Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, September 7, 2017


Sophia Loren and Peter Sellers
THE MILLIONAIRESS (1960). Director: Anthony Asquith.

Ephifania Pererga (Sophia Loren), the daughter of a late magnate, is a spoiled, haughty heiress who has already had one bad marriage. For her next husband she hopes to land Ahmed el Kabir (Peter Sellers), a selfless doctor who ministers to the poor. Ahmed seems more confused and amazed by the strange woman than especially interested in her, but Ephifania tries to win him over by making something of herself with only a small pittance to start with, and by hoping he'll win her hand by doing the same. Can these two people on such different wavelengths ever get together? Based on a play by George Bernard Shaw, one can only assume that this is a gross bowdlerization and extreme vulgarization of Shaw's original concept, as neither Ephifania or Kabir come off like real people, which is especially true in the former's case. Loren [Boy on a Dolphin] manages to do a nice job even though she's playing an impossible role, and Sellers also acquits himself nicely, with an excellent Indian accent, but it's a wonder that the two actors manage to play so well together in spite of everything. Alistair Sim [The Ruling Class] nearly steals the picture as Ephifania's lawyer, while Gary Raymond, as her first husband, has little to do but run away from the lady while sher's throwing everything she can get her hands on at him. Vittorio De Sica, who later directed Sellers in After the Fox, has a supporting part as Joe, a sweatshop owner, and he's quite good, and Pauline Jameson is also notable as Sim's secretary, Muriel. In addition to a lousy script, the film suffers from the fact that the heroine, if that's what you can call her, despite some admirable qualities, is never a nice person. Judging from the outfits Loren is caparisoned in, one imagines the clothes budget for the picture was roughly equal to her salary.

Verdict: Sellers is far superior to the material in this. **.


angelman66 said...

Agreed, this one is a disappointment, and though Sophia is beautiful, she and Sellers have very little chemistry. I would much rather watch her with Cary Grant in Houseboat...
- Chris

William said...

Now that's one I haven't seen in ages. Heck, I would rather watch Loren in "Grumpy Old Men 2" than in this!