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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 7,481 users  
Reviews: 80 user | 38 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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(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. Magenbruch
...
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:

The New Year's red-hot comedy! 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

Sugarpuss O'Shea: [mistaking Bertram for a police dick come to take her downtown] Hey, how many of you are on this job?
Professor Bertram Potts: Uh, the entire project? Eight.
Sugarpuss O'Shea: Oh. The other seven waiting outside?
Professor Bertram Potts: Oh, no. They're at home sound asleep, I imagine.
Sugarpuss O'Shea: Asleep?
Professor Bertram Potts: Yes, they go to bed at nine every night.
Sugarpuss O'Shea: You mean to tell me with crime what it is in New Yor... Say, are you a bull or aren't you?
Professor Bertram Potts: Well, if "bull" is a slang word for professor, then I'm a bull.
Sugarpuss O'Shea: A professor?
Professor Bertram Potts: Of English.
See more »

Connections

Remade as A Song Is Born (1948) See more »

Soundtracks

Drum Boogie
(1941) (uncredited)
(Published as "Drumboogie")
Music and Lyrics by Roy Eldridge and Gene Krupa
Performed by Gene Krupa and His Orchestra
Sung by Barbara Stanwyck (dubbed by Martha Tilton)
Reprised by her and audience members
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Ball of fun.
29 November 2001 | by (Huntington, NY) – See all my reviews

Basically, this is a gangster version of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" Here "Snow White" is a night club singer faultlessly played by Barbara Stanwyck. The "evil witch" is the local police, out to haul her in because of tie-in to a gangster (Dana Andrews) The magic forest of course, is New York. The seven dwarfs are a group of introverted professors led by bookworm Gary Cooper.

The film ahs a wonderful screenplay by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett. (Sample dialog COP: How do you find a needle in a haystack? GANGSTER: Simple. Feed the hay to a horse, and X-Ray the horse.) Directed with zip by the great Howard Hawks.


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