Cast & Crew
Legal secretary Christabel Sloane, who works in the San Francisco office of lawyer J. C. Thompson, complains about her desperate financial state to her pal, fellow secretary Patsy Clifford. When Thompson orders Christy to go to Los Angeles and inform Peter Ulysses Lockwood that his uncle in Argentina has died and left him twenty-four millon pesos, which equals two million dollars, the pragmatic Patsy advises her to romance Peter before telling him that he is a millionaire. Christy protests that she cannot become a gold digger, but Patsy's words ring in her ears as she makes the journey. Unknown to Christy, Peter is the host of the Golden State Philosopher radio show, on which he offers homilies and moral tales about sharing good fortune. On the day that Christy arrives, Peter is pre-recording ten shows, as he is about to be married to heiress June Chandler. When Christy knocks on Peter's door, she is surprised by the handsome radio host and follows Patsy's advice to swoon in his arms. Peter, who is dressed only in his tuxedo shirt and boxer shorts, is baffled by the mysterious woman's appearance and carries her to his bed. Christy "awakens" and acts seductively, but Peter, who believes that she is mentally unstable, is impervious. Just then, psychiatrist Roland Cook, who is to be Peter's best man at the wedding, despite his bitterness over losing June to Peter, enters the apartment and assumes that notorious lothario Peter is having one last fling before his marriage. While Peter is in the living room trying to explain to Cook, Christy, unaware that Peter is not listening, is in the bathroom explaining his inheritance. Peter and Cook then leave without Christy, although she follows them to the Chandler mansion. There, Cook refuses to be part of the wedding, and a bewildered Christy inadvertently gives the impression that she is Peter's girl friend, whom he has abandoned for June. Christy's erratic behavior and insistence that Peter has inherited a fortune in pesos convince everyone that she is unbalanced, and June calls off the wedding until Peter can clear himself. Peter takes Christy and dashes off in pursuit of Cook, who is heading to his clinic in La Jolla. Fog rolls in during the trip, and Peter drives into the ocean. The weary couple are found by a group of Mexican railroad workers, who, mistaking them for newlyweds, welcome them into their boxcar home. After enjoying a night of dancing and drinking tequila, Peter and Christy stand in the moonlight and kiss. In the morning, Peter denies his attraction to Christy and takes her to Cook, who realizes that Christy is in love with Peter. Hoping to regain June for himself, Cook conspires with Christy to perpetuate her "illness" and force Peter to humor her in order to effect a cure. After installing Christy and Peter in a nearby hotel, Cook summons June, who is enraged when Peter again succumbs to Christy's charms and kisses her passionately. Peter persuades June that he was following Cook's advice, however, and soon after, the glum Cook and Christy get drunk together in the hotel bar. Cook, who now knows the truth about Peter's inheritance, bemoans the fact that his clinic is facing financial ruin, and he and Christy approach Peter and June with a bottle of tequila and a handful of community charity pledge cards. After imbibing several drinks, Peter, still believing that he is humoring Christy, pledges his two million dollars to various La Jolla charities, including Cook's clinic. The next morning, a hungover Peter is awakened by a stream of well-wishers, all congratulating him on his generosity. Upon learning that he really did inherit the two million dollars he has given away, Peter is dumbfounded, and June angrily upbraids him. Believing that he owes Christy an apology for thinking that she was crazy, Peter follows her to a train station, where he smokes her out by throwing burning papers into the ladies room in which she is hiding. Peter declares his love for her, and the happy couple then escapes the pursuing police and reporters by jumping aboard a traincar carrying their Mexican friends.
Jo Carroll Dennison
Bert E. Friedlob
A Millionaire for Christy
Beautiful but poor San Francisco legal secretary Christabel "Christy" Sloane (Parker), sent to Los Angeles to tell effusive radio host Peter Lockwood (MacMurray) that he has inherited $2 million, is inspired to woo Peter and land him as a husband before he learns he's suddenly wealthy. Her pragmatic pal Patsy (Una Merkel) encourages the idea: "For one day be a scarlet woman; the rest of your life you can be virtuous."
A minor problem is posed by the fact that Peter is about to marry another woman (Kay Buckley). But the wedding is canceled when best man Roland (Richard Carlson), a psychiatrist, fails to show. Peter takes off for La Jolla with Christy in tow, searching for his friend -- who just happens to be in love with his fiancée. On the road Peter and Christy somehow get mixed up with a band of rowdy, tequila-drinking Mexicans and end up on a mistily romantic beach together. "I feel like such a heel," she says, "spending your honeymoon with you!"
Further madcap complications include Roland's attempt to persuade Peter that Christy is insane and will commit suicide if she can't have Peter -- all in an effort to claim the intended bride as his own. It's all worked out in a boisterous ending involving the police, the media, a group of orphans, a Salvation Army band and, once again, those happy Mexicans.
A Millionaire for Christy was produced by Parker's then-husband, Bert Friedlob, and directed by George Marshall, an old hand at comedy whose credits included another slapstick MacMurray vehicle, Murder, He Says (1945).
The movie was a departure for Parker, who was best known as a serious-minded actress and had recently won her first of three Best Actress Oscar® nominations, for Caged (1950). Parker biographer Doug McClelland speculated that she may have changed her hair to "bright blonde" for the role in deference to quintessential screwball actress Carole Lombard, who had played a role markedly similar to that of Christy in Hands Across the Table (1935), opposite MacMurray.
"By this time MacMurray could play this kind of role in his sleep," wrote McClelland. "But he never dogs it, proving again that he has always been one of Hollywood's most underrated leading men."
In her column in Cosmopolitan magazine, Louella Parsons chose Parker's performance in A Millionaire for Christy as the "Best of the Month," and wrote, "The big surprise is the customarily romantic and dramatic Eleanor Parker, doing out-and-out slapstick and at the same time being entirely winsome and charming. Miss Parker, it turns out, is a delightful comedienne with an almost uncanny sense of timing."
The New York Times critic described the movie as "an infectious trifle, as harmless and palatable as a bon bon."
Producer: Bert Friedlob
Director: George Marshall
Screenplay: Ken Englund (screenplay); Robert Harari (story)
Cinematography: Harry Stradling
Art Direction: Boris Leven
Music: Victor Young
Film Editing: Daniel Mandell
Cast: Fred MacMurray (Peter Ulysses Lockwood), Eleanor Parker (Christabel 'Christy' Sloane), Richard Carlson (Dr. Roland Cook), Una Merkel (Patsy Clifford), Chris-Pin Martin (Manolo, Fat Mexican), Douglass Dumbrille (J.C. Thompson), Kay Buckley (June Chandler), Raymond Greenleaf (Benjamin Chandler), Nestor Paiva (Mr. Rapello).
by Roger Fristoe
A Millionaire for Christy
The working titles of this film were The Golden Goose and No Room for the Groom, the latter of which was also the release title of a 1952 Universal production (see below). In October 1948, Hollywood Reporter noted that independent producer John Beck had purchased Robert Harari's original screen story, entitled "The Golden Goose," for production by his company, Westwood Corp. According to a January 1949 Hollywood Reporter news item, Beck assigned William Bowers to write the screenplay, but it is unlikely that Bowers contributed to the finished screenplay of A Millionaire for Christy. In September 1950, Daily Variety reported that Beck sold Harari's story to fellow independent producer Bert E. Friedlob.
A February 1951 Hollywood Reporter news item includes Dolores Parker in the cast, but her appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed. According to Hollywood Reporter news items, portions of the picture were filmed on location at Ocean House in Santa Monica, CA. Although an April 1951 Hollywood Reporter news item speculated that RKO would "take over the bank loan and completion money" on the picture and release it instead of Twentieth Century-Fox, Fox did secure the distributing rights to the picture. In April 1951, Daily Variety reported that Friedlob, who still owed salary to Fred MacMurray and Eleanor Parker for the production, was under investigation by the Screen Actors Guild for releasing A Millionaire for Christy for television broadcast without securing royalties for the actors. The outcome of the investigation has not been determined.