The Corn Is Green was adapted from the play that premiered in 1938. Playwright Emlyn Williams based the story on his own experiences when a social worker took an interest in his future and taught him the skills to succeed in school.
Warner Brothers purchased the play’s rights for $135 thousand, and Broadway cast members Rhys Williams, Rosalind Ivan, Mildred Dunnock and Gene Moss reprised their roles with the new star Bette Davis.
1. Davis wanted Ida Lupino cast.
However, actress and director Ida Lupino was already committed to another film, for which she had already done wardrobe fittings. “It would have been very exciting to do a picture with [Bette Davis],” Lupino said. “Tremendous wit, this woman has. Great sense of humor-- and about herself, too. I found her to be a charming woman.” Angela Lansbury was considered for the role, but Joan Lorring was cast instead. She received an Oscar nomination for her performance.
2. An actor had to drop out.
Richard Warring was originally cast, but he was drafted. While the studio tried to delay his service, it was unsuccessful, and Warring had to drop out. John Dall replaced him, and for his performance, he received an Oscar nomination. “She really listened to what I was saying and fed me my lines with the same intensity she would have if the camera had been on her," John Dall said.
3. Bette got her way.
Davis didn’t think that her hair was appropriate for playing Miss Moffat and requested that wig tests be completed before filming began. The wig helped her get into character. Davis also requested that they film in chronological order, which was not typical. However, this was possible because the movie didn’t require any location filming. Rather, they created the town on the soundstage.