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Man with a Million (1954)
"The Million Pound Note" (original title)

 -  Comedy | Romance  -  18 June 1954 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,981 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 3 critic

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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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Ronald Squire ...
Joyce Grenfell ...
A.E. Matthews ...
Duke of Frognal (as 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 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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Laughter by the bushel... love by the Peck! 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:

(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 returns to his benefactors' home, he pulls the bell handle and the fabric of the stone building flexes outwards. 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

Version of A Million to Juan (1994) 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

 
I'm not gonna do any cycling and I'm not gonna do any Ascotting. Sailing is my hobby.
22 November 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Also known as Man With A Million, The Million Pound Note is based on a short story by Mark Twain called "The Million Pound Bank Note". It's directed by Ronald Neame {The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie/The Poseidon Adventure } and stars Gregory Peck {To Kill A Mockingbird/Cape Fear}, Ronald Squire, Joyce Grenfell, Jane Griffiths & Reginald Beckwith .

It's Edwardian England and American seaman Henry Adams ( Peck) is stranded and down on his luck. That is until he becomes embroiled in an unusual wager between two wealthy, eccentric brothers, Oliver (Ronald Squire) and Roderick Montpelier (Wilfrid Hyde-White). Giving him an envelope, they tell him that it contains some money but that he must not open it till 14.00. Thinking they are crack pots he goes along with it anyway, and much to his amazement the envelope contains a one million pound note (£1,000,000). It transpires that Oliver believes that the mere existence of the note will enable Adams to obtain whatever he needs without spending a penny, while Roderick contends that it would actually have to be spent for it to be of any use. Hence the bet is on and a promise of a job for Henry if he can go for a month without breaking into the note.

Chirpy yet astutely cynical is The Million Pound Note. The laughs come courtesy of the ridiculous way that people react to money and those that have plenty of it. As Henry {a wonderfully cast Peck} moves from penniless bum to upstanding wealthy gentleman, without spending anything, the moral of the story is blatantly obvious. Very much a forerunner to the Eddie Murphy starrer Trading Places in 1983, it also has similarities with Twain's own The Prince And The Pauper, themes that always produce interesting results as regards the human condition. There's the obligatory romance angle in the piece, which thankfully doesn't cloy the picture at all, and Neame has an array of interesting characters from which to keep the story zippy {watch out for a delightful turn from Reginald Beckwith as Rock}. A real safe recommendation this one, across the board it works well, both as a comedy, and as a wry observation. 7/10


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