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Ball of Fire
Ball of Fire
Actors: Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Oskar Homolka, Henry Travers, S.Z. Sakall
Genres: Westerns, Classics, Comedy
NR     2007     1hr 51min

Studio: Tcfhe/mgm Release Date: 02/05/2008 Run time: 111 minutes Rating: Nr

     
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Movie Details

Actors: Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Oskar Homolka, Henry Travers, S.Z. Sakall
Genres: Westerns, Classics, Comedy
Sub-Genres: Westerns, Classics, Comedy
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 05/22/2007
Original Release Date: 12/02/1941
Theatrical Release Date: 12/02/1941
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 51min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 23
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Member Movie Reviews

Laura P. from BRUNSWICK, GA
Reviewed on 3/14/2011...
This movie was a lot of fun. Yes, the plot was predictable, but the cast was delightful and it was nice to put faces and depth to the names I have heard all my life.
Kathleen O. (Kathleen) from WALDPORT, OR
Reviewed on 3/5/2010...
Ball of Fire is such a delight! The cast of Cooper and Stanwyck are superb but in my opinion the supporting cast is outstanding.

Stanwyck is a nightclub singer involved with a gangster. She ends up hiding out with Cooper and his colleagues and the sparks fly from there.

If you haven't seen this movie, you are missing out.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

A Stanwyck masterpiece
Karl Stahmer | Wausau, WI | 09/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper are perfectly cast as Sugarpuss O'Shea and Professor Bertram Potts. Potts and seven other erudite, academically entrenched professors are creating a new encyclopedia. Their residence is the perfect hiding place for Sugarpuss, when her gangster boy friend (played by Dana Andrews) forces her to go on the lam in order to avoid a subpoena. Using subterfuge and feminine wiles, she easily convinces the professors to let her stay with them. Her pretence being that linguist Potts will benefit from her expertise with modern (1941) slang. After a lifetime of academic isolation, Potts is attracted by her worldly sophistication and insouciance. This attraction rapidly turns into love, and this feeling becomes mutual. "Ball of Fire" is an exceptional movie. Let's not spoil it by revealing too much. If you haven't seen "Ball of Fire", it's well worth seeing. It's so outstanding that one viewing is not enough."
A magical retelling of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
Robert Moore | Chicago, IL USA | 08/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This retelling of the SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS was actually based on a script that Billy Wilder wrote before immigrating to the United States from Germany, but it was only after the success of the Disney version that a demand was created for it. The enormously versatile Howard Hawks (quite literally the most versatile director in film history, the only director to have mastered and/or created five or six genres) took the script and turned it into one of the last great pre-WW II comedies. The story is simple: a group of monkish scholars living together in New York City are writing an encyclopedia. One of them is writing about slang, but being unfamiliar with contemporary argot begins research his topic by talking to people outside his normal range of acquaintance. He runs into gangster moll Sugarpuss O'Shea, who takes advantage of the scholars to move in with them in order to escape the police, who want to talk to her to implicate her guy Joe Lilac. While hardly Snow White, she certainly managed to stir up their lives.

The film is made wonderful by a number of things: Wilder's clever script, Hawks typically deft direction, a solid performance by Gary Cooper, but most of all by a scintillating job by the overwhelmingly alluring Barbara Stanwyck and a stellar collection of veteran character actors playing the seven dwarves. All the latter are great, but special mention has to be made of Richard Haydn (who excells even beside the others, with his extraordinary overpronounciation of everyday words), Oskar Homolka, and S.Z. Sakall. There are few more delightful collections of character actors in any Hollywood comedy. I personally prefer Barbara Stanwyck to any other actress in Hollywood history. She possessed an emotional immediacy that no other actress could approximate, and while her skills were perhaps a tad below those of someone like Katherine Hepburn, the latter never managed to match her fire and passion. And she is so sexy! I grew up watching Stanwyck on THE BIG VALLEY, so when I first started seeing her great roles from the thirties, forties, and fifties, I was absolutely stunned at how sexy she could be. She was attractive, yes, but sexier than she was attractive. And she was never sexier than she was here, with the exception of her role the same year in THE LADY EVE.

Another reason to see this film is the appearance of Gene Krupa in the early nightclub sequence. Krupa had, of course, been with Benny Goodman throughout the thirties, so this was very early in his career as leader of his own band."
"Here's yum...here's the other yum...and here's yum-yum!"
Billie Mann | USA | 03/24/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Ball Of Fire" is one my favorite screwball romantic comedies. It was made towards the end of a golden era of this genre of films, which also includes such better-known classics as "The Philadelphia Story" (1940), "His Girl Friday" (1940) and "Bringing Up Baby" (1938). Directed by Howard Hawks, the master of rapid-fire comedic dialogue, it tells the story of nerdy language scholar Bertram Potts (Gary Cooper, in one of his best "aw-shucks" performances, along with "Mr. Deeds Goes To Town") who lives in a house with seven other stodgy, albeit older bachelor scholars, all of whom are working on an encyclopedia.

Upon discovering that his knowledge of slang is outdated, Potts bravely ventures forth into the real world, where he discovers flashy (literally, as the dress she is first seen in is sequined and purposely lit so as to momentarily "blind" Potts when she shows up at his house in it) nightclub singer Katherine "Sugar Puss" O'Shea (Barbara Stanwyck). He is taken in by O'Shea's gusty performance of "Drum Boogie", (accompanied by a famous drummer of the times, Gene Krupa, who reminds me onstage a bit of "The Who" drummer Keith Moon), and her lively banter, and asks her to help him with his slang research. She takes him up on his invitation very abruptly by showing up at his home that same night, claiming to be arriving to help, when in fact she's trying to hide. The resulting storyline is predictable, fast-paced, extremely well-written, thoroughly dated, and filled with 1940's slang...in other words, to anyone who is a fan of this genre...completely captivating and charming.

With this in mind, and taken as a movie of the times, it's a comedic gem. Gary Cooper (my all-time personal favorite actor) is absolutely sexy here, believe it or not, and Barbara Stanwyck is perfect as the title's sassy little "Ball Of Fire", with her brash, streetwise exterior but ultimately soft heart, climbing onto a stack of books to reach the 6'4" Potts so she can show him the meaning of "yum-yum". Also, the above-mentioned dress she first wears, which is featured in most of the ads for the film is amazing; it's something Bob Mackie might have designed for Cher, and she looks gorgeous in it. The outstanding supporting parts are interesting, clever, and except for the gangster parts, individually well-fleshed. Veteran character actors such as Oskar Homolka (the servant in "Mr. Sardonicus") and Henry Travers (the angel in "It's Wonderful Life") help lend charm to the story. Dana Andrews ("Laura") and Dan Duryea ("The Little Foxes"), are effective, if somewhat wasted, in small parts as typical sterotypical 1940's mobsters.

You'd have to enjoy these kind of old screwball, dated comedies of the '40's to love this one...and I do.

Side note: the roles of the seven professors (excluding Cooper's) were inspired by Disney's dwarfs from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs"."