The Millionairess (1961)

90 mins | Comedy | March 1961

Director:

Anthony Asquith

Producer:

Pierre Rouve

Cinematographer:

Jack Hildyard

Editor:

Anthony Harvey

Production Designer:

Paul Sheriff

Production Company:

Anatole de Grunwald, Ltd.
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HISTORY

The order of the closing onscreen cast credits differs slightly from the opening order. According to a 1952 LAEx news item, Katharine Hepburn was planning to star in the film, which was to be an independent production by a British company. Hepburn had starred in a 1952 Broadway revival of George Bernard Shaw’s play, and according to several news items, owned the rights. At the time, negotiations were ongoing with Charles Boyer to co-star.
       By Jun 1953, a HR news item announced that José Ferrer and Hepburn were talking about co-starring in the film. In Jan 1955, DV announced that American auto magnate Walter Chrysler, Jr. would finance the picture under the supervision of Lester Cowan. By Jun 1955, however, LAT announced that producer Howard Welsch had bought the rights to the play from the Shaw estate and that Nicholas Ray was slated to direct. In Sep 1958, a LAT news item stated that Hepburn wanted Louis Jourdan to co-star and that Preston Sturges was to write the screenplay. Although an Apr 1960 DV news item noted that The Millionairess was to be a production of Loren’s husband, Carlo Ponti, the extent of Ponti’s participation in the released film has not been determined. ... More Less

The order of the closing onscreen cast credits differs slightly from the opening order. According to a 1952 LAEx news item, Katharine Hepburn was planning to star in the film, which was to be an independent production by a British company. Hepburn had starred in a 1952 Broadway revival of George Bernard Shaw’s play, and according to several news items, owned the rights. At the time, negotiations were ongoing with Charles Boyer to co-star.
       By Jun 1953, a HR news item announced that José Ferrer and Hepburn were talking about co-starring in the film. In Jan 1955, DV announced that American auto magnate Walter Chrysler, Jr. would finance the picture under the supervision of Lester Cowan. By Jun 1955, however, LAT announced that producer Howard Welsch had bought the rights to the play from the Shaw estate and that Nicholas Ray was slated to direct. In Sep 1958, a LAT news item stated that Hepburn wanted Louis Jourdan to co-star and that Preston Sturges was to write the screenplay. Although an Apr 1960 DV news item noted that The Millionairess was to be a production of Loren’s husband, Carlo Ponti, the extent of Ponti’s participation in the released film has not been determined. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
13 Feb 1961.
---
Daily Variety
5 Jan 1955.
---
Daily Variety
19 Apr 1960.
---
Daily Variety
25 Oct 1960
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Jun 1953
p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Jun 1953
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Feb 1961.
---
Los Angeles Examiner
24 Dec 1952.
---
Los Angeles Times
15 Sep 1955.
---
Los Angeles Times
5 Sep 1958.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
11 Feb 1961
p. 12.
New York Times
10 Feb 1961
p. 19.
Variety
26 Oct 1960
p. 17.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Dimitri de Grunwald Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Focus
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Portraits by
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
2nd asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dresser
Prop buyer
Draughtsman
COSTUMES
Ward supv
Dresses
MUSIC
SOUND
Rec supv
Dubbing mixer
Boom op
Sd cam op
MAKEUP
Makeup
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
In charge of prod
Prod admin
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play The Millionairess by George Bernard Shaw (Vienna, 5 Jan 1937).
DETAILS
Release Date:
March 1961
Premiere Information:
London opening: 18 October 1960
New York opening: 9 February 1961
Production Date:
at M-G-M Elstree Studios, London
Copyright Claimant:
Anatole de Grunwald, Ltd.
Copyright Date:
26 December 1960
Copyright Number:
LP18565
Physical Properties:
Sound
Westrex Recording System
Color
Eastman Color
Widescreen/ratio
CinemaScope
Lenses/Prints
Prints by DeLuxe
Duration(in mins):
90
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
19669
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

By the terms of her late father’s will, spoiled London heiress Epifania Parerga, the richest woman in the world, cannot marry unless her prospective husband is able to turn £500 into £1,500 within a three-month period. When Epifania becomes smitten with Alastair, a muscular tennis player, she rigs the contest by giving him £500 in stock and then buying it back for £1,500. Alastair is unable to live with the domineering Epifania, however, and leaves her for the more domestic Polly Smith. Contemplating suicide, Epifania melodramatically plunges into the Thames, and when Dr. Achmed el Kabir, a self-effacing, selfless Indian physician who runs an inadequately equipped clinic for the poor, ignores her plight and paddles past in his rowboat, she swims to shore and accuses him of being an assassin. Julius Sagamore, the shrewd family solicitor, then suggests that Epifania undergo therapy with noted society psychiatrist Adrian Bond. The opportunist Bond makes a bid for her hand, but after he criticizes her father, Epifania throws him into the Thames, and when Kabir rows out to help Bond, Epifania jumps in the river after him. To ensnare Kabir, Epifania feigns injury, but the dedicated doctor remains impervious to her beauty and wealth. Determined to win the doctor, Epifania buys the property surrounding his clinic and then erects a new, modern facility. After Kabir rejects Epifania’s offer to run the facility, she suggests that they marry instead. Intimidated by the headstrong heiress, Kabir manufactures a deathbed promise that he made to his mother, pledging that he would not marry unless his prospective bride can take 35 shillings and earn her own living ... +


By the terms of her late father’s will, spoiled London heiress Epifania Parerga, the richest woman in the world, cannot marry unless her prospective husband is able to turn £500 into £1,500 within a three-month period. When Epifania becomes smitten with Alastair, a muscular tennis player, she rigs the contest by giving him £500 in stock and then buying it back for £1,500. Alastair is unable to live with the domineering Epifania, however, and leaves her for the more domestic Polly Smith. Contemplating suicide, Epifania melodramatically plunges into the Thames, and when Dr. Achmed el Kabir, a self-effacing, selfless Indian physician who runs an inadequately equipped clinic for the poor, ignores her plight and paddles past in his rowboat, she swims to shore and accuses him of being an assassin. Julius Sagamore, the shrewd family solicitor, then suggests that Epifania undergo therapy with noted society psychiatrist Adrian Bond. The opportunist Bond makes a bid for her hand, but after he criticizes her father, Epifania throws him into the Thames, and when Kabir rows out to help Bond, Epifania jumps in the river after him. To ensnare Kabir, Epifania feigns injury, but the dedicated doctor remains impervious to her beauty and wealth. Determined to win the doctor, Epifania buys the property surrounding his clinic and then erects a new, modern facility. After Kabir rejects Epifania’s offer to run the facility, she suggests that they marry instead. Intimidated by the headstrong heiress, Kabir manufactures a deathbed promise that he made to his mother, pledging that he would not marry unless his prospective bride can take 35 shillings and earn her own living for three months. Undaunted, Epifania accepts his challenge and then discloses the details of her father’s will and hands him £500. When Kabir protests that he has no head for money, Epifania plops down the wad of bills and leaves. Setting out to prove her worth, Epifania takes 35 shillings and heads for a sweatshop pasta factory. There, she threatens to expose the labor violations unless Joe, the proprietor, allows her to manage the plant. Three months later, Epifania has installed labor-saving machines, thus boosting productivity and making the plant a big success. Kabir, meanwhile, has tried in vain to give away his £500. After Kabir becomes drunk at a scientific dinner hosted by a wealthy doctor, he finds a sympathetic ear in his former professor and mentor, who generously offers to accept his money. At the clinic, Kabir eagerly turns over the cash to the professor. Soon after the professor leaves, Epifania appears and informs Kabir that she has met his mother’s challenge. When he replies that he has failed and given all the money away, Epifania is deeply offended. Deciding to turn her back on the world of men, she announces that she plans to fire her board of directors, disband her empire and retire to a Tibetan monastery once she has fired all the monks. Desperate to keep his job, Sagamore realizes that Kabir is responsible for Epifania’s erratic behavior and goes to see the doctor. At the clinic, Sagamore tells Kabir that Epifania has vowed to withdraw from the world at the stroke of midnight. Concerned, Kabir hurries to the reception where Epifania is to bid farewell to her previous existence. Certain that their marriage is now imminent, Sagamore meets the terms of the will by purchasing Kabir’s medical papers for £1,500. After Kabir rushes to Epifania, they kiss and he finally expresses his love. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.