If I Had a Million

If I Had a Million ★★½

Like any anthology film, If I Had A Million has its high and low points. The framing device, a rich dying tycoon giving away a million dollars to random strangers from his phone book, works quite well to set up short vignettes of various people in different walks of life.

The tone across all these vignettes oscillate quite a bit, mixing drama with comedy and in a couple an attempt at heartwarming. Highlights include W.C. Fields’ road rage, Lubitsch’s short nearly silent two minute segment, and George Raft’s forger meeting an ironic ending that would fit right in in the most sour preCode depression era film. The only downright bad short is James Cruze’s overly dramatic death row inmate receiving the millions although it might have landed better if it had come before the forger more deftly skilled mixture of darkness and irony.

Even the lesser sections have their moments from Charles Ruggles walking a rabbit on a leash and a young Gary Cooper and Jack Oakie working together. It is never quite dull and there are some great comedic moments but there is too much repetition and too many ideas mushed together that takes you out of the film.

Block or Report