If I Had A Million

At the Brattle

Movies were jerkier, care were flimsier, and a million dollars was a whopping sum in 1932, but with W. C. Fields around to act in the first, smash up the second, and spend the third, Hollywood had little need of CinemaScope to turn out a funny film.

Field's benign pomposity does not go unaided in this classic drama of heavy spending. His determined chase for road hogs is sandwiched between the tales of other recipients of a cranky millionaire's bounty, handled by a cast of old-timers.

Charlie Ruggles starts the evening with a dead-pan destruction of crockery second in violence only to Field's motorized antics, but aside from this, slapstick is kept to a minimum. George Raft as a counterfeiter and Charles Laughton as a downtrodden clerk provide small gems so the whole, and only Gary Cooper and Jack Oakie fail to maintain the pace set by the older comics.

But most of what can be said about the film could be better seen; it is an indescribable composite of rough-stuff and whimsey, mugging and dialogue, and the pet jokes of a score of script-writers. It I Had a Million is a very funny movie.