Cary and Irene (THE AWFUL TRUTH)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper go for laughs in BALL OF FIRE (1941)

 Babs knows how to gain attention from a room full of men...

The divine Barbara Stanwyck and Coop re-team for this wonderful comedy classic. The two stars previously paired up in Meet John Doe earlier that year for Frank Capra. As good as that film was, I like Ball Of Fire even more. The story casts Coop as Bertram Potts a young professor who along with six other professors are compiling an encyclopedia of human knowledge. Potts is researching American slang. Things are going good until their financial backer, Miss Totten pressures them to hurry up and finish. So Bertram hits the streets to do some solo research and meets saucy nightclub singer Sugarpuss O'Shea (Stanwyck). O'Shea is at first reluctant to help Potts until  she needs a place to hide out from the police who are looking to question her about her boyfriend, mob boss Joe Lilac (played by Dana Andrews). 
Love hurts...

Soon Sugarpuss is teaching the guys how to conga and all kinds of slang. Of course Bertram ends up falling for her but has do deal with Lilac. Ball Of Fire is one awesome movie. Full of humor and a sizzling performance by Stanwyck. She struts across the screen like she owns it and she does. And Coop is solid as Potts. An enjoyable comedy film. Expertly directed by Howard Hawks.

But everything turns out ok in the end...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Barbara Stanwyck is The Mad Miss Manton (1938)

Barbara Stanywck is a delight as fun loving socialite Melsa Manton who, along with her debutante friends, hunt for a murderer while eating bonbons and having fun. Melsa also flirts with newspaper man Peter Ames (Henry Fonda). Stanwyck and Fonda get to trade barbs and engage in screwball hi-jinks while avoiding trying to fall in love. It's cool seeing the pair engage in comedy. They would later team up for the classic farce, The Lady Eve. Here in Miss Manton, things will remind you a lot of the Thin Man series as the film mixes mystery and comedy quite well. And the two leads are game enough to have a good time while pursuing a murderer. Co-starring Sam Levene, Hattie McDaniel, and Penny Singleton.