The Love Lottery
Original UK film poster
Directed byCharles Crichton
Written byHarry Kurnitz
Monja Danischewsky
Story byCharles Neilson Gattey
Zelma Bramley Moore
Produced byMichael Balcon
Monja Danischewsky
StarringDavid Niven
Peggy Cummins
Anne Vernon
Herbert Lom
CinematographyDouglas Slocombe
Edited bySeth Holt
Music byBenjamin Frankel
Distributed byGeneral Film Distributors
Release date
  • 28 January 1954 (1954-01-28)[1]
Running time
89 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

The Love Lottery is a 1954 British comedy film directed by Charles Crichton and starring David Niven, Peggy Cummins, Anne Vernon and Herbert Lom. Produced by Ealing Studios it was one of several Ealing Comedies that veered away from the standard formula.[2] The film examines celebrity and fan worship with an international setting including Lake Como, ambitious dream sequences, and an uncredited cameo appearance at the end by Humphrey Bogart as himself.[3]

It was shot in Technicolor. Interiors were shot at Ealing in West London with location shooting around Como in Italy standing in for the fictional town of Tremaggio. The film's sets were designed by the art director Thomas N. Morahan and the costumes by Anthony Mendleson. It was released by General Film Distributors as part of a long-standing agreement with Ealing.

Crichton said "it wasn't successful. I quite liked it. Perhaps it was too much a whimsy whamsy thing."[4]


A celluloid heart-throb, who is haunted by dreams and hounded by fans, is manipulated by a gambling syndicate into being the prize in a lottery to find him a wife. But things get complicated when he falls in love before the lottery is drawn.[5]



The film was first shown at the Regent Theatre in Christchurch, New Zealand on 21 January 1954, as a royal performance during the New Zealand visit by Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh.[7][8] The UK premiere was at the Gaumont Haymarket in London on 28 January 1954.[1]

Critical reception

The reviewer for The Times expressed mixed views after the UK premiere: "The construction of The Love Lottery is deplorably weak ... and Mr. Charles Crichton, who directs the film for Ealing Studios, is left to make what he can of an idea which could branch out in a number of directions. ... Yet, even if catches are dropped, there is much in The Love Lottery which beguiles and entertains, The satire at the expense on film publicity methods and of the mentality of the film-fan is, in the Ealing tradition, so mild that a writer such as Mr. Clifford Odets would not recognize that it was there, but it is there, nevertheless, and it scores some palpable, if gentle, hits."[9]

Michael Balcon called it one of the worst movies made at Ealing.[10] Many years later, the American edition of the TV Guide gave the film two out of four stars, calling it a "clever British satire on the Hollywood star system."[11]


  1. ^ a b "David Niven". Art & Hue. 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  2. ^ * Hunter, I.Q. & Porter, Laraine. British Comedy Cinema. Routledge, 2012. p.73
  3. ^ "The Love Lottery".
  4. ^ "Charles Crichton Interview" (PDF). British Entertainment History Project. 14 December 1988. p. 20.
  5. ^ "The Love Lottery". BFI. Archived from the original on 14 January 2009.
  6. ^ "Nelly Arno". BFI. Archived from the original on 11 July 2012. Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  7. ^ The Times, 7 October 1953, page 10: Royal Film Shown in New Zealand Linked 2015-11-24
  8. ^ The Times, 22 January 1954, page 5: Quiet Weekend for the Queen Linked 2015-11-24
  9. ^ The Times, 1 February 1954, page 10: A Subject for Film Satire Linked 2015-11-24
  10. ^ Harper, Sue; Porter, Vincent (2003). British Cinema of The 1950s The Decline of Deference. Oxford University Press USA. p. 66.
  11. ^ "The Love Lottery".