Ball of Fire
This film features a mighty triumvirate—Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck in the lead roles under the direction of Howard Hawks. Cooper is Bertram Potts, a college professor working on a lexicon of slang. When he runs into Stanwyck's Sugarpuss O'Shea, a nightclub performer engaged to a gangster, he appears to have struck gold. Sugarpuss moves in and teaches Potts and his fellow professors how to cut loose, gangster-style, and in the process wins the heart of Potts. Unfortunately, O'Shea's mobster fiance won't disappear so easily. Apparently, during the course of the filming, Stanwyck accidentally fractured co-star Kathleen Howard's jaw when a stage punch went awry. They don't make 'em like Stanwyck anymore, that's for sure. Come for the skillful work by Hawks, a legendary director whose mark can be seen on modern cinema from such disparate filmmakers as the Coen Brothers, Quentin Tarantino, and Robert Altman. Long Beach School for Adults, 3701 E. Willow St., Long Beach, (562) 997-8000. Fri., 7 p.m. $1 materials fee.
This film by celebrated Chinese director Zhang Yimou is being screened as part of the Bowers Museum's "Asian Dinner and Movie" night, which should make for a slightly more interesting date than my usual "Del Taco and Video Game" night. The film concerns Jiu'er, a young woman played by the radiant Gong Li, who is sold off to be the wife of a sickly vintner. When the winemaker dies, Jiu'er inherits the business and must resist the invasion of the Japanese if she wants to maintain her lifestyle. Bowers Museum, Fluor Gallery, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 567-3679; www.bowers.org. Thurs., Jan. 11, 7:30 p.m. $10; members and students, $8. For reservations to the pre-film dinner, call Tangata Restaurant at (714) 550-0906.
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