Michel, a Parisian artist, is being hounded by numerous impatient creditors. To make things worse, when he is embracing the woman whose portrait he is painting, he is surprised by his indignant fiancée Béatrice. Suddenly, Michel learns that he holds the winning ticket in the Dutch Lottery. But when he goes to retrieve the ticket from the pocket of his jacket, he finds that Béatrice has given the jacket to a stranger who was in need. Now everyone has a keen interest in finding that jacket. Written by
"Le Million" is a 1931 musical directed by Rene Clair. It's wonderful that it's available on DVD for audiences to see and enjoy it. The story concerns a starving Parisian artist Michele (Rene Lefevre) who is having a bad day. He is being hounded by every creditor in town, and as his fiancé Beatrice (Annabella) walks into his apartment, he is embracing his model. Then he realizes that he has won the Dutch lottery with his friend Prosper (Jean-Louis Allibert), but the ticket is in his coat pocket, and the coat is gone. The city-wide hunt then begins for the coat, which was taken by Beatrice and given to a needy person, who sold it to the opera singer Sopranelli. There is a hilarious scene in Sopranelli's dressing room as various people try to get the ticket out of the coat pocket. Beatrice and Michele wind up behind some scenery on the opera stage and relate to the duet that's being sung.
This film and Clair obviously influenced such talents as the Marx Brothers, Ernst Lubitsch, and Rouben Mamoulian. All the performances are good, with the beautiful Annabella, a brunette here, a standout as the ballerina Beatrice. Annabella was signed by 20th Century Fox and brought over to America around 1938, made Suez with Tyrone Power, and the two fell in love and decided to get married. In order to dissuade her and his biggest star from marrying, Zanuck offered her several films in Europe, but she refused to leave her fiancée. Zanuck made sure she didn't work much after that, effectively blacklisting her. She had a big Broadway success, worked on behalf of the troops during World War II, and returned to France after her divorce from Power. She retired in 1954. Her radio work with Power, and this film, show what a wonderful actress she was.
Very good film - highly recommended.
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