7.4/10
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8 user 5 critic

The Millionaire (1931)

A millionaire automaker retires upon the advice of his doctor, but becomes so bored he buys half interest in a gas station and works it on the sly.

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(based on "Idle Hands"), (dialogue) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Florence Arliss ...
Mrs. Laura Alden
David Manners ...
Bill Merrick
Evalyn Knapp ...
Barbara Alden
...
Schofield
Bramwell Fletcher ...
Carter Andrews
...
Peterson
Ivan F. Simpson ...
Davis (as Ivan Simpson)
J.C. Nugent ...
Dr. Harvey
Sam Hardy ...
McCoy
J. Farrell MacDonald ...
Dan Lewis
...
Ed Powers (as Charles Grapewin)
Charles E. Evans ...
The Gardener
...
Briggs
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Storyline

Automaker James Alden is told to retire by his doctors and does so in deference to his wife Laura and daughter 'Babs.' He is not only bored after six months, but is told by a life insurance salesman that retired men are bad risks. So James secretly responds to an ad in the newspaper about a garage being for sale, but he (using the alias Charlie Miller) buys only half of the garage, since the other half was already sold to Bill Merrick, who becomes his partner. The ex-owner, Peterson, was dishonest in not revealing he was opening a new gas station near the new highway a mile down the road where most of the traffic will be. Not willing to be slickered by anybody, Charlie and Bill buy and elegantly rebuild a decrepit building across the street from Peterson's new station and compete handily with the charlatan. James uses a pretense to get away every day, but wonders how long he can keep up his double life. Written by Arthur Hausner <genart@volcano.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Comedy

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1 May 1931 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le millionnaire  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Brunswick Radios Used Exclusively)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The characters James Alden and his wife Laura are played by real husband and wife George Arliss and Florence Arliss. See more »

Connections

Version of That Way with Women (1947) See more »

Soundtracks

Auld Lang Syne
(uncredited)
Scottish traditional Music
Played in background when Alden retires
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Charming
17 July 2006 | by (Arizona) – See all my reviews

The gentle humor of this film is balanced by a certain amount of social conscience, making it even as a dated story something moderately charming. Set in California during the Great Depression, it is pure fantasy of the kind much needed in movie-houses during those dark days. Although it is now rare in our decadent corporate epoch to find a happy and generous -- not to say intelligent -- millionaire free of the desire to line his own pockets at the expense of his employees, the character as played by George Arliss transcends mere capitalism and inspires us to higher purposes.

Cameos by James Cagney and Wallace Beery provide some historical flavor for film buffs, as do some truly grand vintage automobiles going in and out of the service stations central to the story. Though that story remains thin and improbable, it is fast-paced and directed with élan. My own appreciation was enhanced by noting at the outset the name of Booth Trarkington as one of the writers. He was without a doubt one of the finest popular novelists of the early twentieth century, now largely forgotten. The playful tone he employed in the "Penrod" stories is much evident here.

A very fine production for 1931.


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