Brewster’s Millions (1945): Oscar-Nominated Comedy Starring Dennis O’Keefe

The 1945 version of the Winchell Smith-Byron Ongley theatrical play, “Brewster’s Millions” was based on the 1902 novel by George Barr McCutcheon.

In the original, the hero was a stockbroker, but in this version, paying tribute to the times, Brewster is a returning G.I.

Dennis O’Keefe stars as Monty Brewster, the lucky recipient of $8,000,000 inheritance. The catch is that O’Keefe will receive his legacy only if he spends $1,000,000 in two months. Prohibited from giving the money away, O’Keefe invests in losing propositions, including a flop Broadway musical, but every one of his bad investments turns a profit.

The gifted black actor Eddie “Rochester” Anderson co-stars as O’Keefe’s valet. The master-servant relationship was too casual for several Southern cities, which banned the film, claiming that blacks should behave more “respectfully” to whites.

The supporting cast includes June Havoc, Gail Patrick, and Mischa Auer.

The most recent filmization of Brewster’s Millions (1985) starred Richard Pryor as a washed-up baseball player.

Oscar Nominations: 1

Scoring (Dramatic or Comedy): Lou Forbes

Oscar Awards: None

Oscar Context:

The winner of the Scoring Oscar was Miklos Rozsa for Hitchcock’s “Spellbound.”

Credits

Running time: 79 Minutes.

Directed by Allan Dwan.

Written: Sig Herzig, Charles Rogers, Wilkie Mahoney.

Released: April 7, 1945.