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The Millionairess

The Millionairess

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The Millionairess  London-based Millionairess Epifania (Sophia Loren) is attracted to Dr. Kabir (MD from Delhi and PhD from Calcutta), who is more intent on treating patients. When she persists, he confides in her that he had made a commitment to his late widowed seamstress mother that he will wed any woman who will manage to survive on just Rs.500/-, for 90 days. She finds out that this sum is equivalent to just 35 shillings but readily accepts this challenge. She also informs him that her late father had also imposed a condition that she must wed a male who will turn £500 into £15000 within the same period. Epifania then finds employment with an Italian firm, ends up re-organizing, and turning up the firm’s profits. At the end of 90 days, she goes to meet Kabir and discovers that he has not only given all the money away but also has no interest whatsoever in marrying her.

Interesting comic character study that spawned a hit song.

The Millionairess  Let me just start off by saying that George Bernard Shaw is one of my all-time favorite playwrights, and Peter Sellers is one of my all-time favorite comic actors. So naturally I think this is a pretty good movie. I admit the concept is more interesting than the actual execution. But certainly the personality of the leads does compensate. And it is a very intriguing idea.

I think the best moments are when Sophia Loren’s character gets the good doctor to make a house call, the Doctor trying to give his fortune away on the street and no-one bothering to take it (Would that still be the case today?), as well as Alistair Sims excellent lawyer. And having worked in the medical profession (as a lab clerk), the dry comments on the high-tech lab equipment, and ruthless beurocracy of a large medical institution rang especially true. There are certainly some exceptional social commentary behind the human story, which is the trademark of Shaw’s work.

But I like this movie especially for being the inspiration of the classic novelty song “Goodness Gracious Me!”, which the two leads recorded in order to promote the movie. I actually think the song works better.

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