BALL OF FIRE (1941) B/W 111m dir: Howard Hawks
w/Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Oscar Homolka, Henry Travers, S.Z. Sakall, Tully Marshall, Leonid Kinskey, Richard Haydn, Aubrey Mather, Allen Jenkins
A gangster's moll hides out with a group of unworldly professors. A perfect cast and a crackling script make this a classic '40s comedy. Stanwyck and Cooper are at their best (which is very good indeed) in this modern fairy tale patterned after "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs." You'll love Barbara's rendition of "Drum Boogie" with Gene Krupa. Yum! Yum!
From The Movie Guide: "Skewed variation on 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,' courtesy of Howard Hawks and a zany Wilder-[Charles] Brackett screenplay. Cooper is a stodgy linguist researching slang for a new encyclopedia. In order to get closer to it, he recruits Stanwyck, as a stripper who knows exactly what color the cat's pajamas should be and why it's 23, not 24 or 22, Skiddoo. Cooper lives in a huge house with seven other longhairs and Stanwyck goes on the lam and moves in. There's a veritable corps de comedy in the character actors here; one look at the cast list will convince anyone that scene-stealing would have been rampant without the firm Hawks hand. Terrific, crackling dialogue, especially in the slangy, machine-gun mouth of La Stanwyck. Remade as A SONG IS BORN, again by Hawks.
BALL OF FIRE wa nominated for four Oscars: Best Actress (Stanwyck), Original Screenplay (Thomas Monroe, Wilder), Score (Alfred Newman), and Sound (Thomas Moulton).