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It Grows on Trees

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It Grows on Trees
Directed byArthur Lubin
Written byLeonard Praskins
Barney Slater
Based onshort story "It Grows on Trees" by Leonard Praskins and Barney Slater
Produced byLeonard Goldstein
StarringIrene Dunne
Dean Jagger
Joan Evans
CinematographyMaury Gertsman
Edited byMilton Carruth
Music byFrank Skinner
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • September 2, 1952 (1952-09-02) (United States)
Running time
84 minutes
CountryUnited States

It Grows on Trees is a 1952 American fantasy comedy film directed by Arthur Lubin and starring Irene Dunne in her final screen role. The cast also featured Dean Jagger, Joan Evans and Richard Crenna.[1] It was produced and distributed by Universal Pictures.

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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.[2] 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.[3]

Dunne wanted Dean Jagger as co star after seeing him in My Son John.[4] Joan Evans was borrowed from Sam Goldwyn, who had borrowed Peggy Dow from Universal for I Want You the previous year.[5]

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.[6]

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."[7]

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."[8]

Lubin bought the screen rights to The Wisdom of the Serpent by Adela Rogers St. Johns, hoping to film it with Dunne, but it was never made.[9]


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."[10]

Radio adaptation

It Grows on Trees was presented on Radio Theater November 16, 1953. The one-hour adaptation starred Ginger Rogers and Marcia Henderson.[11]


  1. ^ IT GROWS ON TREES Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 19, Iss. 216, (Jan 1, 1952): 143.
  2. ^ IRENE DUNNE GETS LEAD IN U.-I. MOVIE: Signs to Star in a Fantasy, 'There's Nothing Like Money,' to Be Made Next Year By THOMAS M. PRYOR New York Times 25 Sep 1951: 45.
  3. ^ Drama: Bernard Brothers to Star With Simone Simon; Tony Moreno Set for 'Untamed' Schallert, Edwin. Los Angeles Times 20 Nov 1951: B9.
  4. ^ HEDDA HOPPER: 'Rogue's March' Will Claim Peter Lawford Los Angeles Times1 Apr 1952: 16.
  5. ^ WILLIAMS WRITING NEW MOVIE SCRIPT New York Times 2 Feb 1952: 10.
  6. ^ HOLLYWOOD DOSSIER: New York Times 29 June 1952: X3.
  7. ^ Farce-Fantasies on Horizon: Hollywood Letter By Richard Dyer MacCann. The Christian Science Monitor20 May 1952: 10.
  8. ^ Davis, Ronald L. (2005). Just making movies. University Press of Mississippi. p. 184.
  9. ^ Lubin Will Do Film of St. Johns' Story: Director Buys Screen Rights to 'Wisdom of the Serpent' -Irene Dunne to Star New York Times 18 Oct 1952: 16.
  10. ^ Vagg, Stephen (14 September 2019). "The Cinema of Arthur Lubin". Diabolique Magazine.
  11. ^ Kirby, Walter (November 15, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 50. Retrieved July 7, 2015 – via open access

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This page was last edited on 17 April 2023, at 21:05
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