Ball Of Fire (1941)

HOWARD HAWKS

Bil’s rating (out of 5):   BBBB.5.  USA, 1941.  .  Screenplay by , , based on an original story by Billy Wilder, .  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Academy Awards 1941.  

Gary Cooper is a shy professor of linguistics who along with seven other equally isolated gentlemen is working on a brand-new, up-to-date dictionary thanks to a fund left behind by a late, wealthy benefactor. Upon researching an entry in the book he intends to devote to “slang” language, Cooper comes across snazzy club singer Barbara Stanwyck and asks her for research help. She initially refuses, but when she finds she’s in a little trouble with the law thanks to some shady mobster connections, she immediately makes her way over to the mansion where the gentlemen live and work and moves in. These guys, having not set eyes upon a woman in decades, all go gaga over her, and before you can say Buzzbomb she’s turned their world upside down. None more so than Cooper, who has developed doe eyes for the lady who kisses him in order to teach him the meaning of the slang term “yum yum”. One of Stanwyck’s most energetic and appealing performances.

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