Warner Bros. bought Marquand's book Melville Goodwin, U.S.A.
, then dispensed with it entirely and had a new screenplay written. Originally tailored as a film for Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, when Bogie became terminally ill, two unlikely comedy actors, Douglas and Hayward, were
tapped for the leads. Hayward is a Clare Luce-type who runs a news magazine. She is behind a civilian candidate for an important diplomatic job, so, when she learns that Douglas, a general, has gotten the nod, she is irate. She decides to discredit Douglas, so she invites him and public relations
officer Backus out to her posh Long Island estate for what she says is an interview...