"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on January 8, 1940 with Bette Davis reprising her film role.
Greta Garbo was the original choice for Judith Traherne.
David O. Selznick had originally purchased the screen rights but gave up production plans so he could concentrate all his energies on Gone with the Wind.
Bette Davis claims that Edmund Goulding worked on the script and added the character of Judith's best friend Ann so that Judith would never have to complain about her tragedy.
Bette Davis pestered Warner Brothers to buy the rights to the story, thinking it a great vehicle for her. WB studio chief Jack L. Warner fought against it, arguing that no one wanted to see someone go blind. Of course, the film went on to become one of the studio's biggest successes of that year.
Bette Davis said that this was her favorite role to play.
Gloria Swanson had tried and failed to get the movie made a few years earlier.
Based on a play that opened at the Plymouth Theatre in New York on Nov. 9, 1934 (with Tallulah Bankhead originating the role of Judith Traherne) and ran for 51 performances.
During the filming of the emotionally-charged scene when Bette Davis' character needs to find her way upstairs to her room after the brain tumor has caused her blindness, the cast and crew and several visitors were watching as Davis grasped the banister and began to feel her way up the steps, one-by-one. Halfway to the top of the staircase, Davis paused, stopped the scene, briskly walked back downstairs, and addressed director Edmund Goulding. "Ed," Davis said, "is Max Steiner going to be composing the music score to this picture?" Goulding, surprised by the question, replied that he didn't know, and asked Davis why the matter was important enough to stop the filming of the scene. "Well, either I'm going to climb those stairs or Max Steineris going to climb those stairs," Davis responded, "but I'll be God-DAMNED if Max Steiner and I are going to climb those stairs together!"
In 1938, Barbara Stanwyck and Melvyn Douglas starred in a Lux Radio Theatre version of the play, and in 1939 Bette Davis and Spencer Tracy starred in another radio version of the story.
Offscreen, Bette Davis suffered a nervous breakdown during filming as a result of her crumbling marriage to Harmon Nelson. This didn't prevent her from embarking on an affair with co-star George Brent.
The second of Bette Davis collaborations with director Edmund Goulding. They had previously worked together on That Certain Woman and would do so again on The Old Maid and The Great Lie.
This was Bette Davis' biggest moneymaker up to that point in her career.
This was Bette Davis' third Oscar nomination in five years, and her second of five consecutive nominations.