Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Millionaire For Christy

TCM's Star of the Month Fred MacMurray was adept at comedy. Somebody who is not particularly remembered for doing comedy, however, is Eleanor Parker. The two were teamed in A Millionaire for Christy, which is airing early tomorrow morning at 4:45 AM.

MacMurray plays Peter Lockwood, a radio host out on Los Angeles who is about to get married to June (Kay Buckley). This to the chagrin of his best man Roland (Richard Carlson), who had a thing for June. What none of these people knows is that things are about to change for them, in a big way. Apparently, Peter had a distant relativedie and leave him a $2 million inheritance, which would be quite nice today, but a whole lot nicer back in the early 1950s. The law firm sends one of their secretaries, Christy Sloane (Eleanor Parker), to inform Peter of his inheritance.

Except that Christy gets some other ideas. Well, she's given those ideas by fellow secretary Patsy (Una Merkel). If you're going to meet a man who is about to become a millionaire, Patsy tells Christy, why not try to get him to fall in love with you? Sounds like an utter violation of ethics to me, but then this is the legal profession. Sure enough, Christy thinks this is a great idea. So when she gets to Peter's place as he's getting ready for the wedding, she no longer has the professionalism to inform him of the inheritance, instead screwing up her job and getting Peter to think that perhaps this woman is a lunatic. And what is this lunatic doing at his apartment on the day he's supposed to get married, anyhow? That's not going to go over well with June.

Roland, a psychiatrist who is more than happy to delay Peter's wedding, gives Peter the idea to take Christy to a mental hospital, which for some reason Christy doesn't have a problem with! I guess she wants the wedding broken up too. And all this even though it's Roland who should have been doing that. But the wedding gets put off as Peter takes Christy to the hospital. Only, they never get there. Bad weather forces his car off the road in the apparent middle of nowhere in southern California, and the two wind up at a beachfront shack owned by Mexican immigrants who don't speak a word of English. They get the idea that Peter and Christy are on their honeymoon, and treat the couple appropriately. This, unsurprisingly, gives Peter and Christy a chance to fall in love....

To be honest, I found A Millionaire for Christy to be an utter mess. Christy is a dishonest, scheming blankety-blank and I can't think of any rational reason for Jef to fall in love with him. The bigger problem is that the movie is full of plot holes. I can't imagine anybody being able to pull off unprofessionality the way Christy tries to; in real life it would have been the doctor taking the alleged nutcase to the hospital, if he hadn't already figured out she's faking it; the conveniently-placed shack in the middle of one of the fastest-growing regions of the country; and on and on. Parker tries too hard and may have been better suited to drama; MacMurray tries but is weighed down by the awful script.

Thanks to the Warner Archive, however, you can watch this dreck whenever you want and judge for yourself.

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