IMDb > The Millionaire (1931)
The Millionaire
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The Millionaire (1931) More at IMDbPro »

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Popularity: ?
Down 18% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Earl Derr Biggers (based on "Idle Hands")
Booth Tarkington (dialogue)
View company contact information for The Millionaire on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
1 May 1931 (USA) See more »
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Millions See more (11 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

George Arliss ... James Alden

Florence Arliss ... Mrs. Laura Alden

David Manners ... Bill Merrick

Evalyn Knapp ... Barbara Alden

James Cagney ... Schofield

Bramwell Fletcher ... Carter Andrews

Noah Beery ... Peterson

Ivan F. Simpson ... Davis (as Ivan Simpson)
J.C. Nugent ... Dr. Harvey

Sam Hardy ... McCoy

J. Farrell MacDonald ... Dan Lewis

Charley Grapewin ... Ed Powers (as Charles Grapewin)
Charles E. Evans ... The Gardener

Tully Marshall ... Briggs
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Ethel Griffies ... Mrs. Andrews (uncredited)
Ben Hall ... Al (uncredited)

Directed by
John G. Adolfi 
Writing credits
Earl Derr Biggers (based on "Idle Hands")

Booth Tarkington (dialogue)

Julien Josephson (screen play) (as Julian Josephson)

Maude T. Howell  screen play (uncredited)

Produced by
John G. Adolfi .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Alois Reiser (foreign version) (uncredited)
Cinematography by
James Van Trees (photographed by)
Film Editing by
Owen Marks (edited by)
Art Direction by
Esdras Hartley 
Costume Design by
Edward Stevenson (uncredited)
Makeup Department
Perc Westmore .... makeup artist (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Earl Luick .... wardrobe
Music Department
Leo F. Forbstein .... conductor: Vitaphone Orchestra
Crew verified as complete

Production Companies
  • Warner Bros. (presents) (as a Warner Bros Vitaphone Talking Picture)

Additional Details

Also Known As:
80 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Brunswick Radios Used Exclusively)

Did You Know?

The characters James Alden and his wife Laura are played by real husband and wife George Arliss and Florence Arliss.See more »
Movie Connections:
Auld Lang SyneSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Millions, 9 July 2016
Author: sol- from Perth, Australia

Coerced into early retirement, a bored former automobile tycoon decides buy a petrol station and operate it, but keeping the business a secret from his concerned family and competing with a rival petrol station proprietor prove challenging in this amiable comedy starring George Arliss. The film is best known nowadays for James Cagney's brief turn as a fast-talking, pipe-smoking insurance salesman who first makes Arliss consider buying a side business after noting that retirees tend to pass away earlier than those who remain employed to the end. Cagney absolutely nails the role, but the film belongs to Arliss all the way who proves himself a surprisingly sharp and shrewd businessman (he puts up a sign saying "don't ruin your car with cheap gas" as a response to his competitor lowering his prices). The film takes an incredibly long time to warm up though and it is only really in the second half of the movie that the comedy side of the film takes off. The laughs are, however, very good with lots of confused identity business as Arliss has to pretend to be penniless for his gas station partner and also has to pretend to not be working for the benefit of his family. 'The Millionaire' is a tad problematic if viewed as a message film (it advocates blatantly ignoring medical advice), but the writers are smart enough to keep any such themes in the background though and the comedy at the forefront. Noah Beery (brother of Wallace) also turns in a fine performance as the petrol competitor who learns an unexpected lesson or two from the highly experienced Arliss.

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