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Sweepings was the first film that John Cromwell directed for RKO, and the last RKO film on which David Selznick received a producer credit. According to a news item in Hollywood Reporter, Wesley Ruggles was originally slated to direct the project. A news item in Film Daily announced that child actors Sunny Campbell, Shirley Tibser, May Campbell, Donna Davis, Bonnie Lampman and Carol Mercer would be making their screen debuts in this production, but their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. RKO borrowed Lionel Barrymore from M-G-M for this production. Many reviewers commented on Barrymore's effective "aging" in the film. In an interview in New York Times, makeup artist Mel Berns explained how he made Barrymore look twenty-five by applying fishskin adhesive tape to the actor's "sagging" facial skin and then painting the tape brown. He also squeezed makeup into the wrinkles around Barrymore's eyes. Modern sources also credit Ern Westmore with the film's makeup. According to modern sources, the exhausted Barrymore agreed to act in Sweepings against his doctor's orders and, during many of the scenes, endured a flu fever of 103 degrees. Modern sources also state that RKO employed 300 extras for the opening sale scene and bought 132 pairs of cotton socks, all of which the extras had exchanged for their own socks by the end of filming. RKO remade Lester Cohen's story in 1939 as Three Sons . William Gargan, who played "Gene" in 1933 version, played "Thane" in the later production.