Hot Millions

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Hot Millions
Film Poster for Hot Millions.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Eric Till
Produced byMildred Freed Alberg
Written by Ira Wallach
Peter Ustinov
StarringPeter Ustinov
Maggie Smith
Karl Malden
Bob Newhart
Robert Morley
Cesar Romero
Music by Laurie Johnson
Cinematography Kenneth Higgins
Edited byRichard Marden
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
September 19, 1968 (1968-09-19)
Running time
106 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
United States

Hot Millions is a 1968 caper story made by MGM. It was directed by Eric Till and produced by Mildred Freed Alberg, from a collaborative screenplay by Ira Wallach and star Peter Ustinov. The music score was composed by Laurie Johnson, featuring the single "This Time" by Scottish singer Lulu. The cinematographer was Kenneth Higgins.



Con artist Marcus Pendleton has just been released from prison for embezzlement. He has emerged into a world increasingly reliant on computers. He convinces computer programmer Caesar Smith to follow his lifelong dream of hunting moths in the Amazon Rainforest. Assuming Caesar's identity, he gains employment at the London offices of an American conglomerate called Tacanco. While Pendleton fools executive vice president Carlton Klemper, another Tacanco executive, vice president Willard Gnatpole, is suspicious. As Caesar Smith, Pendleton uses the company's computer systems to send claim cheques to himself under various aliases and addresses all over Europe. For his Paris company, the cheques go to 'Claude Debussy' and his cheques to Italy go to 'Gioachino Rossini', both famous (but conveniently dead) composers. He meets and marries Patty, an inept secretary and frustrated flautist. As Caesar, he now has the problem of hiding his hot money. Beating discovery of his fraud by Gnatpole, he and Patty flee to Brazil and are soon followed by Klemper and Gnatpole. In a twist, it seems that a now-heavily pregnant Patty found the loose change from his foreign visits money and invested it in the companies that Pendleton mumbled about in his sleep, thus actually making a profit for Tacanco. Patty also explains her desire to have the baby back in England and so contacted Klemper and Gnatpole to 'visit'. She then persuades Klemper to rehire Pendleton as Taranco's treasurer, seeing that as it was his genius that created the fraud, he would be the best one to spot them and that he would not steal from his own company. Pendleton, though unhappy with his new legal status, agrees. The film ends with Pendleton conducting an orchestra (one of his dreams) and Gnatpole and Klemper as the audience. Patty, still in advanced pregnancy, is the solo flautist. As she finishes her solo, she realizes that the baby is on the way, to which a concerned Pendleton whispers, "What... now?"



Filmed at MGM-British Studios, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, England, UK and on location.

When Maggie Smith's character takes Bob Newhart's character shopping, she is seen buying an outfit at the Apple Boutique on Baker Street, London, which was owned by the Beatles. The boutique only operated for a few months before closing; Hot Millions provides one of the few filmed glimpses of its interior.

The car driven by Newhart’s character is a Jensen Interceptor.


The film was loss-making but was moderately budgeted. [1]


The film was nominated for an Oscar in 1969 for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay - Written Directly for the Screen and for a Writers Guild of America award for Best Written American Comedy.

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  1. "Pre-Polk Metro Loss-Taking". Variety . January 15, 1969. p. 1.