“It’s Love I’m After” – aren’t we all? (Note: Miss de Havilland will turn 99 on July 1st – Olivia de Havilland – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)
Bette Davis and Leslie Howard on set with director, Archie Mayo:
Leslie Howard originally envisioned either Gertrude Lawrence or Ina Claire, both noted for their comedic stage performances, as his leading lady, although they had limited experience in films. Producer Hal B. Wallis had director Archie Mayo meet with Lawrence, who was interested in playing the role, but when Wallis and Howard screened the 1936 British film Men Are Not Gods, they agreed she did not photograph well.
The film began production without a leading lady. Then Wallis decided the screwball comedy would be a refreshing change-of-pace for Bette Davis, who had just completed the melodrama That Certain Woman. She initially declined the role of Joyce Arden, feeling the better female role was that of socialite Marcia West. She also resented being asked to accept second billing to Howard. Suffering from exhaustion, Davis went to Palm Springs to recuperate and finally agreed to appear in the film if Wallis would allow her some time for rest and relaxation. He insisted she report to work on March 28, 1937, and she replied, “Give me a week more . . . I must have a brief chance of being something more than a jittery old woman.” She also asked Wallis to replace cinematographer James Van Trees with Tony Gaudio, one of the few cameramen she trusted, and the producer agreed, although Van Tress received sole screen credit.