7.2/10
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If I Had a Million (1932)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama | 2 December 1932 (USA)
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) (as Robert D. Andrews), | 14 more credits »
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Cast

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

Although he is billed first, Gary Cooper (Steve Gallagher) does not appear until 54 minutes into the film. See more »

Goofs

The La Rues purchase 9 vehicles from the used car lot and drive out in one car followed by 8 other vehicles. At the end of the day when they are down to one car, they only pay off 6 drivers. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Peabody: Now, Henry, I don't want to reproach you, but I want you to feel like a dirty little rat, Sweetheart.
See more »

Connections

Version of The Millionaire (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen
(uncredited)
Traditional Negro spiritual
Sung by Clarence Muse
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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