7.8/10
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86 user 42 critic

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:

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Prof. Gurkakoff (as Oscar Homolka)
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Garbage Man
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Asthma Anderson
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Mary Field ...
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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:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 January 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Professor and the Burlesque Queen  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Howard Hawks recalled that for the scene in which Bertram reveals his feelings about Sugarpuss in the darkened bungalow, cinematographer Gregg Toland coated Barbara Stanwyck's face with black grease paint so that her eyes would stand out. See more »

Goofs

When Potts declares himself "mystified" at the slang he has heard, his arm changes position between shots. See more »

Quotes

Sugarpuss O'Shea: [examining the professors' books] Oh, "Greek philosophy!" I got a set like this with a radio inside.
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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

Edited into Histoire(s) du cinéma: Une histoire seule (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Bridal Chorus (Here Comes the Bride)
(1850) (uncredited)
from "Lohengrin"
Written by Richard Wagner
In the score as the professors go to New Jersey for the wedding
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
ring of great "fire"
16 July 2005 | by See all my reviews

"Ball of Fire" is known as the last great pre-war comedy, and with good reason. It all begins when a group of egghead professors are writing an encyclopedia. Then, grammarian Bertram Potts (Gary Cooper) realizes that he doesn't know any modern slang. Frequenting the nightclubs, he meets dancer Katherine "Sugarpuss" O'Shea (Barbara Stanwyck), who has a connection to the mob. This leads all the characters on the most unexpected adventure.

I really liked the way that every one of the nerdy professors is tempted to correct every mistake made by the others. But the gags throughout the movie are really something. Hilarious.


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