Ferenc Molnár's play was unpublished and called "The Girl from Trieste."
Originally, in 1937, Dorothy Arzner had been assigned by MGM producer Joseph L. Mankiewicz in 1937 to direct Luise Rainer in "The Girl from Trieste," an unperformed Ferenc Molnár play about a prostitute trying to reform herself who discovers the hypocrisies of the respectable class which she aspires to. After the death of Irving Thalberg, Louis B. Mayer was put in charge of MGM. Mayer disliked the perceived exploitation of the female lead's character, and insisted that Molnár's play be rewritten so that it was no longer about a prostitute, but instead a slightly dark Cinderella story with a happy ending. Retitled by Mankiewicz as The Bride Wore Red, Rainer withdrew and was replaced by Joan Crawford.
Probably the real "star" of the film, and the source of its title, was the red beaded gown by Adrian, worn by Joan Crawford in the climactic ball scene. The dress was reused in fashion show sequences in The Big Store and, finally in color, in Du Barry Was a Lady.
This was the film that got Joan Crawford labeled "box office poison" after a series of flops.
Three cast members in studio records/casting call lists did not appear or were not identifiable in the movie. These were (with their character names): Anna Demetrio (Signora Milani), George W. Jimenez (Signor Calla) and Abe Dinovitch (Yodeller). Child actor Bill Burrud is listed as a cast member in some contemporary newspapers, but he was not seen either.