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Le Million

(French 1931 b 81')

En: 7 Ed: 6

René Clair adapted Georges Berr's musical comedy about an artist and his friend searching for a winning lottery ticket.

In Paris artist Michel (René Lefevre) tells his model that he is engaged to Beatrice (Annabella), who becomes jealous. Bill collectors chase Michel, while Tulipe (Paul Ollivier) takes the jacket Beatrice was going to mend for Michel. After Michel is caught, he learns that he won a million in the Dutch lottery. He leads them upstairs as Tulipe leaves. Michel looks for the ticket, but Beatrice went out. Michel orders cakes and champagne, while Beatrice is summoned from ballet practice. In a shop an opera impresario is held up with a gun. Beatrice comes back and tells Michel that the jacket was taken by a fleeing criminal as a disguise. Then she tells Michel's friend Prosper (Louis Allibert) the name of the man is Tulipe; but Prosper doesn't tell Michel and gets him to promise to share the million if he finds the ticket. Michel tells Beatrice they could marry, and she tells him Tulipe's address.

Tulipe says he sold the jacket to an actor for a watch, and Michel is arrested with the watch. Police summon Prosper to identify Michel. At the police station opera singer Sopranelli (Constantin Siroesco) claims the watch. Michel tells Prosper to find Sopranelli. Prosper refuses to identify Michel, who is put in jail, while a chorus sings to Prosper's conscience. Michel's friends get him released, and he goes to the opera, leaving his hat with the taxi driver (Raymond Cordy).

Vanda (Vanda Gréville) hides in Sorpranelli's dressing-room, while dancer Beatrice watches Sopranelli get ready. Sopranelli puts on the jacket, and Beatrice puts out Prosper's friend Vanda. Beatrice sees her kiss Michel; so she hugs a man, making Michel jealous. Michel and Beatrice hide on stage as Sopranelli sings with the soprano about love. Feeling the love, Michel embraces Beatrice. Tulipe sees Beatrice, and she asks for the jacket. Sopranelli sings in The Bohemians and takes his jacket off for a fight. Michel and Prosper tear sleeves off the jacket before Sopranelli puts it back on. Sopranelli has the jacket sown, and Michel and Prosper fight over it. It is passed around like a game and lands on the taxi. Michel and Beatrice get in the taxi before they see it; but two men take the jacket. The taxi driver refuses to follow them without money. At home Michel and Beatrice are greeted by neighbors with champagne. Tulipe gives them the ticket, and everyone celebrates, singing that money is not important and that if the wealthy were honest, they would give it all away.

This stylized musical comedy stretches the momentary joy of a poor artist winning the lottery by taking all day to find the elusive ticket. His friend Prosper and all his neighbors hope that he will share with them.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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