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A Song Is Born (1948)

Passed  |   |  Comedy, Musical  |  19 October 1948 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 1,502 users  
Reviews: 25 user | 17 critic

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 ... See full summary »

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(based on the story "From A to Z" by), (based on the story "From A to Z" by), 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Lionel Hampton ...
Lionel Hampton
Charlie Barnet ...
Charlie Barnet
Mel Powell ...
Mel Powell
Buck and Bubbles ...
Dancers
Page Cavanaugh Trio ...
Cavanaugh Trio (as The Page Cavanaugh Trio)
The Golden Gate Quartette ...
Golden Gate Quartette (as The Golden Gate Quartet)
Samba Kings ...
The Samba Kings (as Russo and the Samba Kings)
...
Professor Twingle
Steve Cochran ...
Tony Crow
J. Edward Bromberg ...
Dr. Elfini
Edit

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:

Danny's latest is his greatest!

Genres:

Comedy | Musical

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 October 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

That's Life  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,400,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

(Inside joke) When asked to play without music, Prof. Magenbruch (Benny Goodman) says, "You can't play without music." The others answer, "Well, Benny Goodman used to." Magenbruch then says he's never heard of Benny Goodman. See more »

Goofs

Just after "Bubbles" finishes his "Bop-bop-a-rebop" routine the camera switches to another view. It is obviously a second take since his mouth is clearly saying 'rebop' but there is no sound. See more »

Quotes

Honey Swanson: [about Frisbee] Yes, I love him. I love those hick shirts he wears with the boiled collars and the way he always has his coat buttoned wrong. It looks like a giraffe, and I love him. I love him because he's the sort of a guy that gets drunk on a glass of buttermilk. And I love the way he blushes right up over his ears. I love him because he... he doesn't know how to kiss, the jerk.
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 (New York) – See 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.


18 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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