7.8/10
11,164
101 user 55 critic

Ball of Fire (1941)

Approved | | Comedy, Romance | 9 January 1942 (USA)
Trailer
2:09 | Trailer
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 »
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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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
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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:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Billy Wilder recalled that he wrote the first draft of "From A to Z" in German, sometime before he came to Hollywood, and that Thomas Monroe then helped "Americanize it." See more »

Goofs

Joe wants to marry Sugarpuss who knows enough to get him convicted of murder because "a wife can't testify against her husband." In fact, the law prohibits forcing a wife to testify against her husband--ie, threatening her with prison, as can be done with other recalcitrant witnesses. A wife can indeed testify against her husband if she does it of her own free will. Further, Joe tries to force Sugarpuss into marriage with threats. A marriage performed under duress has no validity in law. See more »

Quotes

Duke Pastrami: [Giving Sugarpuss O'Shea a message from Joe Lilac] He sends ya' a love message. He says to tell ya' he gets more bang outta' you than any dame he ever knew.
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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

Remade as A Song Is Born (1948) 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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User Reviews

Ball of fun.
29 November 2001 | by boris-26See 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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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 January 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ball of Fire 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 »

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