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The working title of this film was I'd Give a Million. The film was based on the 1935 Italian film Dar un milione, which was written by Cesare Zavattini and Giaci Mondaini, and directed by Mario Camerini, and which starred Vittorio de Sica, Assia Noris and Luigi Almirante. According to Los Angeles Examiner, Darryl Zanuck, intrigued by a review of the Italian film, sent for a print and after viewing the film, "bought the entire production." Los Angeles Examiner, in September 1937, called the film "an Italian Mr. Deeds Goes to Town," and reported "underground whispers that Twentieth Century-Fox will try to borrow Gary Cooper" for the lead. At the time, according to Los Angeles Examiner, Niven Busch, with the help of four interpreters, was working on the script. It is not known if any of Busch's contributions were included in the final film. Hollywood Reporter reported in November 1937 that Annabella and Tyrone Power were to play the leading roles, and in December 1937 that John Ford was scheduled to direct Warner Baxter and Loretta Young in the film. In March 1938, a Hollywood Reporter news item stated that the film would feature Don Ameche and possibly Young. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item and production charts, Binnie Barnes was originally cast in the film. Variety commented that Baxter "is not happily cast in the part."