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Man with a Million (1954)

The Million Pound Note (original title)
Approved | | Comedy, Romance | 18 June 1954 (USA)
Two rich British men offer a penniless American a loan, without telling him that the amount is £1,000,000, and this in the form of a single banknote.

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Writers:

(story), (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Ronald Squire ...
Joyce Grenfell ...
A.E. Matthews ...
Maurice Denham ...
Jonathan Reid
Reginald Beckwith ...
Brian Oulton ...
John Slater ...
Wilbur Evans ...
American Ambassador
Hartley Power ...
George Devine ...
Chop House Proprietor
Bryan Forbes ...
Gudrun Ure ...
Renie (as Ann Gudrun)
Hugh Wakefield ...
...
Roderick Montpelier (as Wilfrid Hyde White)
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Storyline

An impoverished American sailor is fortunate enough to be passing the house of two rich gentlemen who have 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 like 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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It's a new Peck... in a heck of a howl! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

18 June 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Man with a Million  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Colour by) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

When Henry Adams is chasing the bank note you can clearly see modern telephone manhole covers on the pavement and television aerials on the rooftops. See more »

Quotes

Mr. Reid: Now what about a cycling suit, Mr. Adams ? Cycling is all the rage nowadays. And then of course there is Ascot.
Henry Adams: I'm not gonna do any cycling and I'm not gonna do any Ascotting. Sailing is my hobby.
Mr. Reid: Ah ! The sport of kings. Very right and proper for a personage such as yourself.
Henry Adams: I thought racing was the sport of kings ?
Mr. Reid: [unperturbed] Then it ought to be sailing !
[to his assistant]
Mr. Reid: Nip in the waist a bit.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Trading Places (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo
(uncredited)
Written by Fred Gilbert
Sung by Gregory Peck
See more »

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User Reviews

"What A Charmingly Whimsical Gesture!"
11 July 1999 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Two elderly brothers, wealthy English gentlemen, establish a wager. They entrust a million-pound banknote to a penniless American, to see if he can live for a month purely on the good will which the note will engender, without ever having to cash it.

Gregory Peck plays Henry Adams, the innocent American, in this stodgy romantic comedy, based on a Mark Twain story. His love interest Portia Lansdowne is played by Jane Griffiths. The film is really just one gag, strung out for 90 minutes - a pauper has no friends, whereas a millionaire is surrounded by sycophancy and limitless credit. Markets deal in confidence, rather than cash.

The film is unarguably well-made. The performances are sharp, the incidental music comments neatly on the action and the 'look' is sumptuous. And yet there is something flat about Ronald Neame's direction, and the laughs are rather thin on the ground.

Verdict - Ostensibly a good idea, but not enough to support a full-length film.


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