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The Millionaire (1931)

Passed | | Drama, Comedy | 1 May 1931 (USA)
A millionaire automaker retires upon the advice of his doctor, but becomes so bored he buys half interest in a gas station and works it on the sly.

Director:

John G. Adolfi

Writers:

Earl Derr Biggers (based on "Idle Hands"), Booth Tarkington (dialogue) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
George Arliss ... James Alden
Florence Arliss ... Mrs. Laura Alden
David Manners ... Bill Merrick
Evalyn Knapp ... Barbara Alden
James Cagney ... Schofield
Bramwell Fletcher ... Carter Andrews
Noah Beery ... Peterson
Ivan F. Simpson ... Davis (as Ivan Simpson)
J.C. Nugent J.C. Nugent ... Dr. Harvey
Sam Hardy ... McCoy
J. Farrell MacDonald ... Dan Lewis
Charley Grapewin ... Ed Powers (as Charles Grapewin)
Charles E. Evans Charles E. Evans ... The Gardener
Tully Marshall ... Briggs
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Storyline

Automaker James Alden is told to retire by his doctors and does so in deference to his wife Laura and daughter 'Babs.' He is not only bored after six months, but is told by a life insurance salesman that retired men are bad risks. So James secretly responds to an ad in the newspaper about a garage being for sale, but he (using the alias Charlie Miller) buys only half of the garage, since the other half was already sold to Bill Merrick, who becomes his partner. The ex-owner, Peterson, was dishonest in not revealing he was opening a new gas station near the new highway a mile down the road where most of the traffic will be. Not willing to be slickered by anybody, Charlie and Bill buy and elegantly rebuild a decrepit building across the street from Peterson's new station and compete handily with the charlatan. James uses a pretense to get away every day, but wonders how long he can keep up his double life. Written by Arthur Hausner <genart@volcano.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Comedy

Certificate:

Passed
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 May 1931 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Le millionnaire See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Brunswick Radios Used Exclusively)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The rival gasoline stations engage in a price war: 15 cents per gallon versus 20.5 cents per gallon. See more »

Connections

Version of The Ruling Passion (1922) See more »

Soundtracks

Auld Lang Syne
(uncredited)
Scottish traditional Music
Played in background when Alden retires
See more »

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User Reviews

 
What a lost gem of a movie!
14 August 2009 | by rooster_davisSee all my reviews

If you see "The Millionaire" come on TV, check it out. Record it if you can't watch it 'live'. This is a wonderful and funny movie. In brief, the owner of an automobile manufacturing company - apparently patterned on Henry Ford - is told by his doctor that he must retire or the stress may kill him. He turns over his company to underlings and soon we see him out west in California, sitting in a chair at a lawn party, blanket over his legs, and a young woman asks him if he wants a piece of buttered toast. Telling her he's not allowed - his plain 'wafer' is waiting for him - he tells her he can only have it on his birthday next April. "You'll call again in the Spring..." he suggests.

There is a wonderful appearance by a very young Jimmy Cagney as an insurance salesman who refuses to sell him life insurance after learning that he is retired. Cagney tells him that once men retire to the sidelines they just fall apart. He suggests that the older man buy a business and run it 'as a toy' to give himself something to do.

The old guy does just that - he and a younger man buy a service station but it turns out they've been swindled. The old guy sets about evening the score.

You can't help but like the main character, and his dry wit is such a difference from the punch-you-in-the-stomach "humor" of today's comedy, much of which depends on precocious kids and sexual innuendo and poddy-mouth comments. No sir, this old film has some genuine humor, if you are mature and intelligent enough to appreciate it.

I snagged this film and burned it to a DVD, and am glad I did. It's a great old movie - if you can see it, I promise you'll enjoy it.


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