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Ball of Fire (1941)

April 16, 2016 @ 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM

Free – $10

UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Hugh M. Hefner Classic American Film Program present "Independent Stardom on Screen: Freelance Women in Hollywood."

Ball of Fire (1941)
Directed by Howard Hawks.

In this screwball spin on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Barbara Stanwyck triumphs as burlesque singer Sugarpuss O’Shea who goes into hiding at the residence of a linguistics professor, Bertram Potts (Gary Cooper), and his seven scholarly colleagues. Potts is seduced by O’Shea’s "brilliant mind" through her witty vernacular of New York street slang. Their budding romance is thwarted when her gangster boyfriend demands marriage to prevent her from testifying against him. Produced by Samuel Goldwyn and written by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett, the film typifies a prestige "A" class production that appealed to freelance talent like Stanwyck, who used her contractual muscle to negotiate for Edith Head to design her clothes in the film that redefined her sex-symbol persona.

Production: The Samuel Goldwyn Company. Distribution: RKO Radio Pictures. Producer: Samuel Goldwyn. Director: Howard Hawks. Screenwriter: Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder. Cinematographer: Gregg Toland. Editor: Daniel Mandell. Composer: Alfred Newman. With: Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Oskar Homolka, Henry Travers, S.Z. Sakall.

35mm, b/w, 111 min.

Followed by:
True Confession (1937)
Directed by Wesley Ruggles.

In her last film for Paramount, Carole Lombard plays pathological liar and fiction writer Helen Bartlett who is married to an honest, but broke lawyer (Fred MacMurray). She secretly gets a job behind his back to help with their finances only to land in jail with a murder charge. Although her husband steps in as her defense lawyer and wins her case, Helen’s constant lying continues to strain their relationship. Built entirely around Lombard’s new screwball comedienne persona, True Confession brought together Paramount’s top talent and also featured the actress’ personal choices for her cinematographer (Ted Tetzlaff) and designer (Travis Banton), guaranteed by her freelance contract.

Production: Paramount Pictures. Distribution: Paramount Pictures. Producer: Albert Lewin. Director: Wesley Ruggles. Based on a play by Louis Verneuil and George Beer. Screenwriter: Claude Binyon. Cinematographer: Ted Tetzlaff. Editor: Paul Weatherwax. Composer: Friedrich Hollaender. With: Carole Lombard, Fred MacMurray John Barrymore, Una Merkel, Porter Hall.

35mm, b/w, 85 min.

In-Person: Emily Carman, author, Independent Stardom: Freelance Women in the Hollywood Studio System.

FREE Admission for all UCLA students with valid I.D.!

More Info: UCLA Film & Television Archive Website


April 16, 2016
7:30 PM - 10:00 PM
Free – $10
Event Category:


Billy Wilder Theater
10899 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90024 United States