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The working title of this film was The Way We Are. According to a January 1956 Daily Variety news item, the title was changed to Autumn Leaves in order to exploit the song that is performed by Nat "King" Cole over the title credits. The onscreen opening and closing cast credits differ slightly in order. As noted in an April 1997 Daily Variety news item, the Writers Guild of America(WGA) restored the credits of blacklisted writers Jean Rouveral and Hugo Butler, who did not receive billing in the onscreen credits of the released film. According to the WGA's press release, the writers' credits should be in the following order: "Jean Rouverol & Hugo Butler and Lewis Meltzer and Robert Blees."
A July 1954 Daily Variety news item notes that the rights to Jack Jevne's original screenplay were initially purchased by Robert Aldrich, who intended to produce and direct the production for his company, The Associates and Aldrich Co. At that time, the film was to be released through United Artists. In October 1954, a Daily Variety news item reported that Distributors Corporation of America was to finance and distribute the production. Although a Hollywood Reporter production chart places Minta Durfee in the cast, her appearance in the released film has not been confirmed. A clip from a "Mr. Magoo" cartoon is shown when "Milly" and "Burt" go to see a film.