Loser Takes All
Opening title
Directed byKen Annakin
Written byGraham Greene
Produced byJohn Stafford
StarringGlynis Johns
CinematographyGeorges Périnal
Music byAlessandro Cicognini
Independent Film Producers
John Stafford Productions
Distributed byBritish Lion Films
Release date
  • September 1956 (1956-09) (UK)
Running time
88 min.
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office£103,414 (UK)[1]

Loser Takes All is a 1956 British comedy film directed by Ken Annakin, starring Glynis Johns, Rossano Brazzi, and Robert Morley, with a screenplay by Graham Greene based on his 1955 novella of the same name.[2]


Tony Bertrand, an assistant accountant in a London firm, discovers a flaw in the accounting system. His boss, Dreuther, the powerful director and major shareholder of his company, arranges for Bertrand and his wife-to-be, Cary, to marry and honeymoon in Monte Carlo. Dreuther will meet the couple in Monte Carlo and be their witness, on board his private yacht.

Dreuther does not show up, and the couple marry anyway; after two days at an expensive hotel, they are broke. With his last remaining cash, Bertand buys a 'system' from a tout that will guarantee winning at the casino. He starts to win large sums, and, fascinated by the mathematics of gambling, spends all his time in the casino. Out of pique, Cary takes up with Tony, a fellow guest.

Dreuther finally arrives. Bertram agrees to sell his 'system' to another director of the company, in return for his shareholding, but the deal doesn't go through. Betrand and Cary get back together, and Bertram is happy - it is "loser takes all".



Ken Annakin had just made a well received film from a Greene story, Across the Bridge and was allowed to have the film rights. He wanted Trevor Howard to play the accountant and Orson Welles to play the producer based on Alexander Korda. However Sir Arthur Jarratt, then head of British Lion, refused to finance with either actor, or another suggestion, David Niven as Bertrand.He did allow Rossano Brazzini who Annakin felt was "completely wrong for the character".[3]

Graham Greene wrote the script while with Annakin in Monte Carlo. Alec Guinness was offered the role of the producer but decided to accept a part in The Swan instead so Robert Morley was cast.[4] According to Annakin, Glynis Johns and Brazzini had an affair during the making of the film which resulted in Johns falling pregnant.[5]


Annakin wrotethe film "was a so-so success, with mixed notices. Despite the wrong casting, the seeds of failure lay in the novel with its ‘topsy-turvy’ moral standpoints. It turned out that although the book was brilliant and funny, cinema audiences had no sympathy for a girl who felt deserted by her husband during the few days he was amassing millions. The Glynis Johns character walked away from Bertrand because she felt he was no longer the nice simple guy she had fallen in love with. However, we all know that in real life, many women remain in unbearable relationships, especially if the man has loads of money."[6]


  1. ^ Vincent Porter, 'The Robert Clark Account', Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, Vol 20 No 4, 2000 p509
  2. ^ "Loser Takes All (1957)". Archived from the original on 5 October 2017.
  3. ^ Annakin p 76
  4. ^ Annakin p 77
  5. ^ Annakin p 78
  6. ^ Annakin p 79