Vintage Icons • Movies

“Ball of Fire”

1 January, 2014

Year: 1941

Director: Howard Hawks


Gary Cooper (Professor Bertram Potts)

Barbara Stanwyck (Sugarpuss O´Shea)

Oscar Homolka (Professor Gurkakoff)

Henry Travers (Professor Jerome)

S. Z. Sakall (Professor Magenbruch)

Tully Marshall (Professor Robinson)

Leonid Kinskey (Professor Quintana)

Richard Haydn (Professor Oddly)

Aubrey Mather (Professor Peagram)

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Barbara Stanwyck, the best actress never to win an Oscar, as she alone defined herself. However, she did win an Honorary Award from the Academy in 1982.

With a chameleonic capacity, Stanwyck once more showed that she could play all sorts of parts, from the most dramatic, in this case, to the craziest comedies.

Gary Cooper, in his role as a good person which gave him so much success, shows once again that he will be sure to triumph in any film that crosses his path. Both actors are magnificent. Stanwyck in the uneducated, ordinary and sexually liberated role of a chorus girl, in the hands of a mafia man who believes her to be part of his property, and Cooper as the shy Professor Potts, totally absorbed by the vulgar charms of Sugarpuss, and ready to follow her to the end of the world.

It is a beautiful film, keeping in line with the master Hawks’ mad comedies. The “yum, yum” scene, in which Stanwyck has to climb upon a stool (Barbara Stanwyck measures 1m 65cm, whilst Cooper reaches 1m 90cm) is absolutely charming.

The entire team’s roles of obsolete and charming professors who accompany Gary Cooper in the making of the encyclopedia is masterly.

It is a perfect film to watch at home on a Sunday afternoon…

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Nominated in the 1942 Oscars for:

Best actress

Best original script.

Best sound.

Best soundtrack.

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Curious Facts:

  • The punch that Barbara Stanwyck threw at Kathleen Howard was real. Barbara Stanwyck broke her jaw.
  • The script was written by Billy Wilder whilst he was in Germany. When he emigrated to the United States he sold it to Samuel Goldwyn, who promised him a $10,000 cheque if the film was successful. So it happened and Goldwyn refused to give him the said sum of money (“I never said such thing!”). Later on, he recognised his error and gave Wilder a cheque for… $5000.
  • Apart from Gary Cooper, the script for the seven professors was inspired by Walt Disney’s Seven Dwarfs.
  • Ginger Rogers and Carole Lombard turned down the role of Sugarpuss. Lucille Ball wanted to do it, however, Goldwyn preferred Barbara Stanwyck for the part.

Memorable scenes from the film:


Foto Blog de Cine


Lo Que Yo te diga. net


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