A Million Bid

A young woman (Dolores Costello) wants to marry an ambitious young brain surgeon, but instead her conniving mother forces her to marry a boorish millionaire (Warner Oland). The newlyweds set off for their honeymoon, and when their ship sinks, the bride, presuming her husband dead, returns to England and picks up with the surgeon. All goes well until the millionaire returns, having lost his memory. This silent melodrama (1927) was the second U.S. feature by Hungarian emigre Michael Curtiz, who would go on to direct many of the great Warner Bros. dramas (The Adventures of Robin Hood, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Casablanca, Mildred Pierce). He elicits nuanced performances from the cast and keeps the pace brisk—the story may be hokey, but it isn’t belabored. Curtiz also employs some clever photographic effects to convey the millionaire’s amnesia.