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 <email@example.com>
$1,000,000 in 1932 had the same purchasing power as $15,700,000 in 2009. See more »
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 »
Listen, I'm going off my nut. I ain't eaten. I ain't slept. The cops have got a plant on my place, and I'm walking around without a dime with THIS is in my pocket. I can't even buy a cup of coffee. I'm going crazy, I tell ya.
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vignettes that show the effect of a million dollars on the common man
When I saw the title "If I Had A Million," I remembered a sequence about a nursing home, and sure enough, it was from this 1932 film. "If I Had a Million" is a collection of stories by different writers showing the effects of a multimillionaire, John Gidden (Richard Bennett) giving away his fortune, a million at a time, to people he chooses from the phone book. It's the basis of the TV series prominent during my childhood, "The Millionaire" - the alternate title of "The Millionaire" is "If You Had a Million." The stories vary from funny to ironic to poignant. Directors include Ernst Lubitsch, Norman MacLeod, William Seiter, Norman Taurog, and others; writers include Claude Binyon, Lubitsch, Joseph Mankiewicz, Whitney Bolton, etc.
The stories are all excellent: An episode with a very modern sensibility starring George Raft as a forger; Gene Raymond as a death row inmate; Gary Cooper as a marine; Charles Laughton as a downtrodden clerk; Charles Ruggles as a clumsy salesperson in a china shop; Wynne Gibson as a prostitute in a segment that's definitely precode; and two total gems, W.C. Fields and Alison Skipworth as a couple with a new car; and May Robson as a woman in a strict nursing home.
My favorite is the nursing home segment. May Robson's acting is superb as an elderly woman living with a bunch of other miserable elderly women in a nursing home. It's not a cruel place, but the woman feel restricted, and all miss their families. The faces of these women are magnificent, and this episode really tugs at the heartstrings. Robson gets the million, and what she does with it is fabulous.
Another favorite is the marine segment with a young, gorgeous Gary Cooper along with Roscoe Karns in a very funny episode. Cooper gets the million, and he doubts the check is real. A short but sweet one.
The mood of each story is different; each is worth seeing. Highly entertaining.
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