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An impoverished American sailor is fortunate enough to be passing the house of two rich gentlemen who has conceived the crazy idea of distributing a note worth one million pounds. The sailor finds that whenever he tries to use the note to buy something, people treat him as if he is a King and let him have whatever he likes for free. Ultimately, the money proves to be more troublesome than it is worth when it almost costs him his dignity and the woman he loves. Written by
Jonathon Dabell <J.D.@pixie.ntu.ac.uk>
The clues indicate that the time was after 1912 and before WWI. The American flag at the consulate has 48 stars, which became official on July 4, 1912. Also, there are very few automobiles, which although not entirely common, were around in 1912 London. By 1915 and 1916 automobiles were quite common. The costumes and other timeframe indicators suggest the time of the film must be mid to Autumn 1912. At this time, the actual exchange rate would have been one British Pound equaling $4.70. So a 1 million pound note would be worth about $4.7 million dollars. There are several sources to confirm early 20th century pound to dollar exchange rates. See more »
The flag outside the U.S. consulate features 48 stars, although an American flag in 1903 would have had only 45 stars. See more »
Now what about a cycling suit, Mr. Adams ? Cycling is all the rage nowadays. And then of course there is Ascot.
I'm not gonna do any cycling and I'm not gonna do any Ascotting. Sailing is my hobby.
Ah ! The sport of kings. Very right and proper for a personage such as yourself.
I thought racing was the sport of kings ?
Then it ought to be sailing !
[to his assistant]
Nip in the waist a bit.
See more »
Oliver and Roderick Montpellier, two English brothers, make a bet that any man given a one million pound note, can live off the fat of the land just by showing off the good fortune of having it in his possession. Then, if by the end of a month, if he can show the intact bill, he will indeed be a man worthy of whatever fortunes might befall on him because of the sheer luck of proving the brothers right.
The lucky recipient of the note is one Henry Adams, an American in London who is just a poor man with no money, or prospects of a job in the near future. He tests his good fortune when he decides to dine at a modest restaurant. As the bill comes, he shows his one million pound note, which of course, the owner can't possibly change. The meal is free.
Henry Adams then discovers how he can go through his present situation relying on the fact that he is a millionaire, without really being one. He is given a set of smart clothes, a suite at one of the best hotels in town, and an introduction to high society, something that is not always available to Americans, even rich ones, as Henry appears to be.
This delightful comedy of 1954 was a total surprise. The film, made in England at the famous Pinewood studios, was directed by Ronald Neame. Based on a Mark Twain story, which we haven't read, it counts on the great work of Gregory Peck, a man that was one of the most charismatic performers during his years in the cinema. Mr. Peck is the whole movie; it's unimaginable to think of any other actor playing Henry Adams.
The supporting cast shows familiar faces of consummate English players who contribute to create the Edwardian atmosphere. Ronald Squire and Wilfrid Hyde-White are the Montpellier brothers, whose bet trigger the action. Reginald Beckwith is the mute valet who sticks by Henry through thick and thin. Jane Griffiths plays Portia, the woman that conquers Henry Adams heart. Also in the cast we saw Hugh Griffith, in a non-credited role. Joyce Grenfell, another delightful character actress, has some brilliant moments as the Duchess of Cromarty.
An enjoyable movie. Catch if it ever plays on your classic movie channel. You won't be disappointed!
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