7.8/10
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93 user 47 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:

Howard Hawks

Writers:

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

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Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Cooper ... Prof. Bertram Potts
Barbara Stanwyck ... Sugarpuss O'Shea
Oskar Homolka ... Prof. Gurkakoff (as Oscar Homolka)
Henry Travers ... Prof. Jerome
S.Z. Sakall ... Prof. Magenbruch
Tully Marshall ... Prof. Robinson
Leonid Kinskey ... Prof. Quintana
Richard Haydn ... Prof. Oddly
Aubrey Mather ... Prof. Peagram
Allen Jenkins ... Garbage Man
Dana Andrews ... 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:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 January 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Professor and the Burlesque Queen See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

When one of the hoods tells Sugarpuss to stay near the "Ameche", this is a reference to Don Ameche, who played Alexander Graham Bell in The Story of Alexander Graham Bell (1939). See more »

Goofs

During the "Drum Boogie" sequence, the black jazz trumpet soloist Roy Eldridge disappears from the band between shots. See more »

Quotes

Joe Lilac: [as the professors draw guns on Joe and his men] What is this?
Prof. Oddly: I believe... I think it is known as an "up-stick."
See more »

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

Featured in TCM Guest Programmer: Robert Wagner (2006) 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
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Great Cast, Dated-But-Fun Dialog
14 November 2005 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

Wow, what a cast! Let's see, there's Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Richard Haydn, Oscar Homolka, Henry Travers, S.Z. Sakall, Tully Marshall, Dana Andrews, Allen Jenkins and more! Classic film fans know all these names.

What's more, it's a fun movie, fun to see and especially fun to hear. Stanwyck is her usual fascinating self, but in this movie it's the men - the seven old bachelors and the younger Cooper in the "club" - that are the most entertaining.

When you have directors and writers such as Howard Hawks and Billy Wilder behind the film, you know it's a winner.

Because the story dealt with a bunch of encyclopedia writers trying to find out the latest slang words, the dialog in here is really funny. The expressions of the day are dated and humorous and there are so many you can't count them all. Some are stupid; some are hilarious...which is what you get with most comedies anyway. Not every line hits the mark, but a lot do in this one.

Tack on some action and some romance and it's corny-but-cute film , entertaining all the way.


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