Movie Mirrors Index

The Millionaire

(1931 b 80')

En: 6 Ed: 6

An auto executive must retire because of health; after deteriorating for six months he regains his health by buying and working at a new gas station.

At the Alden Motor Company President John Alden (George Arliss) looks at a new engine that will save 28% on cost; but he disapproves because of the poor materials. Alden refuses to accept the resignations of McCoy and Powers. Dr. Harvey examines Alden and tells him to stop working and smoking. Alden reluctantly agrees for his wife's sake. He says good-bye to his employees and leaves McCoy and Powers in charge.

Six months later Alden sits bored at a resort and "feels like hell." Carter Andrews courts Barbara Alden (Evalyn Knapp) and tells Alden he has a trust fund and serves on committees. Alden asks his wife Laura (Florence Arliss) about Andrews and says he's done nothing. An insurance salesman (James Cagney) won't sell Alden life insurance, because he is retired; but he suggests he go into business. Alden smokes his pipe and goes to buy a gas station, getting a half interest from Peterson (Noah Beery) for $2500 and saying he is Charlie Miller. The mechanic Bill Merrick (David Manners) bought the other half. Alden polishes a windshield. Laura and Barbara ask Alden where he went in an old suit, and Alden says he is advising someone.

Alden takes his medicine to the station but throws away each dose. The employee tells Alden and Merrick that the new highway means they won't need him. Alden takes Merrick to the new road to challenge Peterson's station. Alden asks Merrick to borrow $1,000 from his aunt, but he won't borrow from his "friend" John Alden. Merrick calls for Alden, meets Barbara, and asks to borrow for Charlie Miller. Alden tells Barbara no unless Miller comes. Alden and Merrick open Mission Service across the road from Peterson and do active business. Peterson lowers his price, and Alden puts up a sign warning against cheap gas. Barbara drives in and sees her father; she'll keep his secret. Barbara likes Merrick, but Alden says he is just a workman. Merrick takes her out in his old car, as Carter pulls up in his fancy car. They park under the moon, and Merrick tells Barbara that he loves her. Merrick tells Alden that Barbara said yes and that he plans to be an architect. Laura's driver stops for gas, and Alden kisses his wife.

Peterson offers to buy Mission Service, and they sell it for $13,000 so that Merrick can become an architect. Dr. Harvey calls on Alden, saying he is nearly normal. Merrick comes in as Alden hides behind a newspaper. Merrick says he wants to marry Barbara. McCoy and Powers arrive to ask Alden to return. Alden tells Laura that all he needed was a rest.

Alden finds that a change and doing what he enjoys cures his ailments better than medicine, while Merrick, blocked from his ambition by the Depression, gains the capital to pursue his goal.

Copyright © 1999 by Sanderson Beck

Movie Mirrors Index

BECK index