Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


I never left my apartment, today. Just stayed in and reworked a screenplay so that it was wilder and crazier than before. Hopefully. Then as it printed out, I watched Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck in "Ball of Fire", from 1941. The story is an updating of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves", but with a showgirl and seven cloistered professors along with one more professor who's the stand in for Prince Charming.

It's a lovely film. Gary Cooper plays a professor of etymology, who's writing a section of an encyclopedia dealing with slang. He realizes his knowledge of slang is outdated do goes out into the real world to learn more about it and runs headlong in Barbara Stanwyck, who's a walking dictionary of it. She's a nightclub singer (her intro is singing a goofy song called "Drum Boogie" while dressed in nothing but spangles and a couple strips of cloth). He invites her back to the foundation where he and his fellows live and work to discuss slang. She winds up having ti hide from the DA for a while so takes him up on it...and fireworks ensue.

It's a real joy to watch Gary Cooper pull off a truly comedic performance. He plays a sheltered, anal-retentive goof so neatly, he doesn't have to do anything but read his lines to make them funny. While Stanwyck rocks her roll as she goes from being hard as nails to made over by love.

This is the moment when she shows him what "yum-yum" means, and it is priceless, but it's his actions afterwards make it classic (catch his expressions when the housekeeper tells him the taxi has come to take the girl away).

Of course, I did some ironing as I watched it. Can't be too much of a wastrel.

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