Ball of Fire
A Film by Howard Hawks
New Books Network 2023
When Mike casually remarked to Dan that he had just re-watched Ball of Fire, the 1941 Barbara Stanwyck / Gary Cooper screwball comedy co-written by Billy Wilder and directed by Howard Hawks, Dan replied that he had “always wanted to, but never gotten around to seeing it.” Mike made demands, Dan pressed play, and here’s their conversation about what it’s like when a friend takes one of your film recommendations and wholly enjoys it. They also talk about the ways in which dancing, slang, and falling in love are messier than entries in an encyclopedia—wonderfully so. Mike even compares this film to one by John Carpenter—and he’s 100% correct. So stop worrying about the quest for knowledge and learn how to cha-cha!
Dan has interviewed Catherine Russell on New Books in Film about her new book, The Cinema of Barbara Stanwyck. You can also find a collection of interviews with Howard Hawks here and Todd McCarthy’s 2007 biography of Hawks here.