|It Grows on Trees|
|Directed by||Arthur Lubin|
|Written by||Leonard Praskins|
|Based on||short story "It Grows on Trees" by Leonard Praskins and Barney Slater|
|Produced by||Leonard Goldstein|
|Edited by||Milton Carruth|
|Music by||Frank Skinner|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
The story is about a couple who discover two trees in their backyard that grow money. One morning a few days after Polly Baxter (Dunne) purchased a couple of trees and planted them in her backyard, a $5 bill floats in through an open window, spurring a curious turn of luck to her family's ongoing financial concerns.
As she continues to collect more in the following days and weeks, Polly finds that the money is actually growing on the new trees that she planted and keeps that discovery from her husband Philip (Dean Jagger). Polly finds ways to use the money, while her husband wants it to be turned in to the police.
The neighbors, the media, the bank, the I.R.S., and the U.S. Treasury all get involved. Comedy ensues as the Baxters struggle with newfound ethical dilemmas; e.g., is this money legal or counterfeit, and what happens when the money dries up like an old leaf? All the time, however, Polly maintains that the world is full of wonder, if only people would believe.
The film was based on a story by Leonard Praskin and Barney Slater. They took it to Arthur Lubin who liked it and showed the story to producer Leonard Goldstein at Universal. The studio agreed to finance and in September 1951 Irene Dunne agreed to star. They working title was There's Nothing Like Money. By November the title had changed to It Grows on Trees and the movie was going to start after Lubin finished Francis Goes to West Point.
The filmmakers had to negotiate with the Treasury Department who had strict rules on the creation of fake money. They agreed to money being created for the film but had several conditions which needed to be complied with, such as not showing the money in close up and sticking back together any money that had been cut up.
Lubin said his main job as a director was to "watch the tempo" and make sure the actors looked as though they "believed every word they're saying."
Lubin said that Dunne was "a doll" and "that whole picture was charming. It was made during the 1952 election and there was a lot of politics in the story about money growing on trees. I think the front office sort of ruined the comedy in it. There again, theatre owners were making decisions rather than producers."
In 2019, Stephen Vagg wrote in Diabolique magazine, "It is effective and entertaining though very “Eisenhower era” and I kept wishing Dunne's husband was played by a movie star rather than Dean Jagger."