“Alex Korda taught me about other things. He introduced me to a whole new world of painting and literature and philosophy and politics. He knew so many people with such wide interests and he became a sort of professional father to me.“ - Vivien Leigh to David Lewin, 1960
“It’s about Stockholm in wartime, although my dress is, as you see, very 1936…The men wear 1917 clothes, but the war-time fashions for women would make the film look like a museum piece.” - Vivien Leigh explaining the tricks of the film trade on the set of Dark Journey, October 1936
Emeric Pressburger originally wrote the script in 1937 when producer Alexander Korda was casting around for a project for his wife, Merle Oberon. The intention was that a professional dancer would fill in for Oberon in the dancing scenes. Nothing ever came of it - mainly due to the intervention of the war - and Michael Powell and Pressburger were able to buy the rights for the screenplay back from Korda for £12,000 in 1947. To do this, however, they had to pretend that it was purely for sentimental reasons and not because they wanted to make it into a film. Having worked for Korda before, they both knew that he was a very shrewd businessman and that, if he detected they really wanted the property, he would have raised the price.