Rent Ball of Fire (1941)

3.9 of 5 from 84 ratings
1h 51min
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Barbara Stanwyck plays a nightclub singer whose snappy street slang attracts the attention of bookish encyclopaedia editor Gary Cooper and his aged bachelor colleagues who devote their lives to compiling the perfect encyclopeadia. At first, their interest in her is strictly professional, but she soon charms the old men into letting her hide from the police (and her gangster boyfriend) in their mansion, Initially, she resents her forced stay, but after a while she falls for the charm of bookworm Cooper, and makes him realise there is more to life than books.
, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Samuel Goldwyn Jnr
Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, Thomas Monroe
Alfred Newman, Thomas T. Moulton
Classics, Comedy, Romance
Release Date:
Run Time:
111 minutes
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.33:1 / 4:3
B & W

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Reviews (2) of Ball of Fire

Splendid - Ball of Fire review by CH

Spoiler Alert

A civilised joy in these times, Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett's script for Ball of Fire: a reclusive team's encyclopedia work stalls at S, including Gary Cooper's entry on Slang, as he realises after a visit from a Sanitation worker. Words beginning with S echo throughout, often uttered by Stanwyk (Barbara), and there is neat use of lines from Shakespeare's Richard III.

To say nothing of a performance by Gene Krupa and his band. Sensational.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Clever Hawks/Wilder Comedy. - Ball of Fire review by Steve

Spoiler Alert

Clever rewrite of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs features Gary Cooper as Professor Potts, the stuffy leader of seven elderly academics compiling an encyclopaedia, stuck on the letter S,. He invites hepcat vocalist Sugarpuss O'Shea (Barbara Stanwyck) into their bachelor study cum living quarters to help with the entry on slang.

 Which suits Ms. O'Shea as she is trying to disappear so she doesn't have to testify against her gangster sugar daddy (Dana Andrews). And so the moll teaches them hep-speak and in turn they expose her to a few of the kinder human values. The film dwells on themes around the letter S, like Saturn, Shakespeare and sex.

 The big problem with Ball of Fire is the lack of combustible chemistry between the stars. Cooper is inert and Stanwyck lacks spark. She doesn't have the sass or the glamour to make the comedy come to life. But there is a fine swing number at the start of the film mimed by Stanwyck with Gene Krupa and his orchestra, and the support cast is a superb A-Z of classic Hollywood character actors like Oscar Hamolka, SZ Sakall and Henry Travers.

 Screenwriters Wilder and Brackett give us one really great line. As she struggles with her zip, Sugarpuss wisecracks: 'You know, I had this happen one night in the middle of my act. I couldn't get a thing off. Was I embarrassed!' But it isn't their best work, and the film is a touch slow by Hawks' standards. But it's worth seeing for its reputation, its clever concept, the support cast, and what might have been.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

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