“Ball of Fire” is a delightful romantic comedy film released in 1941. Directed by Howard Hawks, the movie tells the story of a group of eccentric professors working on an encyclopedia project. Their world of academia is turned upside down when they encounter Sugarpuss O’Shea, a vivacious nightclub singer on the run from the mob. As they try to uncover the slang and language of the streets for their research, they find themselves caught up in a whirlwind of love, humor, and unexpected adventures. With a stellar cast and witty dialogue, “Ball of Fire” is a charming and lighthearted film that will captivate audiences with its delightful blend of romance and comedy.
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The release date of “Ball of Fire” was last December 2, 1941.
Cast and Director
- Gary Cooper as Professor Bertram Potts: He is a dedicated and sheltered professor working on an encyclopedia project. His scholarly life takes an unexpected turn when he meets Sugarpuss O’Shea.
- Barbara Stanwyck as Katherine “Sugarpuss” O’Shea: She is a vivacious and street-smart nightclub singer who becomes involved with Professor Potts and his group of intellectuals.
- Oskar Homolka as Professor Gurkakoff: He is one of the scholars working with Professor Potts on the encyclopedia project. He brings a comedic presence to the film with his strong accent and humorous interactions.
- Henry Travers as Professor Jerome: He is another member of the encyclopedia team, known for his absent-mindedness and quirky behavior.
- S.Z. Sakall as Professor Magenbruch: He is a professor with a love for food and often provides comic relief with his constant appetite and humorous remarks.
- Tully Marshall as Prof. Robinson: He is a member of the group of professors and adds a touch of eccentricity to the ensemble.
- Leonid Kinskey as Prof. Quintana: He is another professor who adds to the quirky dynamics of the group.
- Richard Haydn as Prof. Oddly: He is a British professor known for his peculiar behavior and unique sense of style.
- Dana Andrews as Joe Lilac: He is Sugarpuss O’Shea’s boyfriend and a dangerous mobster, creating tension and conflict in the story.
- Dan Duryea as Duke Pastrami: He is another member of the criminal underworld and an associate of Joe Lilac, adding further intrigue to the plot.
The director of “Ball of Fire” (1941) is Howard Hawks, a highly influential and versatile filmmaker of the classic Hollywood era. Known for his mastery of various genres, including screwball comedy, Westerns, and film noir, Hawks had a remarkable career spanning several decades. He had a knack for creating dynamic and engaging films with strong character interactions and witty dialogue. In “Ball of Fire,” Hawks skillfully blends comedy and romance, infusing the story with his signature style and capturing the charm and chemistry of the cast. His direction contributes to the film’s energetic pacing, sharp comedic timing, and overall entertainment value.
“Ball of Fire” (1941) tells the story of Professor Bertram Potts (Gary Cooper), a serious-minded linguistics professor working on an encyclopedia of slang. As he delves into the colorful world of modern vernacular, he realizes that he lacks firsthand knowledge of contemporary language usage. To remedy this, Potts ventures out of his scholarly sanctuary and finds himself entangled with a group of lively nightclub performers, led by the vivacious Sugarpuss O’Shea (Barbara Stanwyck).
As Potts becomes enamored with Sugarpuss, he discovers that she is hiding from the law after witnessing a mob-related murder. Determined to protect her, Potts takes Sugarpuss into his home, introducing her to his fellow scholars who reside in a house nicknamed “the Ball of Fire.” As Sugarpuss charms the professors with her streetwise wit and personality, a delightful clash of cultures ensues.
- Samuel Goldwyn Studios – The majority of the film was shot at the Samuel Goldwyn Studios, located in West Hollywood, California. This studio served as the primary filming location for interior scenes, including the sets representing the professors’ living quarters and the nightclub.
- Griffith Observatory – The iconic Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles was used as a filming location for several outdoor scenes. It provided a picturesque backdrop for certain moments in the film.
- Downtown Los Angeles – Various streets and locations in downtown Los Angeles were utilized for exterior shots, adding to the urban atmosphere and capturing the vibrant cityscape.
- Other California Locations – Additional filming locations included various outdoor spots and neighborhoods in and around Los Angeles, adding authenticity to the film’s settings and creating a sense of the bustling city life.
“Ball of Fire” (1941) is a delightful classic film that seamlessly blends romance, comedy, and a touch of drama into an entertaining package. Directed by Howard Hawks and featuring a stellar cast, this movie is a true gem of the Golden Age of Hollywood.
The story revolves around a group of eccentric professors working on an encyclopedia project. When they encounter Sugarpuss O’Shea (Barbara Stanwyck), a nightclub singer with a mysterious past, their lives take an unexpected turn. As they strive to learn more about contemporary slang and the language of love, sparks fly between Sugarpuss and Professor Bertram Potts (Gary Cooper).
Is “Ball of Fire” (1941) based on a book or play?
No, “Ball of Fire” is an original screenplay written by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett.
Is “Ball of Fire” (1941) a black and white or color film?
“Ball of Fire” is a black and white film.
Was “Ball of Fire” (1941) critically acclaimed?
Yes, “Ball of Fire” received positive reviews from critics and is considered one of the classic comedies of its time.
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