Le Million Reviews

  • Aug 08, 2016

    Sheer delight In Le Million, Rene Clair, one of the cinema's great directors and great pioneers, created a gem of light comedy which for all its lightness is a groundbreaking and technically brilliant film which clearly influenced subsequent film-makers such as the Marx Brothers, Lubitsch, and Mamoulian. The plot, a witty story of a poor artist who wins a huge lottery jackpot but has to search frantically all over town for the missing ticket, is basically just a device to support a series of wonderfully witty comic scenes enacted in a dream world of the director's imagination. One of the most impressive things about this film is that, though it is set in the middle of Paris and includes nothing actually impossible, it achieves a sustained and involving fairy-tale/fantasy atmosphere, in which it seems quite natural that people sing as much as they talk, or that a tussle over a stolen jacket should take on the form of a football game. Another memorable element is that Le Million includes what may be the funniest opera ever put on film (O that blonde-braided soprano! "I laugh, ha! ha!") Also a delight is the casting: Clair has assembled a group of amazing, sharply different character actors, each of them illustrating with deadly satiric accuracy a bourgeois French "type," so that the film seems like a set of Daumier prints come to life. The hilarity takes a little while to get rolling, and I found the characters not as emotionally engaging as they can be even in a light comedy (as they are, for instance, in many Lubitsch films.) For these reasons I refrained from giving it the highest rating. But these minor cavils shouldn't distract from an enthusiastic recommendation. Should you see it? By all means. Highly recommended whether you want a classic and influential work of cinema or just a fun comedy. The Criterion DVD is good quality, though the print could have been better, but I assume they used the best available.

    Sheer delight In Le Million, Rene Clair, one of the cinema's great directors and great pioneers, created a gem of light comedy which for all its lightness is a groundbreaking and technically brilliant film which clearly influenced subsequent film-makers such as the Marx Brothers, Lubitsch, and Mamoulian. The plot, a witty story of a poor artist who wins a huge lottery jackpot but has to search frantically all over town for the missing ticket, is basically just a device to support a series of wonderfully witty comic scenes enacted in a dream world of the director's imagination. One of the most impressive things about this film is that, though it is set in the middle of Paris and includes nothing actually impossible, it achieves a sustained and involving fairy-tale/fantasy atmosphere, in which it seems quite natural that people sing as much as they talk, or that a tussle over a stolen jacket should take on the form of a football game. Another memorable element is that Le Million includes what may be the funniest opera ever put on film (O that blonde-braided soprano! "I laugh, ha! ha!") Also a delight is the casting: Clair has assembled a group of amazing, sharply different character actors, each of them illustrating with deadly satiric accuracy a bourgeois French "type," so that the film seems like a set of Daumier prints come to life. The hilarity takes a little while to get rolling, and I found the characters not as emotionally engaging as they can be even in a light comedy (as they are, for instance, in many Lubitsch films.) For these reasons I refrained from giving it the highest rating. But these minor cavils shouldn't distract from an enthusiastic recommendation. Should you see it? By all means. Highly recommended whether you want a classic and influential work of cinema or just a fun comedy. The Criterion DVD is good quality, though the print could have been better, but I assume they used the best available.

  • Aug 21, 2014

    A penniless artist discovers he just won the lottery but left his ticket in his jacket which was in turn unknowingly given away by his fiancee to a...well, that's just giving away the movie. Among all of Rene Clair's 1930's musical comedies, this one is by far my favorite. It's got the best music (still not memorable but better than the other two), it's got the most laughs and it's the most well-directed. It's somewhat comparable to Preston Sturges, if I'm being all film geeky about it. You'll be surprised at how much fun you will have watching this black and white 1930's French film. I couldn't recommend it enough.

    A penniless artist discovers he just won the lottery but left his ticket in his jacket which was in turn unknowingly given away by his fiancee to a...well, that's just giving away the movie. Among all of Rene Clair's 1930's musical comedies, this one is by far my favorite. It's got the best music (still not memorable but better than the other two), it's got the most laughs and it's the most well-directed. It's somewhat comparable to Preston Sturges, if I'm being all film geeky about it. You'll be surprised at how much fun you will have watching this black and white 1930's French film. I couldn't recommend it enough.

  • Apr 04, 2014

    A poor artist goes on a hilarious adventure trying to procure his old jacket with the winning lottery ticket in the pocket.

    A poor artist goes on a hilarious adventure trying to procure his old jacket with the winning lottery ticket in the pocket.

  • Jul 23, 2013

    A brilliant lighthearted musical comedy that is one of the early films to be shot in sound. It's directed with panache by René Clair.

    A brilliant lighthearted musical comedy that is one of the early films to be shot in sound. It's directed with panache by René Clair.

  • Jun 14, 2013

    Yes, this is a merry romp, crossing heroically into the sound era with aplomb (but still retaining many fond elements of the silent film days). René Lefèvre (also the star of Le Crime de M. Lange by Renoir) wins the Dutch lottery but leaves his ticket in his jacket pocket which is "borrowed" by master criminal Grandpa Tulip and then changes hands a fair few times, resulting in a wild chase across Paris. Very influential and even zany at times, but, for this viewer, no hearty laughs erupted. Perhaps things are just a little too pat with no wicked surprises (or true bizarrities) to shake things up. Regardless, this is a tightly constructed almost screwball comedy.

    Yes, this is a merry romp, crossing heroically into the sound era with aplomb (but still retaining many fond elements of the silent film days). René Lefèvre (also the star of Le Crime de M. Lange by Renoir) wins the Dutch lottery but leaves his ticket in his jacket pocket which is "borrowed" by master criminal Grandpa Tulip and then changes hands a fair few times, resulting in a wild chase across Paris. Very influential and even zany at times, but, for this viewer, no hearty laughs erupted. Perhaps things are just a little too pat with no wicked surprises (or true bizarrities) to shake things up. Regardless, this is a tightly constructed almost screwball comedy.

  • Apr 13, 2013

    All the trappings of an early Hollywood musical . . . but in France for some reason. Part screwball comedy and part farce, this film has been imitated many times ("Lottery Ticket", "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World", etc.), but rarely surpassed.

    All the trappings of an early Hollywood musical . . . but in France for some reason. Part screwball comedy and part farce, this film has been imitated many times ("Lottery Ticket", "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, World", etc.), but rarely surpassed.

  • Walter M Super Reviewer
    Feb 14, 2013

    "Le Million" starts with a couple of interlopers curious, not complaining, about the boisterous party being thrown in an apartment building in Paris. Well, that same day did not start out so well for Beatrice(Annabella), a ballerina, who comes across Michel(Rene Lefevre), who she pines for, with Wanda(Vanda Greville) in his arms, and coming to the wrong conclusion since Michel had just painted Wanda's portrait. To be honest, Michel has bigger worries, like owing half of Paris money. By comparison that is nothing compared to Grandpa Tulip(Paul Ollivier) who has half the police department chasing after him before Beatrice helps him out by loaning him Michel's tattered jacket that she was valiantly attempting to mend. And just as Michel's troubles look like they may be finally over, they are only just beginning. "Le Million" is a delightful and funny operetta that includes references to ballet, rugby and an opera about bohemians that mirrors Michel's life. Made at the advent of sound pictures, the movie also harkens back to the golden age of silent comedies with its exquisite early double chase. In fact, the movie is one long chase, with mistaken identities rampant. Pleasantly enough, director Rene Clair shows no signs of having trouble adjusting to the new format, just as a major theme is the failure to communicate. My only serious problem is how long it takes for everybody to key in on the jacket which admittedly might just be a consequence of maybe having seen that same gag many times from more recent films.

    "Le Million" starts with a couple of interlopers curious, not complaining, about the boisterous party being thrown in an apartment building in Paris. Well, that same day did not start out so well for Beatrice(Annabella), a ballerina, who comes across Michel(Rene Lefevre), who she pines for, with Wanda(Vanda Greville) in his arms, and coming to the wrong conclusion since Michel had just painted Wanda's portrait. To be honest, Michel has bigger worries, like owing half of Paris money. By comparison that is nothing compared to Grandpa Tulip(Paul Ollivier) who has half the police department chasing after him before Beatrice helps him out by loaning him Michel's tattered jacket that she was valiantly attempting to mend. And just as Michel's troubles look like they may be finally over, they are only just beginning. "Le Million" is a delightful and funny operetta that includes references to ballet, rugby and an opera about bohemians that mirrors Michel's life. Made at the advent of sound pictures, the movie also harkens back to the golden age of silent comedies with its exquisite early double chase. In fact, the movie is one long chase, with mistaken identities rampant. Pleasantly enough, director Rene Clair shows no signs of having trouble adjusting to the new format, just as a major theme is the failure to communicate. My only serious problem is how long it takes for everybody to key in on the jacket which admittedly might just be a consequence of maybe having seen that same gag many times from more recent films.

  • Jul 22, 2012

    A wonderful amount of fun! The sort of humor that still works today.

    A wonderful amount of fun! The sort of humor that still works today.

  • Jun 03, 2012

    A pleasant musical comedy.

    A pleasant musical comedy.

  • May 24, 2012

    Great french musical comedy.

    Great french musical comedy.