After months of searching for the elusive Million Dollar Baby we finally found it! We bought it at an auction along with some other goodies and for a mere two dollars we had the bundle delivered right to our doorstep. With anxious fingers we unwrapped our package and behold...the shiny dvd glimmered with glee at being brought to its new home. ( You didn't really think we found a million dollar baby did you? ) There's such a great thrill in finding a rare film.
Here's the low-down on the plot and cast :
Wealthy Cornelia Wheelwright ( May Robson ) discovers from her new lawyer ( Jeffrey Lynn ) that her father's fortune was obtained by swindling his former business partner, Fortune McAllister. Feeling guilty for her ancestor's skulduggery she seeks to make restitution by searching out the only living heir to McAllister, a young woman named Pamela ( Priscilla Lane ), and bestowing upon her the sum of one million dollars. Before handing her the sumly amount though, Miss Wheelwright wants to see what kind of a woman she is, and so she takes a room at the girl's boarding house under an assumed name and comes to know Pamela better, quickly becoming her fairy godmother.
"Million Dollar Baby" was directed by Curtis Bernhardt and released by Warner Brothers in spring of 1941. Apple Annie May Robson is delightful as crotchety Miss Wheelwright and Priscilla Lane and Jeffrey Lynn are as lovable as can be but its Ronald Reagan's performance as Peter the pianist that really shines in this Cinderella story. He plays the All-American hero once again here as Pamela's boyfriend, a good-clean lad who wouldn't even think about letting his gal support him, even though it would mean giving him the breaks he needs.
Although "Million Dollar Baby" was entertaining overall and had some witty dialogue the film lacked the good punch it could have had under a more capable director such as Frank Capra. Leonard Spigelgass' story would of been prime material for him in the 1930s as a feature film for a young Jean Arthur.
The moral of this story is "money can't buy you happiness"...it has a familiar ring to it doesn't it? Unlike the Four Daughters series, Jeffrey Lynn does not come away putting a ring on Priscilla Lane's finger and nobody ends up with a million dollar baby....except us, of course.