If I had a Million…

If I had a Million Dollars…

Quite a bizarre film in tone and story. The basic premise is that a dying millionaire, fed up with his family, decides to randomly give eight strangers a million dollars. What then follows is what they do now that they have a million dollars. The picture, while based on a single idea, was divied up amongst eight of the top writers and directors of the time (including Ernst Lubitsch) and features a variety of talent (Charles Laughten, W.C. Fields, Gary Cooper). Fields’ segment is far and away the best, a laugh-a-second joyride about a couple who, sick of road hogs, spend their million dollars on an endless supply of “disposable” cars that they use to run such hogs off the road.

What is odd about the film, but what also makes it a worthy entry is its changes in tone. These are not all delightful comedy capers. There is one especially tragic segment about a forger, law closing in on him, receiving the check.

Also, at a brief running time of eighty-eight minutes, and with a total of nine segments, this allows for some brief punctuation mark like sequences that will truly bring a smile to your face…and then they’re gone.

While this is certainly not the best work by any members involved, it is interesting, if lightweight. Its ability (or perhaps, more accurately, the simple fact that it doesn’t care about) balancing comedy and drama properly makes it a hurky-jerk ride; much like finances; much like life.

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