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Tons of Money (1926)

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Aubrey Allington is an inventor with enormous ingenuity at dodging debts; but tradesmen all around are getting wise to his tricks. Just as he is about to resort to the desperate plan of ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Leslie Henson ...
Flora le Breton ...
Mary Brough ...
Clifford Seyler ...
Jack Denton ...
Henry
Elsie Fuller ...
Douglas Munro ...
Roy Byford ...
Willie Warde ...
Ena Mason ...
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Storyline

Aubrey Allington is an inventor with enormous ingenuity at dodging debts; but tradesmen all around are getting wise to his tricks. Just as he is about to resort to the desperate plan of inviting all his creditors to dinner and blowing them up en masse, he and his wife Louise discover to their astonishment that he has inherited a fortune from a distant relative which will enable them to pay off all their debts. However, begrudging the creditors so large a share in the money, they come up with an elaborate scheme which involves faking the indebted Aubrey's death in favour of the next heir named in the will, his cousin George Maitland. Unfortunately, Maitland turns out to have a wife to claim him, while their butler decides to get in on the act on his own behalf... not to mention the awkward fact that the real George is also on his way! Written by Igenlode Wordsmith

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based on play

Genres:

Comedy

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Release Date:

March 1924 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

J'ai une idée!  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Frenetically limp
8 September 2006 | by (England) – See all my reviews

As I watched I kept getting the queerest feeling I'd seen part of this film before, possibly as an excerpt in a compilation of British comedy; sadly I don't remember that "Tons of Money" appealed to me much then, and seeing it in its entirety didn't improve it a great deal.

Leslie Henson here reminds me of Harry Langdon, and not in a good way. But the film really suffers through being a stage adaptation, and almost totally dependent on dialogue to unveil its twisty plot (of which, unfortunately, I had been informed beforehand, depriving the farce of its basic comic impact). It came across as far too 'talky', with bits of visual humour stuck in on a more or less disconnected level to fill in the transition to the screen: much of this seemed to be on a pretty basic level, but where there were genuinely ingenious sequences (where Aubrey Allington attempts to employ a bureau as a makeshift wash-stand in the attic, for example) which I'm sure I ought to have found funny as gags for some other film and some other actor, in this context they just didn't make me laugh. And while I can see the twists of the plot working well as a stage farce -- preferably with an Aubrey slightly more dynamic than a string of cooked spaghetti and a little less frenetically useless -- in the film the complex set-up requires an unwieldy amount of title-card explanation.

The performer who actually impressed me here was not Leslie Henson -- billed in the programme as "a major star of the stage who adapted effortlessly to silent and sound cinema" and whom I suspect I might have appreciated more if I had been able to hear him drawl out the lines instead of just watching him pull faces -- but his co-star Flora Le Breton, playing Aubrey's wife Louise. Hers is easily as important a part so far as the action goes, she is playing the stronger character, and her acting is more subtle and less grotesque; when she watches her friend Jean sink yet again into a fresh man's embrace, confident as always that this is her long-lost husband, Le Breton's expression tells us exactly what Jean is saying for the umpteenth time, without any need for the laboured title repetition (which, sadly, nonetheless follows).

This is not an outstanding turkey as such, but it's not particularly well suited to the adaptation, and I don't find the principal character to be appealing; contrary to my general prejudice, just because it's British doesn't necessarily mean it's either intelligent or subtle... The picture's origins do provide the surreal image of a war-party of Indians dancing around a sacrificial pole in rural Surrey, however; I'm not quite clear, given the spoof context, if this is deliberate humour or simply a low budget!


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