Any film written by Billy Wilder and Directed by Howard Hawks has be good, and this one didn't disappoint. The film revolves around a group of eight academics whom are working on a new encyclopedia. Each professor works on different aspects of the encyclopedia, such as history, georgraphy, math, etc. One day Professor Potts (Gary Cooper), the youngest of the academics,realizes that his chapter on modern slang is tremendously outdated, so he sets out to fix this problem. While out and about he meets SugarPuss O'Shea (Barbara Stanwyck) a fast talking dancer whom Potts believes is perfect to help him on his new updated slang definitions. SugarPuss agrees to help out, but just because she is on the run from the DA whom is trying to make her testify against her mobster boyfriend, Joe Liliac (Dana Andrews). Ball of Fire is a film I would definitely consider an essential romantic comedy. Potts and Sugarpuss come from completely different worlds, with Sugar puss really being the archetype of beauty and femininity. She knows she is gorgeous and even uses this to her advantage early on, in getting the group of professors to do small things from her. Potts and the professors represent this archetype of Academia. They are brilliant and well versed, but really don't understand how to communicate on a more primal level, and don't have much of an understanding of how to have fun. What we get throughout the middle of the film is a fun, mixing of essentially Academia/Knowledge and Beauty/Spontaneity. The film does a great job of showing how these two very different types of people, can really learn a lot from one and other. A great scene revolves around Sugarpuss teaching all the professors how to dance; its comical and just a heart warming scene. The reason the film works though is the relationship between Potts and Sugarpuss. Early in the film, Sugarpuss realizes that Potts is not immune to her beauty, and she almost takes advantage of it. Yet, as the film progresses she becomes to realize how much the professor cares about her and essentially, not to be cliche, what LOVE is all about. 'Ball of Fire' is one of the Hawks best films, in that its charming, fun, and yet emotionally poignant as well.
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