Glumov's Diary is a key step in Eisenstein's career as it marks his transition from theatre stage director to film director. It was actually conceived by Eisenstein as an integrant part of the adaptation of Alexander Ostrovsky’s 1868 comedy Enough Stupidity in Every Wise Man (Na vsyakovo mudretsa dovolno prostoty) that he realised in 1923 for the Proletkult organisation. In the revolutionary context of the Soviet Union established one year before in 1922, the aim of this organisation was to create a new artistic aesthetics suitable for the working class. Eisenstein therefore substantially transformed Ostrovsky's play that he renamed plainly The Wiseman. He transposed the action to contemporary Russian émigrés circles in Paris, with new names for the characters and gave it a parodic style inspired by circus and the Commedia dell'arte.
Following Eisenstein's request at the beginning of 1923 Boris Mikhin, the director of Goskino supplied him with the necessary filmstock and appointed Dziga Vertov as consultant. The film was shot in April 1923 around the Morozov mansion in Moscow where the Proletkult theatre productions were taking place, a few days before the première of the play and was screened during the live performance.
The film was eventually included in number 16 of Dziga Vertov's Kino-Pravda (Film Truth) newsreel series, released on 21 May 1923 under the title Spring Smiles of the Proletkult (Vesennie ulybki Proletkulta).
Considered lost during many years, Kino-Pravda n° 16, including Glumov's diary, was rediscovered in Krasnogorsk in 1977, restored and included in various DVDs. There are some discussions as to whether the restored version has kept the original order of the different sequences.
The film is composed of three parts which were screened at different moments of the play.
The opening sequence starts with a shot of Eisenstein removing his cap and bowing in front of the poster announcing the play, followed by a shot of Grigori Aleksandrov as Glumov, in front of the same poster, and by shots of the main protagonists making comic faces. It has been argued that this could have been screened rather at the end of the play.