|MAN WITH A MILLION (THE MILLION POUND NOTE) (director: Ronald Neame; screenwriters: from a Mark Twain story "The Million Pound Bank Note"/Jill Craigie; cinematographer: Geoffrey Unsworth; editor: Clive Donner; music: William Alwyn; cast: Gregory Peck (Henry Adams), Maurice Denham (Mr. Reid), Jane Griffiths (Portia Lansdowne), Ronald Squire (Oliver Montpelier), A. E. Matthews (Duke of Frognal), Wilfrid Hyde-White ( Roderick Montpelier ), Reginald Beckwith (Rock), Joyce Grenfell (Duchess of Cromarty); Runtime: 92; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: John Bryan; United Artists; 1954-UK)|
|"It was a gentle satire of
manners that never had enough spice in it to
win me over."
by Dennis Schwartz
Body") and writer Jill Craigie smoothly but too dryly
adapt the Mark Twain story "The Million
Pound Bank Note" to the screen. It's a slight
rags to riches story, built around a one joke premise.
The tale grows increasingly tiresome, but Gregory Peck
gives it some pep with his enthusiastic performance
that saves the film. It did only so-so at the box
office and the reviews were mixed, and is now a
In Edwardian London, two wealthy, eccentric brothers, Oliver (Ronald Squire) and Roderick Montpelier (Wilfrid Hyde-White), have their bank draw up a million pound note in order to settle a wager. Oliver believes that by just possessing this note intact it will enable the note owner to be satisfied without cashing it. Roderick, on the other hand, believes the note will be rendered useless if not cashed. To settle the wager, the brothers give the note to Henry Adams (Gregory Peck), a penniless New England sailor stranded in London. Henry learns through a letter that the banknote is lent to him for one month. If he returns it intact, the brothers will arrange for him to have any job he wants that they can get him.
at first finds it difficult to use the note, as people
take him for an eccentric man of wealth, with great
credit, and treat him to everything--from posh hotel
rooms, elegant clothes, stock in a gold mine and
intros into blue-blood society. When the note gets
stolen by an irate Duke (A.E. Matthews), Henry is poor
again. But through the connections he made with royal
society, Henry meets and falls in love with
Portia Lansdowne (Jane Griffiths), the niece of the
Duchess of Cromarty (Joyce
The most memorable character was played by Reginald Beckwith. He plays a mute circus strongman, who becomes Peck's butler and confidante.
REVIEWED ON 4/10/2016 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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