Monday, 23 February 2009

"Corn. Straight off the cob."

Watched Howard Hawks' Ball of Fire (1941) last night.

Although there were a whole bunch of "that wouldn't happen"s and "oh come on"s, I really liked the film. It was sappy and funny and intellectually intriguing.

Since a major part of the story line involves the creation of an encyclopedia, it made me think about the kind of work that would go into a project like that, particularly in that day: Would they really work alphabetically through the entries or would they jump around conceptually? Would they work together collaboratively, as they were doing with the dance they were trying to figure out, or would they rather work mostly independently in their own areas of expertise? And, whenever I'm presented with a story about exceptionally intelligent individuals, I'm always interested in how this intelligence is portrayed: full of knowledge but too often out of touch, which seems not intelligent but rather focused on something academic, which is often connected but not equivalent.

But in the end, it's a pseudo-love story. I say pseudo, because, as my wife points out, it's not really convincing that she loves him. But that doesn't really take away from the light entertaining happiness that you CAN get out of it, if you just accept it. This is not a complicated love story. Just sit back and be amused by Gary Cooper's / Professor Potts' naivete and honesty, while patiently waiting for the revelation that you know Barbara Stanwyck / Sugarpuss O'Shea will have.

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