Le Million ★★★★

When a winning lottery ticket goes missing, two struggling artists scramble to find it — with the aid of their debtors and a couple of women who somehow tolerate their raffish ways. While this proto-screwball plot manifests in several pleasing comic sequences, LE MILLION is even more interesting for its less successful attempt at pushing a social agenda.

It's easy to say that if greater thought had been put into the character relationships in LE MILLION, placing them above the needs of the message, the story might have been several degrees more engaging and its resolution considerably more satisfying, but that shift in focus might also have made it more ordinary. As it is, LE MILLION is briskly paced, with nice little bits of comic business around most of its many corners. Clair's mise-en-scene is terrific, with a number of artfully composed shots that manage to find romance within situations that don't necessarily deserve it.

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