7.0/10
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A Song Is Born (1948)

Approved | | Comedy, Music, Musical | 19 October 1948 (USA)
With her gangster boyfriend under investigation by the police, a nightclub singer hides out in a musical research institution staffed by bachelor professors - one of whom begins to fall for her.

Director:

Howard Hawks

Writers:

Billy Wilder (based on the story "From A to Z" by), Thomas Monroe (based on the story "From A to Z" by)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Danny Kaye ... Professor Hobart Frisbee
Virginia Mayo ... Honey Swanson
Benny Goodman ... Professor Magenbruch
Tommy Dorsey ... Tommy Dorsey
Louis Armstrong ... Louis Armstrong
Lionel Hampton ... Lionel Hampton
Charlie Barnet ... Charlie Barnet
Mel Powell ... Mel Powell
Ford Washington Lee Ford Washington Lee ... Buck
John W. Bubbles ... Bubbles (as John William Sublett)
Page Cavanaugh Trio ... The Page Cavanaugh Trio (as The Page Cavanaugh Trio)
The Golden Gate Quartette ... The Golden Gate Quartette (as The Golden Gate Quartet)
Samba Kings Samba Kings ... The Samba Kings (as Russo and The Samba Kings)
Hugh Herbert ... Professor Twingle
Steve Cochran ... Tony Crow
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Storyline

Gangster's moll Honey Swanson goes into hiding when her boyfriend is under investigation by the police. Where better to hide than a musical research institute staffed entirely by lonely bachelors? She gets more than she bargained for when the head of the institute Professor Hobart Frisbee starts to fall for her. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

...with the hottest men in music - beating out the rhythm with'm! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 October 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

That's Life See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,400,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Howard Hawks had no interest in this movie, and only came to work on it because of the $250,000 salary: "Danny Kaye had separated from his wife [Sylvia Fine], and he was a basket case, stopping work to see a psychiatrist every day. He was about as funny as a crutch. I never thought anything in that picture was funny. It was an altogether horrible experience". See more »

Goofs

At one point, during the last musical session when the two gangsters are holding everyone captive, the wires making the drum jump up and down can be seen. See more »

Quotes

Honey Swanson: And I want you to look at me, Professor Frisbee, as another tomato.
Professor Hobart Frisbee: What?
Honey Swanson: Just another tomato.
See more »

Connections

Remake of Ball of Fire (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

Flying Home
(1939) (uncredited)
Composed by Lionel Hampton, Benny Goodman and Edgar De Lange
Performed by Benny Goodman and other musicians
See more »

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User Reviews

 
And all that jazz
31 May 2006 | by jotix100See all my reviews

Howard Hawks remake of his 1941 comedy "Ball of Fire" was a vehicle for Danny Kaye, who was popular at the time. This film is based on a story by Billy Wilder and Thomas Monroe, which had also been the basis of the original film. The movie was shot in Technicolor, something that must have been one of the stipulations of its star, Danny Kaye.

By changing the original premise from learning about slang to learning about the new popular rhythms that had come out during the thirties and forties, the creators thought they were updating the basic idea, and they succeed, at times. The best thing in this film is the array of talent we see. Some of the giants in popular music of that time, are seen at their best in musical numbers that are clever and that reminds the viewer how classic compositions could relate to the new expressions.

The central story is just a pretext to present Danny Kaye, who is the nerdy professor Frisbee, and his co-star, Virginia Mayo, a night club singer, Honey Swanson. Professor Frisbee gets in hot water because unknown to him, Honey is involved with a gangster, Tony Crow, who doesn't want to let go of his beautiful girlfriend. Besides the two stars, Steve Cochran puts in an appearance as Tony.

Some of the best known popular musicians of that era are seen doing wonderful music together. Tommy Dorsey, Mel Powell, Buck and Bubbles, Charlie Barnett, Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, and Benny Goodman, who plays one of the professors.

The film, while not as original as its model, is worth watching for the music alone. Music fans are in for a treat thanks to Mr. Hawks.


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