February 20, 2017


The Million Pound Note – 1953 | 90 mins | Comedy | Colour


Plot Synopsis

The Million Pound Note

Zestful adaptation of Mark Twain’s classic satirical short story. Ronald Neame‘s fluid direction is full of vigour and Geoffrey Unsworth’s attractive TechniColour cinematography wholly captures Victorian-era England.

London, 1900. Two old, eccentric, and extremely wealthy brothers, Oliver and Roderick Montpelier (Ronald Squire, Wilfred Hyde-White), draw a currency note for a million pounds from the Bank of England. They need it to settle an argument. One of them believes that such a note would be useless to any poverty-stricken man; the other believes that just by possessing it one could live like a lord. They decide to test their theories, and select a penniless young American seaman, Henry Adams (Gregory Peck), to keep the note intact for 1 month. Initially the plan is a great success, when Adams visits a café and produces the note to pay his bill; pandemonium sets in and he becomes regarded as an eccentric American millionaire.

Adams never has to spend a penny because his credit rating is so good and is soon living in a luxurious hotel suite, wearing expensive suits and mentioned in the Court Circular. No one asks that he pay bills, these are forwarded for later payment. A mischievous fellow hotel guest steals the note when Adams takes over his room, but later returns it when debt collectors line up demanding to see the note. He returns the note to the brothers and goes off to marry his fiancée (Jane Griffiths), his future assured.

Production Team

Ronald Neame: Director
Jack Maxsted: Art Direction
John Box: Art Direction
Geoffrey Unsworth: Cinematography
Margaret Furse: Costume Design
Clive Donner: Editing
George Blackler: Makeup Department
Biddy Chrystal: Makeup Department
William Alwyn: Original Music
John Bryan: Producer
Jill Craigie: Script
Gordon K McCallum: Sound Department
Dudley Messenger: Sound Department
Winston Ryder: Sound Department


Gregory Peck: Henry Adams
Ronald Squire: Oliver Montpelier
Joyce Grenfell: Duchess of Cromarty
Maurice Denham: Mr Reid
Reginald Beckwith: Rock
Brian Oulton: Lloyd
John Slater: Parsons
Hugh Wakefield: Duke of Cromarty
A.E. Matthews: Duke of Frognell
Wilfrid Hyde-White: Roderick Montpelier

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