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Ball of Fire
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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"!System Requirements:Run Time: 111 minutesFormat: DVD MOVIE Genre: WESTERN/MISC. Rating: NR UPC: 027616075161 Manufacturer No: M107518
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By the way, the director redid the film a few years later only with music instead of slang and the topic, and Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo in the leads. Even though it's a good film, Ball of Fire is so much better. Well worth adding to your collection
When a group of stuffy bachelor professors are compiling a new encyclopedia, they find trouble writing about modern slang. Professor Bertram Potts (Gary Cooper) scouts the streets of New York to find willing people to help in their research. A visit to a nightclub reveals Sugarpuss O'Shea (Barbara Stanwyck) performing the rousing "Drum Boogie". Potts realises that here is the ideal expert who can lead him through the difficult world of the modern speech. But Sugarpuss is being pursued by the police...and the Mob!
Cooper and Stanwyck give off a splendid chemistry here after previously being paired in Frank Capra's Meet John Doe earlier in 1941. Legend has it that Lucille Ball was originally mentioned for the role of Sugarpuss, but it's hard to imagine anyone being better than Stanwyck, who gives a spirited performance (for another slice of Barbara in a similar role, be sure to see the hilarious Barbara Stanwyck: Lady of Burlesque).
The other professors are played by legendary character actors S.Z. "Cuddles" Sakall, Richard Haydn, Oscar Homolka, Henry Travers, Tully Marshall, Aubrey Mather and Leonid Kinskey.
So great to see BALL OF FIRE firmly on DVD. This has been issued as part of the new MGM Movie Classics series along with three other Gary Cooper titles (Casanova Brown,The Wedding Night, and The Adventures of Marco Polo).
(Single-sided, single-layer disc).
With all that being said, as much as I like Gary Cooper, I felt he wasn't right for the role. He's a great actor & he's cast against type here. His role as a meek bookworm professor doesn't quite come off. Barbara Stanwyck as the burlesque lady comes off wonderfully well. Dan Duryea has a featured role as one of the henchman & is not only good in the role but also displays a flair for comedy. And it goes without saying Stanwyck not only changes Cooper, she also affects the whole bunch of professors.
The movie was nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Actress (Stanwyck), Best original Story ( Billy Wilder, who also co-wrote the screenplay), Score & Sound Recording. The movie is directed by the great Howard Hawks who also did His Girl Friday. The movie requires a certain amount of suspension of believability in order to go along with it. But is that so bad? Actually Hollywood has always done that, haven't they?