Best Movies by Farr

If I Had a Million

If I Had a Million Poster
If I Had a Million Poster





If I Had a Million

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What's it About

Ailing industrialist John Gidden (Bennett) refuses to leave his fortune to his deadbeat family, so instead, gives away one million dollars each to names randomly picked from the phone book. Among the recipients are two former vaudevillians (Fields and Skipworth), a lonely lady in an old age home (Boland), a skeptical Marine (Cooper), a forger on the lam (Raft), a clumsy, henpecked sales person (Ruggles), and a meek-seeming clerk (Laughton). Via eight distinct segments, we see how this sudden windfall impacts these distinct characters, for better or worse.

Why we love it

This ingenious, often hilarious film from the early days of talkies somehow coheres, even though the tone varies considerably. The segments with Fields (“Road Hogs”, directed by Norman Z. McLeod) and Laughton (“The Clerk”, directed by Ernst Lubitsch) are the best, but all hold interest, including three darker sequences involving forger Raft, old widow Robson, and a condemned man on death row (an uncredited Gene Raymond). Cooper’s bit with Jack Oakie and Roscoe Karns also scores. This early, forgotten Hollywood gem is worth its weight in gold.

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