BALL OF FIRE (1941)
A remarkable, funny screwball variant of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." Linguist Gary Cooper and seven fuddy-duddy scholars on a foundation grant, are cloistered in a mansion where they are preparing an encyclopedia. Cooper ventures into the forbidding outside world to do research on slang. He meets cabaret singer Sugarpuss O'Shea (Barbara Stanwyck) a gansgter's moll. The mob stashes her in the professors' house and, to our great merriment, the outrageous follows the preposterous.
Little-known comedy was directed by the great Howard Hawks who worked in all genres and who, like the flyers who flew by the seat of their pants in so many of his aviation movies, had all the right instincts. Script by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett. It is uncanny that Wilder, who had come from Germany a few years before, could write such American and such slangy dialogues. Cooper, who was just as versatile as Hawks and could play anything from a romantic lovers to strong, silent men of action, shows again what a marvelous comedian he was. He sometimes even looks like Johnny Carson's Floyd Turbo character. Hawks remade the movie in 1948 as "A Song Is Born," a musical version with Danny Kaye. (Edwin Jahiel)
Copyright © Edwin Jahiel
Movie Reviews by Edwin Jahiel