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If I Had a Million (1932)

Passed  -  Comedy | Drama  -  2 December 1932 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 1,032 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 6 critic

A dying tycoon gives million-dollar windfalls to eight people picked from the city directory.

Directors:

(uncredited) , (uncredited) , 6 more credits »

Writers:

(based on a story by), , 23 more credits »
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Title: If I Had a Million (1932)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Steve Gallagher
...
Phineas V. Lambert
...
Eddie Jackson
Jack Oakie ...
Private Mulligan
Richard Bennett ...
John Glidden
...
Henry Peabody (as Charlie Ruggles)
Alison Skipworth ...
Emily La Rue
...
Rollo La Rue
...
Mrs. Peabody
...
Private O'Brien
...
Mrs. Mary Walker
Edit

Storyline

Tycoon John Glidden, dying though still vigorous, is so dissatisfied with his relatives and associates that, rather than will his money to any of them, he decides to give it away in million-dollar amounts to strangers picked from the city directory. He picks a meek china salesman; a prostitute; a forger; two ex-vaudevilleans who hate road hogs; a condemned man; a mild-mannered clerk; a boisterous marine; and an oppressed inmate of an old ladies' home. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 December 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

China Shop  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (USA) (DVD release)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gail Patrick's film debut. See more »

Goofs

Discovering he's about to die, millionaire Glidden decides to leave his money to names he's randomly selected from the phone book. But when first name he chooses turns out to be John D. Rockefeller, he flips a few pages further into directory and selects someone named Peabody - a name that would actually have appeared in the book before Rockefeller. See more »

Quotes

Violet Smith: All right, wise guy, what's the gag?
See more »

Connections

Followed by The Millionaire (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

Sweet Genevieve
(1869) (uncredited)
Music by Henry Tucker
Lyrics by George Cooper
Played as dance music at the Idylwood home
Also sung a cappella by Richard Bennett
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Stars Shine In Celebrated Sequential Film
12 June 2001 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

A grumpy old tycoon postpones dying a while longer so that he can give his fortune away to strangers, a million dollars at a time.

IF I HAD A MILLION is an almost legendary example of a rarely used cinematic form, the episodic film. Really a series of common-theme shorts strung together, produced by a conglomeration of writers & directors and using a large array of actors, the episodic film is an easy recipe for disaster if done wrong. Episodes compete or even clash, while the brevity of the individual sections can give the audience scant time to empathize with the characters, resulting in boredom.

Here, however, spotlighting the brilliant spectrum of talent available to Paramount Studios, everything jells quite nicely. Some episodes are more famous than others - that is inevitable. But the entire picture as a whole has cohesion & sparkle, something to grab & hold the viewer's attention. Mixing comedy, drama, and some surprisingly effective pathos, the plot of IF I HAD A MILLION - while today a mite creaky, acknowledging its age - should keep most contemporary audiences well satisfied.

Director Ernst Lubitsch & writer Joseph L. Mankiewicz are representative of the exceptional talent behind the camera. On film the following stars perform, all excellent:

Prologue - Richard Bennett as the millionaire.

Episode 1 - Timid, henpecked Charlie Ruggles & Mary Boland as his domineering wife.

Episode 2 - Wynne Gibson (uncredited) as a world-weary prostitute.

Episode 3 - George Raft as a criminal forger.

Episode 4 - Allison Skipworth & W. C. Fields as ex-vaudevillians with a special aversion to road hogs.

Episode 5 - Gene Raymond (uncredited) as a prisoner on Death Row.

Episode 6 - Charles Laughton as a lowly clerk in a huge office.

Episode 7 - Gary Cooper, Jack Oakie & Roscoe Karns as carousing Marines.

Episode 8 - May Robson as a feisty old lady in a very restrictive rest home.

Fields, Laughton & Ruggles - playing variations on the worm that turns - have come in for a lion's share of the praise down through the years, but all the performers do a very fine job, with Gene Raymond & May Robson especially poignant.

Movie mavens will enjoy spotting many familiar faces among the uncredited character actors: Grant Mitchell, Clarence Muse, Frances Dee, Berton Churchill in Episode 5; Joyce Compton & Lucien Littlefield in Episode 7; Dewey Robinson, Margaret Siddon, Gail Patrick in Episode 8; and Samuel S. Hinds as one of the millionaire's lawyers.

Episode 2 presents some pre-Production Code situations and Episode 5 is relentlessly downbeat. These sequences were often excised for television showings in decades past.


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