MAKE A MILLION. Monogram, 1935. Charles Starrett (Professor Reginald Q. Jones), Pauline Brooks, George E. Stone, James Burke, Guy Usher, Norman Houston. Director: Lewis D. Collins.

   As far as I have been able to discern from Charles Starrett’s credits on IMDb, this was the next to the last film he had the romantic lead in before he became a full-time cowboy star. A movie entitled Along Came Love, made in 1936, was perhaps the last. It was probably a good thing that he could ride a horse, because on the basis of this one, his career in movies would have disappeared under his feet, with no one today knowing he ever existed.

   While made as a comedy, Make a Million also attempts to address the economic issues that were plaguing the nation in 1935. Not very deeply, mind you, but just enough to draw audiences in and maybe have them laughing a little about the problems they were having paying their bills and keeping their families fed.

   As Professor Reginald Q. Jones, Starrett plays one of those naive and out of touch left wing radical professors who think the little men in the country are paying all too much toward the wealth of the upper class, and when he fails one of his students, the daughter of a banker, for disagreeing with his theories of economics, he is summarily fired.

   But with one proviso: If he can use his theories to earn a million dollars within a fixed amount of time, he will be reinstated. Which, without wanted to reveal too much detail in how he goes about it, with the assistance of a band of hoboes, he does. Along the way, the daughter of the banker gets to see how shady a businessmen her father is — and am I telling you too much? — decides to switch sides, but almost too late.

   Nobody today, I grant you, would watch this movie other than a relic of the past. It is fun, though, to see Charles Starrett in a suit and tie and at six foot two, towering over everyone else in the movie, especially during a meeting between a band of avaricious bankers and the band of the brotherhood as they are busily discussing financial matters of the day. “What do you think of copper [as an investment]?” “Coppers? I can do without them.”