7.6/10
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22 user 20 critic

Le million (1931)

Not Rated | | Musical, Comedy | 4 February 1931 (Portugal)
An impoverished painter and his rival engage in a race across Paris to recover a jacket concealing a winning lottery ticket.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Béatrice
...
Michel Bouflette
...
Prosper (as Louis Allibert)
Paul Ollivier ...
Granpère Tulipe
Constantin Siroesco ...
Ambrosio Sopranelli
...
Le chauffeur de taxi
Vanda Gréville ...
Vanda
Odette Talazac ...
La cantatrice
Pedro Elviro ...
Le régisseur (as Pitouto)
Jane Pierson ...
L'épicière
André Michaud ...
Le boucher
Eugène Stuber ...
Le policier
...
Le policier
Armand Bernard ...
Le chef d'orchestre
Gabrielle Rosny
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Storyline

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 Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You MUST see it to know how indescribably clever and enormously "smart" a movie CAN be! See more »

Genres:

Musical | Comedy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

4 February 1931 (Portugal)  »

Also Known As:

Die Million  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

When Michel and Proper are at the stage fighting for the jacket; the sleeves are torn. Later on the jacket is intact. This is most obvious during the taxi scene when Michel sees one of sleeves through the window. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Timecode (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Sheer delight
25 February 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

In Le Million, Rene Clair, one of the cinema's great directors and great pioneers, created a gem of light comedy which for all its lightness is a groundbreaking and technically brilliant film which clearly influenced subsequent film-makers such as the Marx Brothers, Lubitsch, and Mamoulian. The plot, a witty story of a poor artist who wins a huge lottery jackpot but has to search frantically all over town for the missing ticket, is basically just a device to support a series of wonderfully witty comic scenes enacted in a dream world of the director's imagination.

One of the most impressive things about this film is that, though it is set in the middle of Paris and includes nothing actually impossible, it achieves a sustained and involving fairy-tale/fantasy atmosphere, in which it seems quite natural that people sing as much as they talk, or that a tussle over a stolen jacket should take on the form of a football game. Another memorable element is that Le Million includes what may be the funniest opera ever put on film (O that blonde-braided soprano! "I laugh, ha! ha!") Also a delight is the casting: Clair has assembled a group of amazing, sharply different character actors, each of them illustrating with deadly satiric accuracy a bourgeois French "type," so that the film seems like a set of Daumier prints come to life.

The hilarity takes a little while to get rolling, and I found the characters not as emotionally engaging as they can be even in a light comedy (as they are, for instance, in many Lubitsch films.) For these reasons I refrained from giving it the highest rating. But these minor cavils shouldn't distract from an enthusiastic recommendation.

Should you see it? By all means. Highly recommended whether you want a classic and influential work of cinema or just a fun comedy.


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