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If I Had a Million

(1932 b 83')

En: 6 Ed: 6

A dying millionaire randomly gives a million dollars to eight different people.

Steel magnate John Glidden (Richard Bennett) is dying and trusts no one; so he picks names from the phone-book and gives a million dollars to each.

Henry Peabody (Charles Ruggles) is losing money breaking China in a shop and is nagged by his wife, causing a nightmare. After Glidden gives him a check, Henry comes in late and breaks all the China.

At a saloon Glidden gives prostitute Violet Smith (Wynne Gibson) a check. She gets the best hotel room, removes the second pillow, and sleeps alone.

Chauffeur Eddie Jackson (George Raft) forges a check and has to flee. Glidden gives him a check. Eddie tries to get cash but is wanted and can't. Finally he gives the check for a ten-cent bed, and Murphy uses it to light a cigar.

Emily La Rue (Alison Skipworth) shows her husband Rollo (W. C. Fields) her new car; but the car is wrecked, and she cries. After Glidden gives her a check, they buy eight used cars and hire drivers. Rollo drives road hogs off the road with each car. Then they buy a new car that is wrecked too.

In prison John Wallace (Gene Raymond) tells a priest he needs a good lawyer to prevent his execution. His wife Mary (Frances Dee) visits him. Glidden persuades the warden (Berton Churchill) to give Wallace his check. Wallace wants a new trial but is executed.

In a large office, clerk Phineas Lambert (Charles Laughton) gets a check and walks upstairs and through several doors to give the company president a verbal raspberry.

Marine Mulligan (Jack Oakie) is in the guardhouse for socking an officer. Steve Gallagher (Gary Cooper) and O'Brien (Roscoe Karns) join him and gamble for large amounts. Glidden brings a check for Gallagher; but he sees it is April first, and they laugh at him. When they get out, none can get a date with Marie (Joyce Compton) without dough. At her food-stand Gallagher gives her father the check for a $10 bill. Gallagher takes Marie to the carnival, and they find Mulligan and O'Brien there. Mulligan and O'Brien refuse to pay and fight. Gallagher joins it, and all three end up in the guardhouse. They see Marie and her father looking rich.

At a home for the elderly Mrs. Garvey (Blanche Frederici) enforces petty rules against loose blankets and card-playing. Mary Walker (May Robson) wants to bake biscuits and have a cat but can't afford to leave. Mary gets mail and invents a letter. Mary rebels against the insensitivity of Mrs. Garvey. Glidden's check causes Mary to faint and then cheer. Mary takes over the home with plush conditions and liberal policies while Mrs. Garvey is paid to sit and just rock. John Glidden tells his doctor he is happy and enjoys pies from Mary. He goes off to see her.

Numerous writers and directors contributed to these stories that fulfill fantasies of sweet revenge or ironically fail to help those who may be undeserving.

Copyright © 2001 by Sanderson Beck

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