A Walk on the Wilder Side

Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper ham it up in 'Ball of Fire.' i i

hide captionBarbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper ham it up in Ball of Fire.

Samuel Goldwyn Company
Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper ham it up in 'Ball of Fire.'

Barbara Stanwyck and Gary Cooper ham it up in Ball of Fire.

Samuel Goldwyn Company

"No good deed goes unpunished." That famous quip was coined by Billy Wilder. Well, no good life goes unprofiled. Day to Day has a fabulous piece on the Austrian-born director today, what would have been his 100th birthday.

Even people who think they hate old movies love Billy Wilder films. He directed Some Like It Hot, Sunset Boulevard and Witness for the Prosecution. Oh, and Double Indemnity, The Lost Weekend and The Apartment, the last of which earned him Oscars for writing, producing and directing.

Wilder wrote the screenplay for one of my all-time favorite screwball comedies, Ball of Fire.

The seethingly beautiful Barbara Stanwyck plays a burlesque queen named Sugarpuss O'Shea, who falls madly in love with Gary Cooper as a buttoned-down lexicographer. Here's how Wilder — for whom English was not even a first language — has Sugarpuss express her adoration:

I love him because he's the kind of guy who gets drunk on a glass of buttermilk, and I love the way he blushes right up over his ears. I love him because he doesn't know how to kiss, the jerk!

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