The Million Dollar Duck (1971)

Genres - Children's/Family, Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Animal Picture, Family-Oriented Comedy, Family-Oriented Adventure  |   Run Time - 93 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - G
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Review by Craig Butler

$1,000,000 Duck is one of the Disney studio's typical formulaic live-action comedies of the 1960s and '70s, but it does have the distinction of leaving a somewhat morally disagreeable taste in the mouth, largely due to the film's obsession with money and riches. While good ostensibly triumphs over greed, it doesn't do so very convincingly; if the filmmakers had actually mined this vein, they might have come up with something memorable. Instead, they pretend it isn't there, which damages the picture. It doesn't help that the dialogue is fairly lame, that the plotting is all over the map, and that characterization is kept to a minimum, leaving the screenplay with nothing more than a concept on which to coast. Fortunately, Duck does have an agreeable cast. If Sandy Duncan carries the perky act a bit too far and if Dean Jones has been through this territory many times before, they at least know how to punch the right buttons and do their best to liven up the proceedings. They're helped by Joe Flynn, whose role is essentially the same as all of his roles, but which he makes reasonably fresh, and by Tony Roberts, who adds a certain wryness to the proceedings. The cast can't overcome the poor screenplay or draggy direction, but they do make Duck tolerable.