Le Million (1931)

Le million
Feature Film | Musical Comedy | France | French | 1h21m
Dir: René Clair | Scr: René Clair | Play: Georges Berr & Marcel Guillemaud | Ph: Georges Périnal | Prod: Frank Clifford | Mus: Georges Van Parys, Armand Bernard, & Philippe Parès | Ed: René Le Hénaff | AD: Lazare Meerson | SD: Hermann Storr | Cast: René Lefèvre, Annabella, Louis Allibert, Vanda Gréville, Paul Ollivier, Odette Talazac, Constantin Siroesco, Raymond Cordy, Jane Pierson, André Michaud, Pitouto

In Clair’s thoroughly entertaining and decidedly inventive musical comedy, a penniless artist, just as all of his creditors appear on his doorstep demanding to be paid, discovers that he has won a million guilders on the Dutch national lottery, but unfortunately, having left the winning ticket in his jacket at his fiancée’s flat, who, after a lovers’ tiff has given it away to an on-the-run thief fleeing from the police, who in turn has sold it to a prominent New York-bound opera star, he must put the champagne on ice until after he is able to track it down – a task complicated by the fact that a friend-of-twenty-years of his will stop at nothing to get to it before him. The performances are generally delightful, the sets and camerawork arresting, and the use of music and song – particularly to illustrate internal thoughts – strikingly innovative. Enchanting.