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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.

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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:
... Prof. Bertram Potts
... Sugarpuss O'Shea
... Prof. Gurkakoff (as Oscar Homolka)
... Prof. Jerome
... Prof. Magenbruch
... Prof. Robinson
... Prof. Quintana
... Prof. Oddly
... Prof. Peagram
... Garbage Man
... Joe Lilac
... Duke Pastrami
... Asthma Anderson
... Miss Bragg
Mary Field ... Miss Totten
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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

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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

Considered by some modern critics as the last "Golden Age" screwball comedy. See more »

Goofs

When the gangsters visit the professors' house, they beckon to Sugarpuss to come out by the front door. After speaking to them, she is seen from inside the house returning via the front door, but when the camera moves outside, instead of seeing her on the steps that lead to the door of the brownstone, we see her emerging into a narrow alley, and the door has changed from the large, elaborate front door to a much smaller and plainer one. See more »

Quotes

Sugarpuss O'Shea: For instance, do you know what this means - "I'll get you on the Ameche"?
Professor Bertram Potts: No.
Sugarpuss O'Shea: 'Course you don't. An Ameche is the telephone, on account of he invented it.
Professor Bertram Potts: Oh, no, he didn't.
Sugarpuss O'Shea: Like, you know, in the movies.
Professor Bertram Potts: Well, I see what you mean. Very interesting. Make no mistake, I shall regret the absence of your keen mind; unfortunately, it is inseparable from an extremely disturbing body.
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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

Referenced in The 55th Annual Academy Awards (1983) 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

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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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