The Love Lottery is a curious beast. It’s a big-budget Ealing Comedy, featuring Hollywood top-billers and exotic overseas locations. Humphrey Bogart even make an uncredited appearance. And while most Ealing Comedies tend to be tales of real-world people propelled into unreal situations, The Love Lottery is a surreal rom-com, laced with dream-sequences and Busby Berkley-style song and dance numbers.
When film-star heartthrob Rex Allerton (David Niven) jokingly suggests that he’ll marry the winner of a competition to be his guest for a week, he sets in motion a train of events that threaten to turn his life upside down. The result is a romp through the world of film, fandom, and affairs of the heart.
Does it work? Yes and no.
There are some genuinely fun and interesting ideas here. The cast are superb. Ann Vernon is wonderful as the cynical mathematician, Jane—and what a joy to see such a spirited, independent character in a film from this era! Niven plays the role of the heartthrob, bedevilled by female fans, with warm, self-effacing humour. While Herbert Lom is, as ever, not given nearly enough screen time.
However this feels like a film badly in need of some work in the editing suite. Cut out the songs, bring Herbert Lom and his brilliant gambling cabal into the fore, and there’s a really good comedy here.
The Love Lottery is still a charming and easy watch, despite the rambling storyline and the occasional wince-worthy stereotype. StudioCanal’s brand-new High Definition transfer is lovely to see too. Their brand-new High Definition transfer, made from original film elements, is exhibited here in its theatrical aspect ratio—making a great addition to any film-buff’s collection.
• Theatrical trailer
• Image gallery