This is probably my favorite line in any movie ever, and Billy Wilder is my favorite filmmaker. From “Ball of Fire:” Sugarpuss (Barbara Stanwyck) is a showgirl trying to persuade the seven professors who share a home as they write an encyclopedia that she has to stay the night. She tells them she can’t go because she has a sore throat. (In reality, she’s hiding out from the law because her boyfriend is a mobster.) Professor Magenbrush says Sugarpuss has a slight rosiness at the back of her throat, and she replies ”SLIGHT rosiness? It’s as red as The Daily Worker and just as sore!

She goes on to say, “I’m a sucker for streptococci” and makes it sound sexy. Wilder, not a native English speaker, shows his love for his adopted language in this film, where Gary Cooper plays an English professor who is trying to learn the latest slang. The line above is about as witty as wordplay gets, and like many of the best lines in the sublime film, has to be heard a couple of times before it sinks in.

Movie critic, corporate critic and shareholder advocate, critic/editor at @ebertvoices @moviemom, and #corpgov #movies and editor at @miniverpress

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store