It Grows on Trees (1952)

84 mins | Fantasy | November 1952

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HISTORY

The working title of this film was There's Nothing Like Money . According to a Jun 1952 NYT article, Universal negotiated with the Treasury Department to be allowed to photograph genuine five- and ten-dollar bills. The article states that, by offering the studio a set of bills under strict guidelines, the Treasury circumvented laws which decree that money cannot be defaced or photographed. Special "Silver certificate issue" bills worth five hundred dollars were released to the production, with their serial numbers noted, to be returned immediately after filming. The bills were watched over by public relations man William Gordon. The studio could only photograph them in a partial view, and any cut-up bills had to be pasted back together before being returned. Although the article discusses the studio's need to dye the bills in colors that would approximate the blossoms of a tree, the film was shot in black-and-white and the only dye used was a brown chemical that made some of the bills appear aged.
       Joan Evans was borrowed from Samuel Goldwyn's company for this film. Los Angeles newscaster Elmer Peterson made his screen debut in It Grows on Trees . An HR news item noted that Irene Dunne received seven and a half percent of the gross profit and director Arthur Lubin received two and a half percent of the net proceeds of the film. On 16 Nov 1953, Lux Radio Theatre broadcast a version of the story that starred Ginger Rogers and Ted de Corsia, while a Lux Video Theatre version was broadcast on 17 Mar 1955, starring Ruth Hussey and Robert ... More Less

The working title of this film was There's Nothing Like Money . According to a Jun 1952 NYT article, Universal negotiated with the Treasury Department to be allowed to photograph genuine five- and ten-dollar bills. The article states that, by offering the studio a set of bills under strict guidelines, the Treasury circumvented laws which decree that money cannot be defaced or photographed. Special "Silver certificate issue" bills worth five hundred dollars were released to the production, with their serial numbers noted, to be returned immediately after filming. The bills were watched over by public relations man William Gordon. The studio could only photograph them in a partial view, and any cut-up bills had to be pasted back together before being returned. Although the article discusses the studio's need to dye the bills in colors that would approximate the blossoms of a tree, the film was shot in black-and-white and the only dye used was a brown chemical that made some of the bills appear aged.
       Joan Evans was borrowed from Samuel Goldwyn's company for this film. Los Angeles newscaster Elmer Peterson made his screen debut in It Grows on Trees . An HR news item noted that Irene Dunne received seven and a half percent of the gross profit and director Arthur Lubin received two and a half percent of the net proceeds of the film. On 16 Nov 1953, Lux Radio Theatre broadcast a version of the story that starred Ginger Rogers and Ted de Corsia, while a Lux Video Theatre version was broadcast on 17 Mar 1955, starring Ruth Hussey and Robert Preston. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
1 Nov 1952.
---
Daily Variety
31 Oct 52
p. 3.
Film Daily
10 Nov 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Sep 51
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
5 Dec 51
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Feb 52
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Mar 52
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Mar 52
p. 3, 4, 6.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Mar 52
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Apr 52
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Apr 52
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
16 Apr 52
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
31 Oct 52
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
1 Nov 52
p. 1589.
New York Times
29 Jun 1952.
---
New York Times
29 Nov 52
p. 11.
Variety
5 Nov 52
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Story and scr
Story and scr
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
ART DIRECTORS
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Asst film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Gowns
MUSIC
MAKEUP
Hairstylist
Makeup
PRODUCTION MISC
Unit prod mgr
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "It Grows on Trees," by Leonard Praskins and Barney Slater in Cosmopolitan (Jul, 1952).
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
There's Nothing Like Money
Release Date:
November 1952
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 28 November 1952
Production Date:
7 March--16 April 1952
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Pictures Co., inc.
Copyright Date:
31 October 1952
Copyright Number:
LP2046
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Recording
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
84
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
15955
SYNOPSIS

Polly Baxter runs an efficient, happy household for her husband Philip and their children, Diane, Flip and Midge. The sole irritant to their suburban life is Phil's meager earnings, from which he is saving to open his own accounting practice. One morning, a five-dollar bill blows in through an open window, and although Phil thinks they should look for its owner, Polly insists that they use it to buy shoes for Midge. That night, as Phil chastises his wife for spending ten dollars on two new trees, they realize that the cat is playing with a ten-dollar bill. Polly believes that the money, which they need to pay for home repairs, came to them because they needed it. The next day, however, when they find young Midge playing with thirty-five dollars she found outside, Phil insists on turning it in to the police, even though Diane needs a dress for her college dance. The police arrive a few days later to inform Phil that Polly has claimed the money as her own, and he yells at her. As she cries that they cannot afford to pay for Midge's tonsillectomy, they notice five- and ten-dollar bills floating around the lawn. While Phil calls the airport, thinking a plane may have dropped the money, Polly notices more bills on her new trees and, pulling apart the tree's buds, finds money in each one. Afraid to tell Phil, she covertly questions him on whether money grown on trees is legal, and he tells her to ask the Secretary of the Treasury. When the treasurer's assistant, Finlay Murchison, receives her letter, he, Internal Revenue Service executive John Letherby and Secretary of Agriculture Henry ... +


Polly Baxter runs an efficient, happy household for her husband Philip and their children, Diane, Flip and Midge. The sole irritant to their suburban life is Phil's meager earnings, from which he is saving to open his own accounting practice. One morning, a five-dollar bill blows in through an open window, and although Phil thinks they should look for its owner, Polly insists that they use it to buy shoes for Midge. That night, as Phil chastises his wife for spending ten dollars on two new trees, they realize that the cat is playing with a ten-dollar bill. Polly believes that the money, which they need to pay for home repairs, came to them because they needed it. The next day, however, when they find young Midge playing with thirty-five dollars she found outside, Phil insists on turning it in to the police, even though Diane needs a dress for her college dance. The police arrive a few days later to inform Phil that Polly has claimed the money as her own, and he yells at her. As she cries that they cannot afford to pay for Midge's tonsillectomy, they notice five- and ten-dollar bills floating around the lawn. While Phil calls the airport, thinking a plane may have dropped the money, Polly notices more bills on her new trees and, pulling apart the tree's buds, finds money in each one. Afraid to tell Phil, she covertly questions him on whether money grown on trees is legal, and he tells her to ask the Secretary of the Treasury. When the treasurer's assistant, Finlay Murchison, receives her letter, he, Internal Revenue Service executive John Letherby and Secretary of Agriculture Henry Carrollman compose a joking reply that she is welcome to use the money if it complies with all legal standards. Thrilled by the letter, Polly proceeds to secretly hoard cash. When Diane becomes engaged to bank teller Ralph Bower at the same time that Phil announces he has a one-month business trip, Polly plans a lavish wedding. She renovates the house and pays off the mortgage while Phil is away, attracting the notice of her dishonest neighbor, Mrs. Pryor, who sneaks into the Baxter kitchen one day. There, she finds and steals all the money, moving the letter from the Treasury into the wrong hiding spot. Phil returns from his business trip with the news that he was jailed for passing counterfeit money, which crumbled like dry leaves when he tried to pay for dinner. Soon after, Ralph, who took Polly's mortgage payment at the bank, is demoted when he refuses to inform the manager who paid a mortgage with bills that are now drying up and falling apart. That night, Diane hysterically informs Phil that Ralph accused Polly of counterfeiting, and Polly is forced to admit where the money came from. When she brings Phil outside, however, the trees are stripped bare, and she cannot find the cash or the letter. Phil thinks she is losing her mind. The policemen also question her sanity after Ralph is jailed and Polly tries to get him out. A newspaperman named McGuire overhears her story, however, and, after inadvertently discovering the Treasury letter in her coffee canister, immediately phones in the story of how the government sanctioned the use of home-grown money. Soon, the story spreads and the Baxter home overflows with curious tourists. Murchison, Letherby and Carrollman arrive with a horticulturist, Dr. Burroughs, but when they realize the tree has gone dormant for the winter, the officials demand that Polly retract her story, which will make her a felon. Just then, Burroughs announces that the tree has a bud, and for days the nation waits while it grows. A cold snap almost kills the bud, but Burroughs nurses it along until it yields a tiny ten-dollar bill. After Congress erupts, the government officials pay Polly for her trees, which die anyway because of the cold. Polly insists that the world is full of wonder if people would only believe in it, but a relieved Phil tells her wonder does not mix with real life. He goes off to work as Polly receives her newest bargain, a lamp which, when rubbed, begins to emit a curious smoke that signals a genie inside. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.