Review: ‘If I Had a Million’

The episodes depicting what certain individuals would do if they had $1 million are not without their moments, some, of course, more effective than others. With so many cooks concerned, this cinematic porridge [based on a story by Robert D. Andrews] is naturally replete with a diversity of seasonings. Just who's responsible for which sequence isn't disclosed, although the scene with Charles Laughton giving his boss a lusty Bronx cheer, upon becoming one of the beneficiaries, is said to be 100% Ernst Lubitsch in writing and direction.

The episodes depicting what certain individuals would do if they had $1 million are not without their moments, some, of course, more effective than others. With so many cooks concerned, this cinematic porridge [based on a story by Robert D. Andrews] is naturally replete with a diversity of seasonings. Just who’s responsible for which sequence isn’t disclosed, although the scene with Charles Laughton giving his boss a lusty Bronx cheer, upon becoming one of the beneficiaries, is said to be 100% Ernst Lubitsch in writing and direction.

George Raft’s million is worthless because he is a fourth-time offender for forgery, and none believes his signature on the certified check.

Similarly Gary Cooper, Jack Oakie and Roscoe Karns as the triumvirate of marines look at the million dollar check received by Cooper, and also observe that it’s April 1 on the calendar, and that’s that.

May Robson converts the old ladies’ home in which she’s a ‘guesst’ into a clubhouse, when her million arrives, and bakes pies for Richard Bennett, who plays the eccentric millionaire who had hit upon the telephone directory potshot idea as a means for distributing his wealth.

Charlie Ruggles’ sequence has about the longest footage, while Laughton’s Bronx cheerio is the snappiest, and probably most effective.

W. C. Fields and Alison Skipworth man a vanguard of used flivvers as the means to attack the road hogs who endanger the other motorists, by running them up the sidewalks and into wrecks themselves.

If I Had a Million

Production

Paramount. Director Ernst Lubitsch, Norman Taurog, Stephen Roberts, Norman Z. McLeod, James Cruze, William A. Seiter, H. Bruce Humberstone; Screenplay Claude Binyon, Whitney Bolton,, Malcolm Stuart Boylan, John Bright, Sidney Buchman, Lester Cole, Isabel Dawn, Boyce DeGaw, Oliver H.P. Garrett, Harvey Gates, Grover Jones, Ernst Lubitsch, Lawton Mackall, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, William Slavens McNutt, Robert Sparks

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1932. Running time: 85 MIN.

With

Gary Cooper Charles Laughton W. C. Fields Charles Ruggles George Raft Jack Oakie
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