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The working title of this film was Lady Mary's Lover. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, exhibitors pressed M-G-M to change the title from Lady Mary's Lover back to Riptide, its original working title, in late February 1934. A late November 1933 Film Daily news item announced that Zo Akins had completed a screen treatment of the story, and early Hollywood Reporter production charts credit Charles MacArthur, not Edmund Goulding, with writing the film's story. The exact nature of these writers' contributions, if any, is not known. For the last two-and-a-half weeks of production, Robert Z. Leonard replaced Goulding as director, according to a late January 1934 Hollywood Reporter news item. After mid-March 1934 previews in Long Beach, CA, retakes were ordered by the studio. Hollywood Reporter production charts add Donald Grieg, Samuel May and Peter Hobbes as cast members, but their participation in the final film has not been confirmed. The Call Bureau Cast Service lists Edward Nugent in the role of "Erskine," but that part was played by Skeets Gallagher. According to a production news item in Motion Picture Herald, the film was budgeted at over $500,000. As noted by many reviewers, Riptide was Norma Shearer's first production after an eighteenth-month hiatus from the screen that was precipitated by her husband Irving G. Thalberg's illness. Modern sources note that snow was brought in from the Sierra Mountains for use in the Alpine scenes.