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

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User Rating:
7.3/10   295 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Down 7% 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:
What a lost gem of a movie! 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 »


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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
What a lost gem of a movie!, 14 August 2009
Author: rooster_davis from United States

If you see "The Millionaire" come on TV, check it out. Record it if you can't watch it 'live'. This is a wonderful and funny movie. In brief, the owner of an automobile manufacturing company - apparently patterned on Henry Ford - is told by his doctor that he must retire or the stress may kill him. He turns over his company to underlings and soon we see him out west in California, sitting in a chair at a lawn party, blanket over his legs, and a young woman asks him if he wants a piece of buttered toast. Telling her he's not allowed - his plain 'wafer' is waiting for him - he tells her he can only have it on his birthday next April. "You'll call again in the Spring..." he suggests.

There is a wonderful appearance by a very young Jimmy Cagney as an insurance salesman who refuses to sell him life insurance after learning that he is retired. Cagney tells him that once men retire to the sidelines they just fall apart. He suggests that the older man buy a business and run it 'as a toy' to give himself something to do.

The old guy does just that - he and a younger man buy a service station but it turns out they've been swindled. The old guy sets about evening the score.

You can't help but like the main character, and his dry wit is such a difference from the punch-you-in-the-stomach "humor" of today's comedy, much of which depends on precocious kids and sexual innuendo and poddy-mouth comments. No sir, this old film has some genuine humor, if you are mature and intelligent enough to appreciate it.

I snagged this film and burned it to a DVD, and am glad I did. It's a great old movie - if you can see it, I promise you'll enjoy it.

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