Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

"Rather Be Rich" Is Glittery Fluff

Cleveland Press August 27, 1964

In the never-never land of Ross Hunter Productions Inc., where everybody is rich, happy and beautiful, multimillionaire Maurice Chevalier lies dying in his Beverly Hills mansion.

The old man's last wish is that he see his granddaughter, Sandra Dee. Frantically his aides search for her, reach her in a plush Boston night club where her betrothed, Andy Williams, is a singer.

SHE makes it back but there's another crisis -- gramps wants to meet the boy friend and the Boston airport by now is fog bound.

In wanders a handsome stranger, Robert Goulet, and -- wouldn't you know it -- she has him pose as the man in her life so that she won't disappoint the old man.

All that out of the way, the camera focuses on Chevalier in his dimly lighted room. He rises to a sitting position, clutches at his chest and utters a sound.

Is it the end? Is that a death rattle? Nope -- only a belch. The old boy is hungry.

He's as fit as his millions and it's just as well, what with Charlie Ruggles as his doctor and Hermione Gingold his nurse.

WILLIAMS ARRIVES and the expected mixup continues. It's got to. This much has taken a half hour and there's still another hour to fill.

The situations are predictable and if the film never quite soars it doesn't bog down too badly either, thanks to some slick production. What will happen is less important than how it will happen in the hands of a generally capable and skillful cast.

What there is of it is pretty much Chevalier's picture as he cavorts as a gay old man, determined to outwit his doctor and see to it that his heir ends up with the right man.

Pert Miss Dee is asked to do little besides look pretty. Williams warbles several tunes nicely, turns in a generally easy-going performance. Goulet acquits himself well, but could relax a little.

Producer Hunter has seen to it that matters run smoothly by filling minor parts with such veterans as Ruggles and Miss Gingold and Gene Raymond, Allen Jenkins and Laurie Main.