Love Is a Ball

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Love Is a Ball
Love is a ball 1963.jpg
Hope Lange and Glenn Ford on the soundtrack album cover
Directed by David Swift
Produced by Martin Poll
Harry Caplan (assoc.)
Shirley Mellner (assist.)
Written by Lindsay Hardy (book)
David Swift
Frank Waldman
Tom Waldman
Starring Glenn Ford
Hope Lange
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates
  • 1963 (1963)
Running time 111 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Love Is a Ball is a 1963 romantic comedy film starring Glenn Ford and Hope Lange. It is based on the book The Grand Duke and Mr. Pimm by Lindsay Hardy.


Etienne Pimm (Charles Boyer) has an unusual way of making a living: he arranges for impoverished European aristocrats to marry unsuspecting rich women. He is then discreetly compensated for his efforts by the husbands. His latest target is Millicent "Milly" Mehaffey (Hope Lange), newly arrived on the Riviera. Pimm and his assistant Janine (Ulla Jacobsson) begin grooming the penniless Grand Duke Gaspard Ducluzeau (Ricardo Montalban) for Milly, hiring Julian Soames (John Wood) to teach him manners and English. As their target fancies herself a race car driver, Pimm recruits John Lathrop Davis (Glenn Ford), a (retired) champion many times over, to teach Gaspard to drive.

Pimm "accidentally" meets Milly's uncle and guardian, Dr. Christian Gump (Telly Savalas, cast against type as a cultured gourmet) and invites him to a dinner prepared by his personal, world-renowned chef, Maurice Zoltan (André Luguet). Gump cannot resist. After dinner, he is introduced to the handsome young duke, well prepared after weeks of intensive training. As Pimm had hoped, Gump begs him to bring the duke to a party he has arranged for Milly, confiding that he hopes they fall in love and that his troublesome ward will settle down.

Meanwhile, Priory (Laurence Hardy), another of Pimm's minions, has gotten himself hired as the chauffeur, to spy on the family. When a polo ball hit by Gaspard breaks Priory's arm, a reluctant Davis takes his place. Davis is openly contemptuous of Milly's unrealistic plan to compete in the International Grand Prix, causing clashes with his spoiled employer. As they spend more time together though, her initial dislike turns into love.

With the romance between Milly and Gaspard not proceeding very well, Pimm suggests to Milly that the young couple spend a romantic night together at his private villa. She takes him up on his offer, only with Davis, not Gaspard. The next morning, Milly learns the truth and is at first outraged, even though Pimm confesses that Davis was not the intended groom. For revenge, she decides to marry an oafish suitor named Freddie (Jean Parédès). However, on her wedding day, her wise grandmother (Ruth McDevitt) convinces her to reconcile with Davis. This is just fine with Gaspard, as he has fallen for Janine.


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