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The Millionairess (1960)
Warning: The full synopsis contains "spoilers" which describe key plot points. If you don't want to know the plot and outcome of this film then please don't read any further.

A Father's Bequest

Alastair as Sagamore reads the willBernardo Pererga has died and left his entire estate to his only daughter Epifania. The conditions of the will are read-out by Julius Sagamore (Alastair), solicitor and executor to the estate. The will makes reference to the conditions under which she may marry but they remain vague at this stage.

The next scene presumably takes place months later when we see Epifania having a blazing row with her husband in which all kinds of household items are being thrown by the couple at each other. It would appear that Epifania wins the dispute as her husband is seen making a rapid departure from the house. Next, Epifania has a conscious/sub-conscious discussion with her father as to why her relationships are going wrong. The house would appear to be something of a mausoleum for her departed father with numerous statues and paintings of the deceased lining the walls. Her father believes that the current relationship failed because she has cheated on her solemn oath to fulfil the conditions of his will; these are now revealed to be that she must give her prospective husband �500 and he must turn this in to �15,000 within three months. She asks him what she should do and believes that her sub-conscious departed father requires her to kill herself.

Oedipus and Suicide

Alastair as Julius Sagamore in his office.

Epifania throws herself in to the River Thames with the intention of committing suicide. Dr. Ahmed el Kabir rows past the drowning heiress on the way to his surgery and seems quite oblivious to her fate. We are then privy to Sagamore's office where we witness him dictating a letter, to which a cheque is to be enclosed, for the spying-on Madame Pererga's husband. Epifania sweeps in to his office and requests that he draws-up her will before she commits suicide. Sagamore is surprised that she is already aware of her husband's infidelity. Sagamore has a pre-arrSagamore provides suicide prescriptionanged prescription - a cyanide mixture - for her suicide. However, as he was fully aware, this only serves to call her bluff (see Memorable Quotes 4 ). The tension eases a little as Epifania admits the mistake she made was falling for male sex appeal. She now decides she wants to go to see the woman for whom her husband Alastair has left her.

The Elephant and the Mouse

Alastair as Sagamore exits Polly's flatThe next scene sees Epifania, accompanied by Sagamore, arriving at the flat shared by her husband and his mistress. Epifania believes that "these two inferior people are well suited to one another". Without a trace of irony, Polly (Alastair's mistress), believes that Epifania is simply too marvellous and overwhelms Alastair. Epifania is disturbed that Polly can do something that she cannot, namely make her husband laugh. Alastair's acting is exquisite in this scene, particualry as he makes his exit.

Polly: Well I can make Alastair happy, can't I ? What about the elephant and mouse, Ali? What about that? Alastair: They've just been very sick. Polly: Yes. (They both laugh hysterically at the punchline of a joke to which we are not privy. Sagamore, also laughs) Sagamore: Is that the one - Is that the one where they're both taking a drink of water? Alastair: Yes. Sagamore: (Laughing heartily at the joke as he exits with Epifania) Yes, it's a very good one - see you in court.

Sagamore recommends Dr. BlandSagamore believes that Epifania requires a very exceptional sort of man to be her equal. In order that she does not make any further irrational moves. he suggests that she should go to see a psychiatrist to throw more light on her emotional turmoil.

Bland Leading the Blind

Epifania is examined by KabirSagamore suggests she should visit his acquaintance Adrian Bland. On the first visit, however, Sagamore states to Bland that it is most inadvisable, from the point of view of the Pererga estate, that Epifania should be too concerned with finding a husband.

There is now a series of snapshot scenes where Bland seems more intent on romancing Epifania than psychoanalysing her condition. This does give Sophia a chance to wear a number of different matching dress/hat ensembles. Bland is soon seeking congratulations from Sagamore on what he feels will be an impending marriage. However, Sagamore is far too intelligent for him and suggests that he must cure her Oedipus complex for her father before Bland himself can replace him in her affections. It is no surprise that on their next analysis session/date, Bland finds himself throThe Millionairess Posterwn in to the Thames for calling her father "the most appalling bore who ever plagued humanity" (also see Memorable Quotes 5 ). At this point, Dr. Ahmed el Kabir makes an appearance and frustrates Epifania by being more interested in the drowning Bland than her own distress. As a result she throws herself in the river again.

Love in a Kipper Yard

Epifania undresses for examination in the Kipper Yard Kabir rescues Epifania and takes her to a nearby Kipper Yard to recuperate. Kabir makes an examination of the attention seeking Miss Parerga and takes her pulse in a scene that must have been the inspiration for the song "Goodness Gracious Me" We see the beginnings of a possible emotional entanglement but Dr. Kabir seems more concerned with his own spiritual development whereas Epifania continues to display her monetary capitalist tendencies (see Memorable Quotes 3 ).

Epifania Undresses and a Twist in the Plot is Revealed

The Ruling Class - Dry BonesIn an attempt to finally finally force Dr. Kabir's full attention, Epifania buys up all of the property in the area of Kabir's surgery and soon becomes his landlord. She visits his surgery and in a piece if cinematic hokum ends up undressing as one of his patients. It is difficult to imagine anyone looking sexier in a basque and stockings. Epifania declares that she is the owner of the entire district. When asked by Dr. Kabir whether she can "cure it", she declares that she will. The next scene show the finished construction of the Parerga Clinic. It would appear that Kabir is now obsolete. The hospital is the most extravagantly equipped in the country and Kabir is a little saddened to see he will no longer be required within the community. However, Epifania proposes that he take over the clinic. Kabir is worried that the hospital will corrupt and own him rather than he own it. Epifania's next wile is to have him called out in the middle of the night to a sick mother. It is no surprise that the sick mother is Epifania and she declares that she wants to marry him. We now come to the fulcrum of the plot. It would seem that whereas Epifania has a father fixation, Kabir has a mother fixation. In addition, whereas Epifania and Kabir express their feelings Epifania's oath to her father was to only marry a man who could tun �500 into �15,000 within three months, Kabir's solemn oath to his mother is that if he is to marry he must test the woman by giving her five hundred rupees (approximately thirty-five shillings at the then rate of exchange) with which she must sustain herself unaided and earn a living for three months.

Parerga Pasta

Sagamore expresses his concerns to EpifaniaThe new clinic opens and our poor unfortunates feel that they are being treated in an undignified manner by being asked their age, sex, relatives, etc, and decide they must return to Dr. Kabir. Epifania also appears at his clinic and informs him that she is ready to take his mother's test. However, she informs him that she would also like him to try to pass her father's test. Sagamore now re-appears on the scene attempting to persuade Epifania that she is in fact risking the Parerga estate by pursuing a penniless, worthless Indian doctor. She, however, tells Sagamore that it is her own worth that she is proving and tells him to vanish. We next see her seeking employment in an Italian pasta workshop. By "blackmailing" the owner because of the working conditions she persuades him to employ her as a financial manager and promises she will increase his profits and introduce new working practices.

The Millionairess Lobby CardDr Kabir, sets up a stall at the exit of his surgery and puts the five hundred pound notes in a neat row, with a sign informing his patients to each take a pound note on the way out. At the pasta factory, machines are being introduced and production is up. Joe, the pasta factory owner, however, does not enjoy his new affluent lifestyle as there is no more work for him to do. Becoming desperateSpanish Millionairess Poster, Dr. Kabir now takes to the streets in an attempt to give away his five hundred pounds - without success. Joe, even more disillusioned with the continued success of his factory wants to sell to Epifania so that he can start up his own little sweatshop again. Following a drunken annual doctor's dinner Kabir finally gives the �500 to another doctor to assist with his research, when in fact he is just going to spend it on alcohol. At the end of the three months Epifania declares she has passed the test; but Kabir declares that he has failed and has given the money away. Epifania is upset that Kabir has been to small to accept a free gift - namely herself.

The Order of Epifania

Sagamore directs Dr. KAbirIn her distress Epifania makes a new will, placing all her wealth at the disposal of The Order of Epifania - an exclusively feminine community open to all women who wish to retire from male company and leave a life of contemplation. Epifania is to do the same. Sagamore obviously tries to dissuade her from this rash decision - not least to save his own position. Sagamore looks to the report from his detectives and believes that Dr. Kabir may be the solution to all their problems. It is now revealed that it was Sagamore himself who persuaded Bernado Parerga to include the �500 clause within the conditions of his will. Sagamore visits Kabir and, choosing his words carefully, states that Epifania "has vowed to quit the world at midnight". Kabir, understandably, is distressed to hear this. Kabir rushes to the reception where Epifania is to throw off her inheritance and undertake The Order of The Order of EpifaniaEpifania. Following a certain confusion the film ends in the desired romantic conclusion where the pair are finally reconciled and, in order, that Kabir fulfils his part of the bargain, Sagamore has the Parerga estate buy up a number of patents from the doctor for �30,000 (the other �15,000 going to Miss Pilkington his own love entanglement).

Epifania: How could my father have entrusted his legal business to such a heartless blackguard?
Sagamore : You may have put your finger on the very reason.

Sophia Loren is stunningly beautiful in The Millionairess

Sagamore: Epifania, how can you throw all these innocent people out of work? Think of the hardship you will impose on these helpless directors.

Epifania: I am of the Aristocracy of money.
Dr. Kabir : Ah, that is a disease for which I do not prescribe. The only known cure is a revolution.

The Millionairess Daybill

Epifania: You mean so many of your clients are driven to despair that you keep a prescription for them?
Sagamore : I do. And it's infallible.
Epifania: You're sure that they all die painlessly and at once?
Sagamore : No. They're all alive.
Epifania: What do you mean by giving me a prescription which is a fraud?
Sagamore : On the contrary. It is a deadly poison. But they won't take it!
Epifania: I will and I hope you'll be hanged for giving it to me.
Sagamore : Impossible, my dear, as I'm acting as your solicitor and giving you the advice you asked me for - I'm only doing my best. In fact, I'll charge your executors twenty guineas for this advice.

Epifania undressed as KAbir's "patient"

Epifania: Have I told you about my father?
Bland : (with scarcely concealed irony) Tell me again.

The Millionairess DVD Cover