Friday, July 3, 2009

Ball of Fire (1941), directed by Howard Hawks

Watched this film last night, and while it may only be the second best film about Barbara Stanwyck conning a professor and then falling in love with him (The Lady Eve is better—no one can compare with Preston Sturges, at least from 1940-1948), it's an absolute delight. Gary Cooper may be a little awkward in his role as a brain, but Dana Andrews is (obviously) a natural as the evil gangster, the supporting cast of avuncular scholars (above, as the Seven Dwarfs) is charming and hilarious, and Barbara Stanwyck is, well, Barbara Stanwyck. The film features a ferociously, deviously brilliant script from Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett complete with all the racy cleverness that makes me sometimes think we might not be better off (script-wise, at least) going back to the Hays Code. Would Judd Apatow even be funny if innuendo were still considered an art?

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