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John M. Stahl
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>
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 »
When Henry Adams returns to his benefactors' home, he pulls the bell handle and the fabric of the stone building flexes outwards. 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 »
A rare foray into British films for Gregory Peck, and the journey seems to have done him good as this film shows him in one of his better performances (alongside Roman Holiday and To Kill a Mockingbird).
Henry Adams is given the million-pound note of the title and is challenged to keep it, intact, for a month. And that's the whole premise of the film - but along the way there is a chase along a windswept street, a dumb strongman, a rich girl, a gold mine, Joyce Grenfell, a bet, and a rather snooty tailor.
The film manages to poke fun both at the Americans and the British, as well as highlighting the class differences still prevalent in this country even today. Henry Adams' plight could be the one of any lottery winner in 2007, although this being movieland, all works out for the best in the end.
Interesting to compare with Mr Deeds Goes To Town, another film about a dotty philanthropist who comes into sudden wealth.
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