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Ball of Fire (1941)

Passed  -  Comedy | Romance  -  2 December 1941 (USA)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 6,809 users  
Reviews: 78 user | 33 critic

A group of ivory-tower lexicographers realize they need to hear how real people talk, and end up helping a beautiful singer avoid police and escape from the Mob.

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Writers:

(screen play), (screen play), 2 more credits »
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Title: Ball of Fire (1941)

Ball of Fire (1941) on IMDb 7.9/10

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. See more awards »
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Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Oskar Homolka ...
Prof. Gurkakoff (as Oscar Homolka)
...
Prof. Jerome
...
Prof. Magenbruch
Tully Marshall ...
Prof. Robinson
Leonid Kinskey ...
Prof. Quintana
...
Prof. Oddly
Aubrey Mather ...
Prof. Peagram
...
Garbage Man
...
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:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 December 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Professor and the Burlesque Queen  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Producer Samuel Goldwyn promised director Billy Wilder a $10,000 bonus if Ball of Fire (1941) became a box office hit. When the movie was released in theaters, it was an instant success. One day, Wilder stopped by Samuel Goldwyn's office and asked for his $10,000 bonus. But Goldwyn flew into a rage. "You Hungarian thief!" he shouted at Wilder. "I never promised any such thing! Get out of here!" Wilder left the office, furious. But that night, Goldwyn's wife, Helen, awoke to find him pacing the floor of their bedroom. "I've just remembered that Wilder was right," Goldwyn told her. "I *did* promise him a $10,000 bonus." "What are you going to do?" asked Helen. "What *can* I do?" Goldwyn replied. "I'm going to sit down here and write Wilder a check for $5,000!" See more »

Goofs

During the walk through central park, the camera shadow is visible on Professor Gurkakoff's torso. See more »

Quotes

[Professor Magenbrush says Sugarpuss has a slight rosiness at the back of her throat]
Sugarpuss O'Shea: SLIGHT rosiness? It's as red as The Daily Worker and just as sore!
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 54th Annual Academy Awards (1982) 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 (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Stanwyck wakes up a bunch of geniuses...and one in particular
17 December 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Barbara Stanwyck plays a wise-cracking entertainer who moves in with 8 professorial types in "Ball of Fire," a marvelous Billy Wilder film, directed by Howard Hawks, that is loosely based on Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs! Only Wilder could come up with an idea like this and make it shine.

And shine it does. Stanwyck is perfect as Sugarpuss O'Shea, whose boyfriend is a mobster sought after by the police. After a visit by Cooper, whose assignment is slang for the encyclopedia he and the others have been writing for only nine years, she drops in on him late at night, intending to hide out there so the police can't subpoena her testimony. Cooper falls for her while the other, older men develop paternalistic feelings for her.

Stanwyck is gorgeous and gets to show off that fabulous body and great legs as well as her flair for comedy. She's in stark contrast to Cooper as a man who's been in his ivory tower too long. Cooper was one of the handsomest movie stars ever. Tall and gangly, slow-talking, with a boyish smile that lights up his face, it's no wonder the heiress funding the encyclopedia is crazy about him and that Stanwyck finds herself drifting into love with him.

Dana Andrews has a good role as the mobster boyfriend, and one of his sidekicks is the always snarky Dan Duryea. The professors are all terrific. Highly entertaining fare from Billy Wilder, and the last film he ever wrote but didn't direct.


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