And just when I had thought I'd seen all the 1960s sex comedies that I could, I discovered Love is a Ball (1963) on Netflix Instant. Love is a Ball is a delightful and fun romantic romp which takes place in the French Riviera. Glenn Ford stars as John Davis, a former race car driver (winner of the Grand Prix in Monaco!) whose down on his luck when he finds his beloved boat in desperate need for repair but he has no money to fix it up and get it back in the water. That's where Charles Boyer comes in. Boyer plays Monsieur Etienne Pimm, a professional matchmaker who takes down-on-their luck aristocrats and matches them with wealthy companions. He devises an elaborate scheme to get the two together, make them fall in love and see them off in a happy marriage of convenience and love. Boyer's latest cause is Duke Gaspard (Ricardo Montalban) who he plans to match up with American heiress Millie (Hope Lange). Millie has $40 million and Gaspard has a title but no charm, poor skills in English and desperately lacking equestrian and motor skills. Boyer hires three men: Ford/Davis who will teach Gaspard to ride horses, play polo and race cars, a linguist who will teach him how to speak English and quote great scholars and poets and a cook who will prepare fantastic meals so Boyer can wine and dine the conquest.
Telly Savalas) have set designs on Gaspard as her future husband. And Gaspard is starting to have an eye for Boyer's assistant Janine (Ulla Jacobsson).
This is a fun film. Parts of it reminded me of Come September (1961) which was filmed in Italy. The French Riviera is definitely a major character in this film. Love is a Ball has all the classic workings of a 1960s sex comedy. Hope Lang and Glenn Ford were in a romantic relationship in real life and you can tell there is some chemistry between them. I think Ford and Montalban were both a bit old for their parts but still believable in their roles. Love is a Ball was also spared some of the real bad dubbing that the 1960s were known for.
I highly recommend this film if you are a fan of the Doris Day-Rock Hudson-Tony Randall features like Pillow Talk (1959), or the Bobby Darin-Sandra Dee films such as If a Man Answers or Come September. It's available on Netflix Instant but the quality is so terrible on there that I recommend purchasing the DVD or renting it from ClassicFlix.