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Because Irene (Pauline Brooks), daughter of millionaire Corning (Guy
Usher) failed his class on economics, professor Jones (Charles Starrett),
who has some progressive ideas about the redistribution of wealth in the
times of the Great Depression, is branded a leftist, fired from his job
and told to come back once he has made a million. So Jones sets out to
make the million, by hooking up with beggar Pete (James Burke) and his
friends to bring their simple schemes to a higher level by advertising in
the papers to send him a Dollar. Soon enough, he has won Larkey (George
E.Stone), a reporter hired to bring him down actually, over to his side,
who uses his profession to make an underdog and a martyr out of Jones -
and suddenl, the Dollar bills come flooding in, and everything that
Corning does to stop him amounts to very little. And when Corning, a
banker, refuses to hand over a check to Jones issued by the Nervo
toothpaste corporation, even his daughter, who started everything, sees
her professor was right and her father is just the capitalist pig he made
him to be - and she helps him to get to an all-decisive radio show, even
if Jones ultimately (but temporarily) gets jailed for kidnapping for this.
the end though, Jones has made his begging scheme into a business by
sending all contributors sale items as a way of redistributing wealth, and
he gets the girl - Irene - too.
A cheap comedy about (for its
time) much money ... but it's not its cheapness that makes this film less
than special, it's its niceness: While a somehow likeable film, Make a
Million seems to be made up of a few too many missed opportunities to
really qualify as a lost classic, Its econo-political messages seem to be
toned down and sugar-coated, the many sequences featuring Jones' beggar
friends seem to lack a certain edge, and the character of Irene Corning
remains way too pale to really pack a punch. That's all not to say that Make
a Million is necessarily a bad film as such, it's just not all it
could ahve been.