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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.

Director:

Howard Hawks

Writers:

Charles Brackett (screen play), Billy Wilder (screen play) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
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

In the car fleeing the nightclub: Sugarpuss O'Shea holds up Professor Potts's calling card to read it. Then the camera angle goes to a close-up of the card, with her fingers holding it around the four corners of the card, but the position of the fingers in the close-up shot do not at all match the way she is holding the card in the previous "long" shot. See more »

Quotes

Prof. Gurkakoff: [discovering Sugarpuss gave back the wrong ring] The subconscious never makes a mistake. She gave you the ring she didn't want - his ring - and she kept the one she wanted - yours.
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 The 54th Annual Academy Awards (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Gaudeamus Igitur
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by the professors
See more »

User Reviews

 
ring of great "fire"
16 July 2005 | by lee_eisenbergSee 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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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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