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Ball of Fire (1941)

Approved | | Comedy, Romance | 9 January 1942 (USA)
A group of professors working on a new encyclopedia encounter a mouthy nightclub singer who is wanted by the police to help bring down her mob boss lover.

Director:

Howard Hawks

Writers:

Charles Brackett (screen play), Billy Wilder (screen play) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Cooper ... Prof. Bertram Potts
Barbara Stanwyck ... Sugarpuss O'Shea
Oskar Homolka ... Prof. Gurkakoff (as Oscar Homolka)
Henry Travers ... Prof. Jerome
S.Z. Sakall ... Prof. Magenbruch
Tully Marshall ... Prof. Robinson
Leonid Kinskey ... Prof. Quintana
Richard Haydn ... Prof. Oddly
Aubrey Mather ... Prof. Peagram
Allen Jenkins ... Garbage Man
Dana Andrews ... Joe Lilac
Dan Duryea ... Duke Pastrami
Ralph Peters ... Asthma Anderson
Kathleen Howard ... Miss Bragg
Mary Field ... Miss Totten
Edit

Storyline

Sexy, wisecracking nightclub singer Sugarpuss O'Shea is a hot tomato who needs to be kept on ice: mobster boyfriend Joe Lilac is suspected of murder and Sugarpuss' testimony could put him away. Naive Professor Bertram Potts meets Miss O'Shea while researching an article on slang and in true romantic comedy fashion the two worlds collide. When Miss O'Shea hides out with Potts and his fellow professors, everyone learns something new: the professors how to cha-cha and Potts the meaning of "yum-yum"! Written by A.L.Beneteau <albl@inforamp.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

"I LOVE HIM because he doesn't know how to kiss -- THE JERK!" See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 January 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ball of Fire See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Gary Cooper is taking notes of the newsboy's slang, the marquee on the theater across the street advertises Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), an inside joke that refers to the script's inspiration. See more »

Goofs

The professor starts a fire by, supposedly, focusing the rays of the sun through a lens. However, for this to happen the lens has to be between the sun and the tinder. In the movie the lens is across the room from the tinder and the sunlight coming through the skylight. See more »

Quotes

Professor Bertram Potts: Is that coming from next door?
Miss Bragg: It's coming from this door.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: Once upon a time - in 1941 to be exact - there lived in a great, tall forest - called New York - eight men who were writing an encyclopedia.

They were so wise they knew everything: the depth of the oceans, and what makes a glowworm glow, and what tune Nero fiddles while Rome was burning.

But there was one thing about which they knew very little - as you will see . . . See more »

Connections

Featured in Barbara Stanwyck: Fire and Desire (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Sweet Genevieve
(1869) (uncredited)
Music by Henry Tucker
Lyrics by George Cooper
Performed a cappella by the professors
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
A Comical Visit to the Past
3 January 2002 | by lawprofSee all my reviews

This is the perfect film to view in between seeing today's myriad message movies and super-techno thrillers. In stunning black-and-white the merry adventures of bachelor and aging academics, struggling to complete a massive encyclopedia funded by an increasingly doubtful (and homely) heiress, unfold. The scholars encounter the beautiful (and wonderful) Barbara Stanwyck, a gang moll who needs to hide out while her crime boss boyfriend seeks to avoid an unpleasant prosecution related to a rival who disappeared wearing concrete shoes (low tech disposal of the suddenly terminated was the simple order of the day in 1941).

Gary Cooper is the youngest of the researchers and, obviously, from the first moment that he and the gorgeous Stanwyck set eyes on each other, the ultimate outcome can't be in doubt. No psychological exploration of the nature of evil or the vagaries of love between opposites darken this sprightly gem from the vaults. The cast must have enjoyed making this film.

Easily obtainable for rent or for purchase, "Ball of Fire" shows pre-Pearl Harbor comedic Hollywood at its zenith.


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