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What's your name?

Tom Fuchs

What's your job title at Milwaukee Film? What does that entail?

Digital Media Manager

What's your favorite place to sit in a movie theater?

I'm a middle/middle boy, through and through. However, I am flexible and am willing to accommodate aislefolk, and will sit back row center if I’m checking out a horror film or thriller where I need the non-diagetic reminder that I am not enveloped in immediate danger!

What's your favorite theater snack?

Sour Patch Kids. (Fun side note: they’re vegan!)

What's the first film you remember seeing in theaters?

I'm genuinely unsure on this one. The first movie to make a strong impression on me? Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Do you have a most memorable theatergoing experience? (Bonus points for ones involving the OT!)

I'll get into my 1A most memorable moviegoing experience below, but 1B with a bullet: my very first date with my now-wife was seeing The Triplets of Belleville at the Oriental Theatre!

What movie did you pick?

Ball Of Fire (dir. Howard Hawks, 1941)

When did you first see said movie?

On Turner Classic Movies with my wife back in…2008? 

In ten words or less, tell us why we HAVE to see this movie!

Barbara Stanwyck.

Okay - expand on that - why did you make this your staff pick?*

It’s hard to know where to begin when you’re talking about one of your favorite films. There are two approaches I’ll take towards convincing you of both Ball of Fire’s worthiness of a staff pick - the personal and the historical. I’ll start with the latter: though nominated for 6 Oscars in its time, and despite having a pretty massive pedigree in terms of the star power involved (Howard Hawks directing a script by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett, and a stacked cast: Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Dana Andrews, and what appears to be every beloved character actor in the employ of RKO in the 1940s), the movie has kind of been lost to the sands of time. It’s not even the most popular Gary Cooper/Barbara Stanwyck pairing released in 1941 (that honor would go to Capra’s Meet John Doe), but I’d argue that it exists as a massive inflection point in American cinema! Billy Wilder vowed to never let another director film his written words following this film (Wilder negotiated his contract to allow him to shadow Hawks on set), and the rest is history - The Apartment, Some Like It Hot, Sunset Boulevard, Double Indemnity, Sabrina, and the list goes on and on. This is a lovely and fitting swansong to Wilder the screenwriter - a testament to his dazzling wit and clever wordplay.

On the personal end of things, this movie occupies an important part of my wife and I’s shared love of cinema. In the early days of our courtship, a romantic day would include a stop at the library to check out a dozen classic movies we either hadn’t seen or desperately wanted to introduce the other to. So it was a true treat to come across Ball of Fire one night on the TCM schedule, and we were bowled over. The movie stuck with us through the years, and had made such an impression, that on our wedding day - we got married in a movie theater, natch - it was the movie we chose to watch before we exchanged vows (and you now know my 1A most memorable cinematic experience). One funny wrinkle - we were married in Chicago, and my wife forgot her contact lenses back in Milwaukee, so her one opportunity to see Ball of Fire on the big screen was thwarted (she also didn’t have to look at me, so it wasn’t all bad for her). Thwarted until now, that is!

Any parting words you'd like to impart?

Vive le cinéma!

Posted by: Tom Fuchs