about her box office popularity after a 13-year absence from the screen. In the end, director Michael Curtiz vetoed her, as he preferred Irene Dunne.
Mary Pickford was to have made her big screen comeback in the role of Vinnie but eventually the role went to Irene Dunne because of her box-office appeal.
Before filming began, the cast was taken to Perc Westmore's salon on a Sunday morning to have their hair dyed red. When it was time to rinse the dye, the beauticians discovered that the water had been turned off for the entire block because the street was being repaired. Because dyes were so strong then, leaving them on could have caused the cast to lose their hair. Luckily, someone suggested diluting the dye with cold cream.
The original play, "Life With Father" is the longest-running Broadway non-musical play ever. It played on Broadway for nearly eight years (3224 performances), from 1939 to 1947 and held the record for 25 years until "Fiddler on the Roof" surpassed it. The film version was released in 1947, the year that the Broadway run ended. The original Broadway production is the fifteenth longest running show ever.
The play's writers, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, and Clarence Day's widow were on the set and were given veto power on all aspects of the film. According to author David Chierichetti, Mrs. Day approved Irene Dunne's characterization and even lent some jewelry that belonged to the real Vinnie.
The premiere was on 14 August 1947 in Skowhegan, Maine, where the play had its initial performance eight years before. The stage play ran 3,224 performances, holding the record for the longest non-musical run on Broadway. The play was based on Clarence Day's book.