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Date: 02.09.2017

A Million to One (1954)

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James Hitchcock 21 July Warning: Peck made another British film, "The Purple Plain", during this period.

The Million Pound Note - Wikipedia

Even in Britain, however, few people seem to have heard of it. The film was a based on a short story by Mark Twain.

The basic idea, that of two elderly, wealthy brothers entering into an eccentric bet which affects the life of a complete stranger, is similar to that in the later American comedy, "Trading Places". That film was a contemporary satire on the "greed is good" attitudes of the s, but "The Million Pound Note" is a period piece set in the early twentieth century.

The exact date is uncertain. A forty-eight-star flag flying outside the U. Consulate would seem to indicate that the film must be set in or later, but some of the costumes, and the absence of motor vehicles in the streets, would suggest a rather earlier date.

Man with a Million (1954) Torrent Downloads

The hero is Henry Adams, an American who finds himself stranded in England by an unusual combination of circumstances after a sailing accident and needs money for his passage back home.

By chance he meets the two brothers, Oliver and Roderick Montpelier, who give him an envelope, telling him that it contains money. When Adams opens it he finds that it contains a single banknote to the value of one million pounds. This is a fiction invented by Twain; in reality the Bank of England has never issued notes for such a sum. For the purposes of the story, however, we have to accept that the note is genuine and not a forgery.

Like "Trading Places", "The Million Pound Note" is a satire on the capitalist system, but satirises it in a rather different way. The satire of "The Million Pound Note" is directed less at rich people themselves than at the absurdities of the system through which they have obtained their wealth. While Adams has the note he is taken to be an eccentric millionaire.

In 1954 how much was one million dollars, now? | Yahoo Answers

He can obtain whatever he needs without having to pay for it. When he temporarily mislays the note and a rumour spreads that he never actually had it in the first place, the share price plummets. It does not matter that a geological report has indicated that the company is actually on the verge of striking gold.

What matters to the capitalist system is not reality but belief and confidence. A falsehood that people can believe in can be more persuasive than the truth. Indeed, they are more so, because they operate within a system which depends upon fantasy and delusion in order to function. The film was directed by Ronald Neame who two years earlier had made "The Card". The two films have much in common. Both are based on literary sources, "The Card" on a novel by Arnold Bennett.

Both are comedies set in Edwardian England. And both have similar themes, the importance of belief, even credulous or misplaced belief, to the money economy. Or, to be more accurate, to the credit economy.

The very word "credit" is derived from the Latin for "to believe". Denry Machin, the hero of "The Card", is a young man who makes a fortune by promoting business schemes which, if not exactly dishonest, are nevertheless heavily dependent upon his charm, persuasiveness and plausibility. When one under-capitalised venture seems set to fail, he manages to save the situation by persuading an aristocratic lady to back him.

As with Adams, the mere fact of her association with the scheme brings the investors flocking in. I would not rate this film quite as highly as "The Card", perhaps the greatest non-Ealing British comedy of the early fifties. Nevertheless, it has a lot going for it. It has some serious points to make, but makes them in an amusing way with wit and style.

Gregory Peck had a wide range as an actor, but he was often at his best playing an ordinary, decent man who finds himself in extraordinary circumstances- "The Big Country" and "To Kill a Mockingbird" are two other examples- and here he makes a charming hero. It is visually attractive, being shot in what would today be regarded as the "heritage cinema" style. It may be little known today, but I would consider that it deserves to be known more widely. Was this review helpful?