Mon

29/06

Jolly Cinema > 14:30

Ball of Fire

Howard Hawks
Introduced by

by the curators Jonathan Rosenbaum and Ehsan Khoshbakht

Projection
Info

Monday 29/06/2015
14:30

Subtitle

Original version with subtitles

BALL OF FIRE

Film Notes

Howard Hawks’ version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, scripted by Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett, and Thomas Monroe, isn’t exactly a jazz film, apart from one scorching rendition of Drum Boogie by Barbara Stanwyck (dubbed by Martha Tilton) with Gene Krupa and his orchestra (including Roy Eldridge on trumpet) – although it was eventually remade as one by Hawks himself (A Song is Born, 1948) that wasn’t nearly as good as the original. But it does give a bracing demonstration of what jazz can do to enhance a whole feature – especially in the world of Howard Hawks, where even the nicknames of various characters suggest the complicity, warmth, and camaraderie of the jazz world. The seven dwarfs in this case are seven pedantic and unworldly professors, headed by Gary Cooper and also including such comic fuss-budgets as Oscar Homolka, S.Z. Sakall, and Tully Marshall, who are compiling a dictionary of contemporary slang, and wind up getting instructed by a beautiful singer named Sugarpuss O’Shea (Stanwyck) in flight from both the police and the mob. The secondary cast includes Dana Andrews, Dan Duryea, and Elisha Cook Jr., and the cinematographer is Gregg Toland.As one of Hawks’ best analysts, Shigehiko Hasumi, has observed, “In Hawks’ world, where inversion, exchange and repetition always ensure the dominance of women, the key issue is who will control the coincidences and not be deceived by similarities. In almost all cases, it is the men who are in the weak position and the women in the strong position”, and Stanwyck is the one who mainly triumphs in the comic complications of Ball of Fire, where inversion, exchange and repetition are employed as musically as they are in jazz.

Jonathan Rosenbaum

 

 

 

Cast and Credits

Sog.: Billy Wilder, Thomas Monroe. Scen.: Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder. F.: Gregg Toland. M.: Daniel Mandell. Scgf.: Perry Ferguson. Mus.: Alfred Newman. Int.: Gary Cooper (prof. Bertram Potts), Barbara Stanwyck (Sugarpuss O’Shea), Oscar Homolka (prof. Gurkakoff), Henry Travers (prof. Jerome), S.Z. Sakall (prof. Magenbruch), Tully Marshall (prof. Robinson), Leonid Kinskey (prof. Quintana), Richard Haydn (prof. Oddly), Aubrey Mather (prof. Peagram). Prod.: Samuel Goldwyn per Samuel Goldwyn Studios · 35mm. Bn.

 

 

 

CAB CALLOWAY’S HI-DE-HO

Director: Fred Waller
Year: 1934
Country: USA
Running time: 11'
Film Version
English version
Sound
Sound
Edition
2015

TILLIE

Director: William Forest Crouch
Year: 1945
Country: USA
Running time: 3'
Film Version
English version
Sound
Sound
Edition
2015