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Hot Millions
Theatrical release poster
Directed byEric Till
Written byIra Wallach
Peter Ustinov
Produced byMildred Freed Alberg
StarringPeter Ustinov
Maggie Smith
Karl Malden
Bob Newhart
Robert Morley
Cesar Romero
CinematographyKenneth Higgins
Edited byRichard Marden
Music byLaurie Johnson
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • September 19, 1968 (1968-09-19)
Running time
106 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Hot Millions is a 1968 British caper story feature film 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 (how he does this is not explained in the film), 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 when Klemper and Gnatpole fly to Rio after Patty invited them. In a twist, it seems that a now-heavily pregnant Patty found the loose change from his foreign visits money and invested it in companies Pendleton mumbled about in his sleep, thus making a profit for Tacanco. Patty offers to sell the stock back at a reduced price, repaying the money stolen by her husband. Wanting to have the baby back in England, she has invited Klemper and Gnatpole to 'visit'. She persuades Klemper to rehire Pendleton as Taranco's treasurer: the reformed embezzler could easily spot fraud, and would not steal from his own company. Though unhappy about his new legal status, Pendleton agrees. The film ends with Pendleton conducting an orchestra (one of his dreams) as Gnatpole and Klemper sit in the audience. Patty, still expecting, is the solo flautist. As she finishes her solo, she realizes the baby is on the way, to which a concerned Pendleton whispers, "What, now?"



Filmed at MGM-British Studios, Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, England, 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]


In 1969 the film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay - Written Directly for the Screenlosing out to Mel Brooks for The Producers — and for a Writers Guild of America award for Best Written American Comedy, losing to Neil Simon for The Odd Couple.


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