25 Comments

  1. “Ball of Fire” is a sheer delight from beginning to end. It really holds up to repeat viewings. All hail Brackett and Wilder!

    Hawks’ remake “A Song is Born” just doesn’t replicate the magic. The music is tops and although it may be sacrilege, I think Virginia Mayo is grand in the Sugarpuss role, but it just doesn’t have the spark of this clever comedy.

  2. Love this! “I kept thinking of an Elizabeth Bennett landing in the middle of The Big Bang Theory.” Perfection! This may be one of my favorite Gary Cooper performances–he’s so appealing as a nerdy, innocent professor! I also love Barbara Stanwyck’s performance and her sequined dress with the skirt made entirely of sparkling strips…Great review, thank you!

    • Thank you! I love him for doing it, don’t you? So far out of his comfort zone. It must have been quite uncomfortable for him to be this loopy. I like how in scenes like the fight you see how gangly he could look, how awkward. I love that he embraced that and made the most of this character. Leah

  3. Carol

    Films in the 30’s often have incredible dialogue. Today’s films often rely on vulgar language.

  4. Wonderful post, I love Stanwyck in this role. Her chemistry with Cooper is excellent and despite the absurdities of the plot, the film is nothing short of charming. I defy even the most ardent rom-com detractor not to give this one a go and love it!

    • Thank you! I think part of it is how completely developed their characters are, which makes their relationship believable–and you root for it. And you’re right–their amazing chemistry doesn’t hurt:) Leah

  5. one of the best screwballs, I can watch this over and over (and quote it too), love nebbish Gary and Yum, Yum!
    great pick and nice review

  6. I was an English major in college and I definitely enjoyed forcing this flick on a bunch of my dormmates – who all loved it, of course! The whole department walked around quoting the movie and singing “Sweet Genevieve” for weeks! (We actually had a major named Genevieve, so there was ample opportunity!) I love this post! Hope you’ll check out mine: “10 Things to Love about WITHOUT LOVE (1945),” one of the most underrated Katharine Hepburn/Spencer Tracy movies, in my humble opinion.
    http://margaretperry.org/10-things-to-love-about-without-love-1945/

  7. Jennifer

    All true! Such a terrific picture. It’s one of my favorite twists on a classic fairy tale.

    • Don’t you wonder how the pitch would have gone if this weren’t Hawks and Brackett/Wilder? It sounds far too ludicrous to ever get approved–kind of like a Beyond Balderdash movie plot: “So it’s Snow White, but with encyclopedia writers as dwarves….”

  8. It took me forever to get my hands on this film, but when I finally saw it I was completely charmed. I was watching it for Barbara Stanwyck, but I was not prepared for how utterly endearing and adorable the professors were. My favorite scene is when Potts brings her breakfast up and then proposes; he’s completely irresistible. It’s always so refreshing to see a romance where both people love each other for who they are and are not looking for the other person to change.

    • I love that scene, especially his awkward attempts to not ruin the surprise while getting her to look at the toast:) Yes, I’m especially impressed with the movie’s light treatment of her “history,” which would have been the focus of other films.

    • I agree! I loved your post on Meet John Doe, another favorite. It was fun to see them together in a much darker film, which I found very compelling, but I agree with you that the ending isn’t quite right. (BTW, I tried to post on your blog a couple times but somehow sent my contribution as a suggestion to Google translate rather than to your blog itself!:() Leah

  9. Thanks for pointing me to this delight in your newest Ball of Fire post. As an English major who adores the film, I appreciate having even more reason to champion it!

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