I Stole a Million

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I Stole a Million
Istoleamillion.jpg
Directed by Frank Tuttle
Produced by Burt Kelly
Written by Lester Cole
Nathanael West
Starring George Raft
Claire Trevor
Dick Foran
Victor Jory
Music by Ralph Freed
Charles Previn
Frank Skinner
Cinematography Milton R. Krasner
Editing by Edward Curtiss
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates 1 August 1939
Running time 80 mins
Country United States
Language English

I Stole a Million (1939) is a crime drama film starring George Raft as a cab driver and small-time crook who makes a big score and lives to regret it. The supporting cast includes Claire Trevor, Dick Foran, and Victor Jory. The movie was written by Nathanael West from Lester Cole's story, directed by Frank Tuttle, and released by Universal Pictures.

Development[edit]

Lester Cole wrote the original screen story based on the non-fiction article "Roy Gardner's Own Story," by Roy Gardner. J. Campbell Bruce, and James G. Chestnutt, which was published in the San Francisco Call Bulletin in 1938.[1] On January 1939 Nathanael West was assigned to do a script based on Cole's story. West came up with a treatment which prompted Joseph Breen, then Director of the Production Code Administration, to declare that while his office had handled roughly 3,600 texts over the year, "it is our unanimous judgment, here in this office, that this new treatment by Mr. West is, by far, the best piece of craftsmanship in screen adaptation that we have seen - certainly, in a year."[2]

Plot[edit]

The plot was summarized by a reviewer thus:

Raft's ambitions innocently enmesh him with the law. From that minor infraction, he becomes involved in a bank holdup but tries to go straight when he falls in love with Claire Trevor. Finding the law on his trail and needing a stake for a small town hideaway, he knocks over a post office. With the money, he buys a village garage and settles down happily... With a baby in the offing the law picks up his trail again... His warped mind sends him through a series of holdups... to gain enough plunder to provide for his wife and baby. But even that, he finds, is a mirage, and he prefers death from the guns of pursuing officers than face a prison term.[3]

Cast[edit]

Reception[edit]

The film garnered favorable reviews, particularly for its script which Variety called "strongly motivated". A reviewer for the Hollywood Reporter wrote, "it is a story which will exert pulse-quickening effect on audiences of both sexes... plot structure and pithy dialogue are all to the play's advantage."[4]

However the movie was a box office flop.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Martin, Jay. Nathanael West: The Art of His Life. New York: Hayden Book Company, 1970. p. 405.
  2. ^ Martin, Jay. Nathanael West: The Art of His Life. New York: Hayden Book Company, 1970. p. 361-362.
  3. ^ Martin, Jay. Nathanael West: The Art of His Life. New York: Hayden Book Company, 1970. p. 405.
  4. ^ Martin, Jay. Nathanael West: The Art of His Life. New York: Hayden Book Company, 1970. p. 363.
  5. ^ Everett Aaker, The Films of George Raft, McFarland & Company, 2013 p 86

External links[edit]