The Millionaire (1931)

81-82 mins | Comedy-drama | 1 May 1931

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HISTORY

The film's working title was The Ruling Passion . Earl Derr Biggers' story was first filmed in 1922 by United Artists as The Ruling Passion . The silent version also starred George Arliss and was directed by Harmon Weight (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.4731.) In 1947, Warner Bros. drew on the same material for That Way with Women which starred Sydney Greenstreet and was directed by Frederick de Cordova. Although not based on the Biggers' story, Warner Bros. 1936 film The Big Noise has a very similar plot (see ... More Less

The film's working title was The Ruling Passion . Earl Derr Biggers' story was first filmed in 1922 by United Artists as The Ruling Passion . The silent version also starred George Arliss and was directed by Harmon Weight (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.4731.) In 1947, Warner Bros. drew on the same material for That Way with Women which starred Sydney Greenstreet and was directed by Frederick de Cordova. Although not based on the Biggers' story, Warner Bros. 1936 film The Big Noise has a very similar plot (see above). More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
12 Apr 31
p. 32.
Hollywood Reporter
20 Dec 30
p. 3.
Motion Picture Herald
3 Jan 31
p. 45, 108
Motion Picture Herald
14 Mar 31
p. 43.
New York Times
9 Apr 31
p. 30.
Variety
15 Apr 31
p. 20.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Ruling Passion
Release Date:
1 May 1931
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
1 May 1931
Copyright Number:
LP2208
Physical Properties:
Sound
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
81-82
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

James Alden, millionaire owner of an automobile factory, is ill from overwork and his doctor advises him to retire out West. He resists, but out of consideration for his wife Laura and daughter Barbara, nicknamed Babs, he finally agrees. At the California resort, Jim is bored. After learning from insurance salesman Schofield that retired men are bad risks, Jim follows his suggestion to buy and run a little business on the sly for his own amusement. Jim buys a half-interest in a gas station unaware that a new state highway will eventually bypass the busy location. He convinces his partner, Bill Merrick, a personable young man whose family has lost its money, to invest additional capital in the venture. With this money and Bill's talents as an architect, they open a new station across the road from the station's dishonest former owner, Peterson. Soon, most of Peterson's customers are patronizing the elegant new station. Even Babs stops there. She and Bill recognize each other from college and start to date. Jim, who is using the alias Charles Miller, has kept his business a secret, but is discovered first by Babs and then by Laura. They realize that the work has given Jim new life. When Peterson offers to buy the station, Jim manages to get enough money out of him for Bill to go into business as an architect and marry Babs. Now that he is well again, Jim returns to Alden ... +


James Alden, millionaire owner of an automobile factory, is ill from overwork and his doctor advises him to retire out West. He resists, but out of consideration for his wife Laura and daughter Barbara, nicknamed Babs, he finally agrees. At the California resort, Jim is bored. After learning from insurance salesman Schofield that retired men are bad risks, Jim follows his suggestion to buy and run a little business on the sly for his own amusement. Jim buys a half-interest in a gas station unaware that a new state highway will eventually bypass the busy location. He convinces his partner, Bill Merrick, a personable young man whose family has lost its money, to invest additional capital in the venture. With this money and Bill's talents as an architect, they open a new station across the road from the station's dishonest former owner, Peterson. Soon, most of Peterson's customers are patronizing the elegant new station. Even Babs stops there. She and Bill recognize each other from college and start to date. Jim, who is using the alias Charles Miller, has kept his business a secret, but is discovered first by Babs and then by Laura. They realize that the work has given Jim new life. When Peterson offers to buy the station, Jim manages to get enough money out of him for Bill to go into business as an architect and marry Babs. Now that he is well again, Jim returns to Alden Engineering. +

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.