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Ball of Fire (1941) Poster

(1941)

Trivia

Kathleen Howard was left with a fractured jaw when the punch that Barbara Stanwyck threw accidentally made contact. Stanwyck was reportedly mortified by the incident.
Lucille Ball was set to play Katherine 'Sugarpuss' O'Shea, but once producer Samuel Goldwyn found out that Barbara Stanwyck was available he gave her the part instead.
While filming the scene in which Potts declares his love for Sugarpuss in a dark hotel bungalow, Gregg Toland put Barbara Stanwyck in blackface to make sure that her eyes were shining through the darkness.
When Gary Cooper is taking notes of the news boy's slang, the marquee on the theater across the street advertises Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), an inside joke that refers to the script's inspiration.
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!"
In the scene where Pastrami and Asthma have the professors hostage in the library, the gunmen begin shooting at random items. One gunman (Pastrami) says, "I saw me a picture last week," and proceeds to lick his thumb and then rubs it on the sight of his gun. This is a reference to star Gary Cooper's previous movie Sergeant York (1941) in which York uses this as a technique to improve his marksmanship.
To pick up authentic slang for the film script, screenwriters Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett visited the drugstore across the street from Hollywood High School, a burlesque house and the Hollywood Park racetrack.
The roles of the seven professors (besides Gary Cooper) were inspired by Disney's Seven Dwarfs. There is even a photograph showing the actors sitting in front of a Disney poster, each one in front of his corresponding dwarf: S.Z. Sakall - Dopey; Leonid Kinskey - Sneezy; Richard Haydn - Bashful; Henry Travers - Sleepy; Aubrey Mather - Happy; Tully Marshall - Grumpy, and Oskar Homolka - Doc.
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When one of the hoods tells Sugarpuss to stay near the "Ameche", this is a reference to Dom Ameche who played Alexander Graham Bell in The Story of Alexander Graham Bell.
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Even though they play two of the "old men" lexicographers, Leonid Kinskey (Prof. Quintana) and Richard Haydn (Prof. Oddly) were both under 40 years old when they made this movie and, therefore, younger than Gary Cooper.
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Billy Wilder had already written the story in Germany, then brought it to the USA when he emigrated and sold it to MGM.
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Carole Lombard turned down the role of Katherine O'Shea.
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The portrait of Miss Totten's father is the same portrait shown in the Barbara Stanwyck-Fred McMurray Christmas film, "Rememeber the Night."
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Hal McIntyre can be seen in the saxophone section during the number "Drumboogie". Also, Roy Eldridge has a brief trumpet solo.
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Ginger Rogers was the original choice for Katherine 'Sugarpuss' O'Shea, but Rogers declined.
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Several cast members in studio records/casting call lists for this movie were not seen in the final print. These were (with their character names): Lee Phelps (Policeman in Station), Johnnie Morris (Clerk at Justice of the Peace), Dick Rush (Policeman at Motor Inn), Del Lawrence (Irish Gardener) and Jack Perry (Fighting Bum).
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"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on June 1, 1942 with Barbara Stanwyck reprising her film role.
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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