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In the opening credits, Lana Turner is listed as "The Merry Widow," while in the end credits, her character name is given as "Crystal Radek." Cameo-like pictures of Turner and Fernando Lamas appear in the opening cast credits. A June 27, 1951 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that Nicholas Brodszky and Sammy Cahn were to write a score for the film, but none of their songs were in the released film. According to a November 12, 1951 Hollywood Reporter news item, Busby Berkeley was to direct the "Girls, Girls, Girls!" number, but no other contemporary or modern source indicates that Berkeley worked on the film. News items and an early Hollywood Reporter production chart add comedian Jack Carter to the cast, but he was not in the released film. News items also include Monique Chantal in the cast, but her appearance has not been verified. In an oral history, director Andrew Marton stated that he worked as the second unit director on the film.
The Merry Widow received two Academy Award nominations, for Best Art Direction and Set Decoration (Color) and Best Costumes (Color). Although many of the songs and characters from the original operetta were retained for the film, some of the songs and much of the storyline was changed. Una Merkel, who portrayed "Kitty Riley" in the film, appeared in the 1934 adaptation of the operetta as "Queen Dolores," a role not in the 1952 film. For other adaptations of the operetta, please consult the entry for the 1934 The Merry Widow (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40).