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If I Had a Million (1932)

Passed | | Comedy, Drama | 22 February 1933 (Sweden)
A dying tycoon gives million-dollar windfalls to eight people picked from the city directory.

Directors:

James Cruze (uncredited), H. Bruce Humberstone (uncredited) | 6 more credits »

Writers:

Robert Hardy Andrews (based on a story by) (as Robert D. Andrews), Claude Binyon | 14 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Gary Cooper ... Steve Gallagher
Charles Laughton ... Phineas V. Lambert
George Raft ... Eddie Jackson
Jack Oakie ... Private Mulligan
Richard Bennett ... John Glidden
Charles Ruggles ... Henry Peabody (as Charlie Ruggles)
Alison Skipworth ... Emily La Rue
W.C. Fields ... Rollo La Rue
Mary Boland ... Mrs. Peabody
Roscoe Karns ... Private O'Brien
May Robson ... Mrs. Mary Walker
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Storyline

Tycoon John Glidden, dying though still vigorous, is so dissatisfied with his relatives and associates that, rather than will his money to any of them, he decides to give it away in million-dollar amounts to strangers picked from the city directory. He picks a meek china salesman; a prostitute; a forger; two ex-vaudevilleans who hate road hogs; a condemned man; a mild-mannered clerk; a boisterous marine; and an oppressed inmate of an old ladies' home. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 February 1933 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

The Forger See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (USA) (DVD release)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Film debut of Marc Lawrence. See more »

Goofs

The La Rues purchase 9 vehicles from the used car lot and drive out in one car followed by 8 other vehicles. At the end of the day when they are down to one car, they only pay off 6 drivers. See more »

Quotes

John Glidden: I do mean it, friend, every word of it. I've spent my whole life building up a business, amassing a fortune. Now my life's coming to a close. I want this business and this money that I leave behind to mean something.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In England, the raspberry sound that Phineas V. Lambert makes was changed to a whistle. See more »

Connections

Followed by The Millionaire (1955) See more »

Soundtracks

When You and I Were Young, Maggie
(1866) (uncredited)
Music by J.A. Butterfield
Played as dance music at the Idylwood home
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Stars Shine In Celebrated Sequential Film
12 June 2001 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

A grumpy old tycoon postpones dying a while longer so that he can give his fortune away to strangers, a million dollars at a time.

IF I HAD A MILLION is an almost legendary example of a rarely used cinematic form, the episodic film. Really a series of common-theme shorts strung together, produced by a conglomeration of writers & directors and using a large array of actors, the episodic film is an easy recipe for disaster if done wrong. Episodes compete or even clash, while the brevity of the individual sections can give the audience scant time to empathize with the characters, resulting in boredom.

Here, however, spotlighting the brilliant spectrum of talent available to Paramount Studios, everything jells quite nicely. Some episodes are more famous than others - that is inevitable. But the entire picture as a whole has cohesion & sparkle, something to grab & hold the viewer's attention. Mixing comedy, drama, and some surprisingly effective pathos, the plot of IF I HAD A MILLION - while today a mite creaky, acknowledging its age - should keep most contemporary audiences well satisfied.

Director Ernst Lubitsch & writer Joseph L. Mankiewicz are representative of the exceptional talent behind the camera. On film the following stars perform, all excellent:

Prologue - Richard Bennett as the millionaire.

Episode 1 - Timid, henpecked Charlie Ruggles & Mary Boland as his domineering wife.

Episode 2 - Wynne Gibson (uncredited) as a world-weary prostitute.

Episode 3 - George Raft as a criminal forger.

Episode 4 - Allison Skipworth & W. C. Fields as ex-vaudevillians with a special aversion to road hogs.

Episode 5 - Gene Raymond (uncredited) as a prisoner on Death Row.

Episode 6 - Charles Laughton as a lowly clerk in a huge office.

Episode 7 - Gary Cooper, Jack Oakie & Roscoe Karns as carousing Marines.

Episode 8 - May Robson as a feisty old lady in a very restrictive rest home.

Fields, Laughton & Ruggles - playing variations on the worm that turns - have come in for a lion's share of the praise down through the years, but all the performers do a very fine job, with Gene Raymond & May Robson especially poignant.

Movie mavens will enjoy spotting many familiar faces among the uncredited character actors: Grant Mitchell, Clarence Muse, Frances Dee, Berton Churchill in Episode 5; Joyce Compton & Lucien Littlefield in Episode 7; Dewey Robinson, Margaret Siddon, Gail Patrick in Episode 8; and Samuel S. Hinds as one of the millionaire's lawyers.

Episode 2 presents some pre-Production Code situations and Episode 5 is relentlessly downbeat. These sequences were often excised for television showings in decades past.


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