Tom Gregory's Hollywood Vault radio clips, as featured on Leeza Gibbons' national radio program Hollywood Confidential!
Ball of Fire
Below is a transcript of the review on the audio file playable above.On Tuesday December 2, 1941 the film “Ball of Fire”, starring Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper was released. Just five days later Americans lives changed forever when Pearl Harbor was bombed forcing the United States into WWII. “Ball of Fire” was the last film of the age of innocence.
It’s the story of eight eccentric men who have been living together for years in a NYC townhouse writing an encyclopedia. Gary Cooper as Prof. Potts, is a regular flat tire - the kinda guy who gets drunk on a glass of buttermilk. When he begins his essay on the subject of American slang, he shoves in his clutch and ventures out into the Manhattan streets to hear the jargon first hand. In a frolic pad he meets up with Sugarpuss O’Hara Played by Barbara Stanwyck. She’s a brassy broad of a gin joint hoofer whose zest for life is as intoxicating as her gorgeous Betty Grable gams, she’s the kinda duchess who makes civilizations topple. In this film, Master drummer Gene Krupa lays down the finest drum performance in hide-hittin’ history struttin’ his rhythm “Drum Boogie”, first on the drums, then on a small matchbox. The way that guy beats the skins, is a real gone gas.
The marvelous, unbelievable slang in this film is language that takes off his coat, spits in his hand, and goes to work. This movie is guaranteed, Guaranteed to make you smile as you’re rewinding the DVD to hear the things she says for a second time.
In one of my favorite scenes, a cab driver, a newsboy, and a Sugarpuss are discussing the word “corny” and all its subtle uses, its perfect writing by Billy Wilder, who would later write AFI’s choice for the funniest film of all time, “Some Like It Hot”.
So if you’re already tired of the shim-sham of all our politicians not saying what they mean, and want to settle down with a girl who doesn’t mince words, “Ball of Fire”, is just what the doctor ordered for the last-blast of pre WWII fun.