I have a new idol
I should've known this would happen. A week after I bust Babs Stanwyck's acting chops, she completely bowls me over as sexy, wisecracking nightclub chanteuse Sugarpuss O'Shea, a dame with a lust for life and a thousand comebacks who just happens to be on the lam. 1941's Ball of Fire is absolute, one-hundred-percent-bonafide delightful entertainment - a bit bittersweet, a touch tender, but mostly laugh-out-loud funny. And Barbara Stanwyck is...she just...wow. The way she endears goofy, gallant Professor Potts (a devastatingly handsome Gary Cooper) with a soulful look or the suggestive extension of her stocking-clad gam has to be seen to be believed, and even then, she's simply remarkable. She dances seductively to Gene Krupa and his orchestra, tosses out double-entendres without batting an eye, and manages a delicate and inimitable balance of sultry and sweet, crass and cautious, brazen and bashful - all the while melting the hearts of eight shut-in scholars, only one of whom has ever had a sweetheart.
So I bow down to you, Miss Stanwyck. I once thought the only role you were capable of playing with coolness was the matriarch on The Big Valley, but now I am humbly before your legendary status, knowing full well that you deserve it.
And Sugarpuss O'Shea - I salute you.