7.1/10
937
19 user 7 critic

Mister 880 (1950)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Crime, Romance | 29 September 1950 (USA)
Gentle romantic comedy about a Secret Service Agent trying to catch a cold case counterfeiter and a United Nations translator.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (article)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
William 'Skipper' Miller
...
...
...
Chief
Hugh Sanders ...
Thad Mitchell
...
Olie Johnson
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Storyline

The Skipper is a charming old man loved by all his neighbors. What they don't know is that he is also Mr. 880, an amateurish counterfeiter who has amazingly managed to elude the Secret Service for 20 years. Written by Daniel Bubbeo <dbubbeo@cmp.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It's the picture everybody is cheering !

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| | | |

Release Date:

29 September 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Old 880  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Skipper, who played the Skipper's dog Please, was trained by Frank Inn (uncredited). Although larger in size, his markings, shaggy coat, and dark ears closely resemble Inn's more famous dog-star Higgins, who played Dog on the Petticoat Junction (1963) TV series and Benji (1974) in the movie of the same name. See more »

Quotes

Ann Winslow: What did you think it was? A boodle of queer?
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits appear on dollar bills. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Making of 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover
(uncredited)
Music by Harry M. Woods
Played when the man guesses Ann's weight
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User Reviews

 
Got change for a $1?
10 September 2009 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

I realize that 9 is an incredibly high rating, but I stand behind it. It's also high given that I was ready to bail after the first three minutes of this film-- blatant pro-Secret Service propaganda, complete with a stentorian voice-over. But then the characters show up: Burt Lancaster at his most charming, Edmund Gwenn doing his peerless benevolent eccentric, and a positively luminous Dorothy McGuire, exuding intelligence, wit, and gutsiness.

The title comes from the case file number (880) of a real-life counterfeiter—Emerich Juettner, ,a.k.a. Edward Mueller. The feds gained such respect that they called him Mr. 880—and his story deserves a film. Mueller (called "Skipper" and played by Gwenn) did indeed live in New York as a small-time counterfeiter who, amazingly, was as incompetent at etching a passable $1 bill ("George Wahsington") as he was competent at passing his queer money without detection for 10 years (1938-48).

The addition of Lancaster's and McGuire's roles is pure poetic license, but their duo only enhances the story because of the clever interlocking structure of the plot, and the often crackling dialog between them and with others, notably the wry and dry Millard Mitchell.

The hackneyed old phrase applies—I laughed (or at least smiled frequently), I cried (got teary-eyed once or twice), I got caught up in it. The point at which Burt and the feds are closing in on the dear old paperhanger, and McGuire is in a moral quandary about whether to help them or protect him, is so well done that it generated the same quandary in me—what would I have done?? It's a question I couldn't answer, and one that increased the tension that built to the courtroom scene and denouement.

"Mister 880" needs to be seen, right through to the end, which I won't spoil. But I will add a marvelous coda: Ultimately, the real Mr. 880, Juettner, made more money from this film than he did from a decade of counterfeiting—though of course, if he hadn't counterfeited there wouldn't have been a movie to profit from. So we get both poetic license and poetic justice.


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