Brewster's Millions ★★★½

Dwan’s films are built on a lot of silly premises, though this one is a very popular story that has had over 10 filmic adaptations. However, he manages to make it very much his own with his physical approach to what is a talky comedy. Dennis O’Keefe’s body language is something to marvel at; there’s a perfect moment where he stands behind his buddies/fiancé watching a horse race in his imploding facial reactions had me in stitches. Some other great visual comedy gags—characters walking in symmetry, telephone wire jokes, and some nice fiddling with people unexpectedly shoving themselves into the frame. Plot is a bit meandering for obvious reasons, and the outdated racism is not pretty (“And you’ll have a job for life!”), though Eddie Anderson gets the funniest line in the entire film (“Maybe the Nazis are suing you for assault and battery!”). But I have to appreciate the madcap finale as well and its complete lack of an elongated emotional resolution. Economy is both the lesson and the virtue of this film.