Saturday, March 23, 2013

Brewster's Millions again

I very briefly mentioned the various versions of Brewster's Millions back in August 2009, as it's a movie that has been remade quite a few times. The 1945 version is getting another airing at 10:30 AM on March 24 on TCM.

Thanks to the Richard Pryor remake in the 1980s, the story is fairly well-known: a man finds out that a long-lost uncle has died, but amassed a fortune during his lifetime. That fortune will be bequeathed to the nephew, but with a catch: the nephew has to spend a certain portion of the inheritance within 30 days to inherit the rest, with some very strict conditions. Not an easy thing to spend all that money, is it? Dennis O'Keefe plays the would-be heritor in this version, which is more than entertaining enough.

But there are a few other interesting things to point out. One is the 1945 version has our protagonist watching horse races -- on TV! Television, of course, had been invented in the late 1920s and there were experimental uses of the technology throughout the 1930s, something that I mentioned in conjunction with the 1938 movie Five of a Kind, which also had television as a brief plot point. It was really only after the end of World War II that television began to take off.

Back in 2009, I mentioned that there was apparently the possibility of another remake of Brewster's Millions. My scant evidence was that, when doing an IMDb search on the title, one of the entries gives, instead of a year of release, the parenthetical information "in development". Three and a half years on, and that "in development" version is still listed. It's a link to information that requires an IMDb Pro account, which I don't have, so I'm unable to comment any further. (The original source work is a 1902 novel, which by now would be in the public domain.)

The 1945 version has received a DVD release, although I think it's out of print, since TCM doesn't list it as available for purchase, and Amazon suggests they've only got a limited number of copies remaining.

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