Millionairess Cover What do you think most men would love to see in a woman? Beauty? Money? Status? Talent? Breading? Or better yet, a combination of these facets melded all together? Hmm? Well – you may have noticed that I said ‘most men’, huh? As depicted in this film Directed by Anthony Asquith; and Starring: Sophia Loren, Peter Sellers and Alastair Sim. It was made in 1960, and lasts for 90 minutes.


Now it is rather sad for me to say this, but the sultry and sardonic millionairess, Epifania Parerga (Sophia Loren), has the weight of the world upon her slim shoulders at the moment.

You see, her husband has recently left her for another woman, and on top of that, she cannot find herself a man who can match her late father’s high standards.

So what does she do about? Commit suicide? No – not that – to the chagrin of her lawyer, Julius Sagamore (Alastair Sim). OK then, so what about psychiatric evaluation? Well, that works to some degree – until the psychiatrist in question, Dr Bland (Dennis Prince), abases her father’s memory. Instead, Epifania finds her salivation in a man that is very much the complete opposite of her, Dr. Ahmed el Kabir (Peter Sellers).

Well, Dr. Kabir is a man of Science all in all , and he pushes asides her feminine wiles no matter what she tries to do. Be they sexual advances – buying out the clinic in which he operates out from – or even building a hospital for him to manage.

However, one evening in question, Epifania and Dr. Kabir strangely discover that they do share some common ground - both of their late parents have stipulated that whomever they intend to marry, should be able to pass a simple test – to go out into the world with a preset amount of money, and then benefit greatly from their own efforts.

Hmmm? Intriguing?

Now straight away Epifania just jumps at this chance to prove her worth, and finds’ herself a pasta-making sweatshop, and then tries to turn it into a profitable venture. Whilst Dr. Kabir on the other hand just tries to give his money away – which he eventually does one drunken night to a work college of his.

Therefore, she succeeds and he does not.


Well, that is most probably why what then transpires is up to lawyer, Sagamore, to sort out. As millionairess shy – Doctors cry – and love is finally found in the twinkling of an eye.


Now before I give you my opinion on this cinematic classic, 'The Millionairess' first it’s trivia time! (1) Even though he is English, Peter Sellers was the most famous Indian in the sixties due to this film. Heck, even India praised him for it. (2) Peter Seller’s Goon cohort, Spike Milligan, was born in India. (3) Some time after this film was made, it was alleged by Peter Sellers that he was having an affair with Sophia Loren on the set of this film – and lead to him divorcing his first wife. However, this revelation has never been substantiated by anybody, and was believed to have just been in his mind – as illustrated in the Peter Sellers bio-pic ‘The Life and Death of Peter Sellers’. (4) Alastair Sim has always being mistaken for Star Wars legend, Alex Guinness, due to their similar physiognomy. (5) It was alleged that the fishmonger in this film, Alfie Bass, inspired many of Peter’s cockney impressions. (6) Sophia Loren’s butler in this film, Graham Stark, was a very close friend of Peters, and did appear in a number of small roles in Peters films – such as the 'Pink Panther' series of films, and ‘A Day at the Beach’. And (7) Famed Beatles music producer, George Martin, devised a spin off record for this film entitled ‘Goodness Gracious Me’. And even though this song wasn't included in the films final soundtrack, it did become a UK chart hitin 1960, and succeeded in publicizing the film. Here... have a listen to it...

OK, so now that the trivia is out of the way with, what about the film? Well, personally speaking, this film is a classic. No doubt about it – hands down – feet up – and do whatever you want with your ass. This film just screams class from the very first reel of footage, until the last of the end roll credits. Simply put – this is a timeless tale that has been told ever since in numerous forms due to its progressive structure. Act 1: Rich person with flaws falls in love with poor person with principles. Act 2: Rich person tries to buy poor person and fails. And Act 3: A satisfactory ending comes into play with a revelation dosed in love.

Peter and Sophia in The Millionairess

Now just think about this basic premise for a moment on a conceptual level, and then try to guess what other film is similar in many ways. No – not Gremlins! 'Pretty Woman', right? Except in that particular instance, the genders where revered, and the professions less standardized.

Sexy Sophia in The Millionairess
Another thing that this film tries to do – and does it especially well – is foreshadow the pitfalls of industrialization, and how this type of ‘mechanized principle’ can affect society. For example, in the segments where Sofia Loren’s character dives in and tries to improve an existing work ethic – like the clinic, or the pasta-making sweatshop – the basic resolution to these tales is that the love is expunged from these environments. Granted, it is in character for Sofia’s character to do this, which is why the end sequence does come across as somewhat far-fetched.

Well – come on – lets face it – the ending does kind of feel somewhat contrived, huh? Nevertheless, that is not to say that the overall film isn’t any good! In fact, if you are a fan of any of Peters work, or films of this era with that classy polished tone to it, this is just a magnificent film to watch. Peters great in it, and plays the 'humble Indian Doctor' without you even thinking about his true ethnicity. And as for Sophia – wow – she is one horny mama, and at times makes you believe that she is a right bitch too.

So what are you waiting for? Go out and grab a copy of this film today! Or are you waiting for someone to buy it for you, huh? Maybe someone with a bit of cash? Say a millionairess for example?

Animation of The Millionairess

Great film – perfect story – and for it’s time a social commentary about the future.


THE MILLIONAIRESS THE MILLIONAIRESS Reviewed by David Andrews on October 05, 2011 Rating: 5
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