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Ernest Bliss is a rich young man with too little to do. Not realizing the depression he's in is due to boredom, Ernest consults a doctor. Sir James Aldroyd gives Ernest a prescription that he doesn't think Ernest can fill: Ernest must earn his own living for one year using none of his current wealth. Ernest bets him 50,000 English pounds that he can. Written by
Debbie Dunlap <email@example.com>
The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »
The map of the London Underground shown when Bliss first sets out looks authentic but misspells Whitechapel as 'Whitechaple'. See more »
Ernest Bliss (played by Cary Grant) is a wealthy playboy and socialite Londoner. He doesn't work and he has nothing to do. He has never had to do anything constructive, and his life has become a bore. He doesn't know what to do to while away his time between evenings of partying. And he doesn't even enjoy the partying and night life.
As many another person in his situation, he is unhappy. He can't enjoy all the things that his wealth can buy. He is empty, listless, unsatisfied. A friend recommends a doctor who can "cure" him. Sir James Alroyd (played by Peter Gawthorne) analyzes Bliss's problem in direct and unflattering terms. He suffers from selfish consumption, self-centeredness, a lack of empathy for the travails of others, and the compunction that follows. He couldn't even survive on his own for year.
Thus begins the "Amazing Adventure" of Ernest Bliss. Over the next year, this silver spoon-fed spoiled millionaire must learn how to live. He must learn how to find work, even when there's no work to be found. He must learn to work and hunt, scrape and save, ask and beg for work, for food, for a break, for a chance. In the course of his adventures and moving from one job and place to another, something amazing happens. He begins to identify with everyday people. His life transforms as he begins to care for others. Life has meaning. Life has purpose, if only to share with others or to help someone out of a tight spot.
This film is an amazing story of one man's redemption his rebirth. And Cary Grant plays the role to perfection. Not that we movie buffs should be surprised. Archibald Leach grew up poor in England, and mostly uneducated beyond age 14. While Grant is most remembered and loved for his many comedies and romantic roles, he was very talented as a dramatic actor as well. He proved it in a variety of roles he had interspersed with his comedy romances over the years. While his acting ability was never in question, some of those films were less than box office smashes. The public would allow him an occasional dramatic role, but for the most part, he had to play comedy and romance. In his leading man roles, he played opposite a host of Hollywood's best female stars of film over a period of four decades.
This film had several actors in supporting roles, most of whom did very well in their brief scenes. The one exception is Mary Brian, as Frances Clayton. She had more time than the rest on film, but her role was stiff and wooden at times. As Bliss takes on his year of learning how to live, not all is so serious that we don't have some humor. We see that in a few lines in places, and in one scene toward the end.
At one point, Bliss says to his banker, "Oh, what's the different talking to you about love?" The banker says, "Very little, no doubt. But would a young lady disappear like this if there weren't some other interests?" Bliss says, "Nonsense! She loves me. She said so. I know she does. There's never been anybody else." After a pause, he resumes, "She wouldn't do that! She couldn't do that!" The bankers says, "Whatever that may be, I'd rather fancy that is just what she has done."
When Bliss begins his one-year quest without any ID or money, he tells his man/butler, Clowes (played by Quentin McPhearson) that he, Clowes, won't have anything to do for the next year in his job. He is to simply stay in Bliss's home and do nothing until his return. Bliss says, "Now, don't tell anyone about it, Clowes." Clowes says, "I quite understand." I won't say what happens to Clowes over the next months, but when all is resolved later, he says, "Believe me sir, it was having no work made me go wrong. It was too hard a job having nothing to do at all." Bliss says, "Of course it was. That used to be the trouble with me." When Bliss goes into the room to fetch his new bride, Frances, he finds her crying. Bliss says, "Darling, you're crying. What's the matter, baby?" Frances says, "Cinderella didn't cry in the story. But she would have in real life. I'm too happy not to cry. Too happy."
This is a wonderful story of one man's redemption, and how that touches the lives of many others. It is based on a book by prolific English novelist Edward Phillips Oppenheim. He wrote more than 100 novels from 1887 to 1941. But for the lesser quality of the film on my DVD, and the sub-par acting noted, it would earn 10 stars.
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