Make a Million (1935)

 |  Comedy  |  25 July 1935 (USA)
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A college economics professor's "radical" ideas about capitalism get him fired. When he decides to put those ideas into practice, he finds that they actually do generate him huge amounts of... See full summary »



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Cast overview:
Pauline Brooks ...
James Burke ...
Guy Usher ...
Norman Houston ...
Monte Carter ...
Jimmy Aubrey ...
George Cleveland ...
John Elliott ...


A college economics professor's "radical" ideas about capitalism get him fired. When he decides to put those ideas into practice, he finds that they actually do generate him huge amounts of money. Soon a local banker and others who scoffed at his ideas see the amount of money he's making and try to cheat him out of his system. Written by

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Release Date:

25 July 1935 (USA)  »

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1.37 : 1
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User Reviews

Early Depression days version of "screwball comedy".
27 November 2001 | by (Mountain Mesa, California) – See all my reviews

A pronounced political posture, including a quasi-Marxist theory relating to redistribution of wealth, is woven into this lightweight Depression era comedy. Director Lewis Collins utilizes an interesting cast to bring forward the rather silly script's comedic elements and to make ideological indoctrination a suborning factor, at most. After a university instructor of economics, Professor Smith, played by Charles Starrett, of subsequent "B" Western fame, is placed on a leave of absence without pay due to his radical classroom theorizing, he decides to participate in the capitalist system by becoming a millionaire through an advanced mode of panhandling. His method is to conduct an advertising campaign from which the public is requested to give him, generally by mail, one dollar apiece. The money which he will receive will be in turn given to large manufacturers who will then reward each contributor with an item retailing at three or more dollars, with the businessmen utilizing these funds to return their firms to profitability. Principally as a result of negative newspaper reporting about him, Smith benefits from a sympathetic reaction from the masses, and a great number of dollar bills begin flowing in. Inevitably, the quixotic hero becomes too attractive a target for the evil establishment to let pass, and attempts are made to legally seize his new found wealth. Smith's primary enemy, as always during the Depression, is a lurking banker, whose daughter Irene (Pauline Brooks), while a member of the professor's class, had complained of his visionary concepts, resulting in his being sacked. Brooks performs very well in her role, wherein she quite naturally falls in love with Smith and decides to commit with him in his crusade against his perceived enemies: position and power. Crucial to Smith's success is his panhandling pal Pete (James Burke) who tries to teach the professor the finer points of cadging, and who recruits for him a melange of disreputable derelicts as "board members" of Smith's imaginary World Improvement League. The subsequent proceedings are not entirely predictable, and the work, although a souffle, is well-photographed by Milton Krasner, competently directed, and clearly of historic interest.

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