IMDb > A Song Is Born (1948)
A Song Is Born
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A Song Is Born (1948) More at IMDbPro »

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Popularity: ?
Up 26% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Billy Wilder (based on the story "From A to Z" by) and
Thomas Monroe (based on the story "From A to Z" by)
View company contact information for A Song Is Born on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
19 October 1948 (USA) See more »
Danny's latest is his greatest!
Gangster's moll Honey Swanson goes into hiding when her boyfriend is under investigation by the police... See more » | Full synopsis »
(4 articles)
User Reviews:
Good Remake of "Ball of Fire" *** See more (25 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

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
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)

Hugh Herbert ... Professor Twingle

Steve Cochran ... Tony Crow
J. Edward Bromberg ... Dr. Elfini
Felix Bressart ... Professor Gerkikoff
Ludwig Stössel ... Professor Traumer (as Ludwig Stossel)

O.Z. Whitehead ... Professor Oddly

Esther Dale ... Miss Bragg
Mary Field ... Miss Totten
Howland Chamberlain ... Mr. Setter (as Howland Chamberlin)

Paul Langton ... Joe

Sidney Blackmer ... Adams

Ben Welden ... Monte
Ben Chasen ... Ben
Peter Virgo ... Louis
Harry Babasin ... Bass
Louie Bellson ... Drums
Alton Hendrickson ... Guitar
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Shirley Ballard ... Chorine at Crow's Nest (uncredited)

Edward Biby ... Headwaiter at Barnet Club (uncredited)
Norman Blake ... Man at Crow's Nest (uncredited)
The Brazilians ... Performers (uncredited)
Paul E. Burns ... Justice of the Peace (uncredited)
Lucille Casey ... Woman at Dorsey Club (uncredited)

Lane Chandler ... Policeman at Twin Oaks Inn (uncredited)
Peter Cusanelli ... Chef at Dixieland Club (uncredited)
Vivian Dandridge ... Patron at The Chocolate Club (uncredited)
Roy Darmour ... Man at Crow's Nest (uncredited)

Joe Devlin ... Adams' Henchman (uncredited)
Carl Faulkner ... Postman (uncredited)
Maxine Fife ... Woman at Barnet Club (uncredited)
Bess Flowers ... Nightclub Extra (uncredited)
George Ford ... Man at Table (uncredited)
Louise Franklin ... Woman at Chocolate Club (uncredited)
Raoul Freeman ... Detective from D.A.'s Office (uncredited)
Diane Garrett ... Woman at Dorsey Club (uncredited)
Karen X. Gaylord ... Woman at Crow's Nest (uncredited)
Norma Gentner ... Girl with Samba Kings (uncredited)
Sue George ... Cigarette Girl (uncredited)

William Haade ... Detective from D.A.'s Office (uncredited)
Barbara Hamilton ... Woman at Dorsey Club (uncredited)
Charles Hawkins ... Nightclub Patron at The Chocolate Club (uncredited)
John Impolito ... Chef at the Dixieland (uncredited)
Marjorie Jackson ... Chorine at Crow's Nest (uncredited)
Donald Kerr ... Waiter at Crow's Nest (uncredited)
Nolan Leary ... Stage Doorman at the Crow's Nest (uncredited)

Bert LeBaron ... Chef at Dixieland Club (uncredited)
Ford Washington Lee ... Buck (uncredited)
Will Lee ... Waiter at the Dixieland Club (uncredited)
Frank Meredith ... Policeman at Toll Gate (uncredited)
Jill Meredith ... Woman at Dorsey Club (uncredited)
Beverlee Mitchell ... Girl at Table (uncredited)
Martha Montgomery ... Chorine at Crow's Nest (uncredited)
Gene Morgan ... Man at Dorsey Club (uncredited)
Diana Mumby ... Chorine at Crow's Nest (uncredited)
Janie New ... Woman at Dorsey Club (uncredited)
Milicent Patrick ... Woman at Dorsey Club (uncredited)
Foster H. Phinney ... Man at Crow's Nest (uncredited)
Jeffrey Sayre ... Man at Dorsey Club (uncredited)
Muni Seroff ... Waiter (uncredited)
John William Sublett ... Bubbles (uncredited)
Irene Vernon ... Woman at Crow's Nest (uncredited)
Pat Walker ... Photographer at Dorsey Club (uncredited)
Alice Wallace ... Woman at Dorsey Club (uncredited)
Don Wilmot ... Messenger (uncredited)

Directed by
Howard Hawks 
Writing credits
Billy Wilder (based on the story "From A to Z" by) and
Thomas Monroe (based on the story "From A to Z" by)

Helen McSweeney  dialogue director (uncredited)
Harry Tugend  adaptation (uncredited)

Produced by
Samuel Goldwyn .... producer
Original Music by
Hugo Friedhofer (uncredited)
Emil Newman (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Gregg Toland (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Daniel Mandell (film editor)
Art Direction by
Perry Ferguson 
George Jenkins 
Set Decoration by
Julia Heron (set decorations)
Costume Design by
Irene Sharaff  (as Sharaff)
Makeup Department
Marie Clark .... hair stylist
Robert Stephanoff .... makeup
Mel Berns .... makeup department head (uncredited)
Production Management
Leon Fromkess .... executive in charge of production (uncredited)
Raoul Pagel .... production manager (uncredited)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Joseph Boyle .... assistant director (uncredited)
Sound Department
Fred Lau .... sound recorder
Larry Gannon .... sound (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Harry Redmond Jr. .... special effects (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
John P. Fulton .... special photographic effects (as John Fulton)
Camera and Electrical Department
W. Howard Greene .... director of photography (uncredited)
Ralph Hoge .... grip (uncredited)
Hal McAlpin .... still photographer (uncredited)
Bert Shipman .... camera operator (uncredited)
Music Department
Hugo Friedhofer .... musical director
Emil Newman .... musical director
Sonny Burke .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Fletcher Henderson .... music arranger (uncredited)
Louis Kaufman .... musician: violin (uncredited)
Jerome Moross .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Other crew
William Fritzsche .... associate technicolor color director
Samuel Goldwyn .... presenter
Natalie Kalmus .... technicolor color director
Sam Freedle .... script supervisor (uncredited)
Anita Speer .... script supervisor (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
113 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Finland:S | Sweden:Btl | UK:A | USA:Passed (National Board of Review) | USA:Approved (PCA #12799)

Did You Know?

(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 »
Continuity: After slipping her engagement ring on, it disappears only to reappear at the beginning of Miss Honey's long-hair jam session recording.See more »
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 »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Superman II: Restoring the Vision (2006) (V)See more »
Anitra's BoogieSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
9 out of 10 people found the following review useful.
Good Remake of "Ball of Fire" ***, 9 March 2006
Author: edwagreen from United States

"A Song is Born" was made in 1948. This was a remake of 1941's "Ball of Fire" with Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck.

A group of dull music professors are studying the history of music. Two window cleaners urge Danny Kaye, a music professor, to go out and hear music around him.

In Damon Runyan-like atmosphere, he accidentally gets involved with gangsters and their moll-Virginia Mayo.

She hides out by Kaye and his other professors as she is wanted for questioning regarding a murder that her guy-Steve Cochran-may have committed. Remember Cochran and Mayo two years earlier in the Oscar-winning "The Best Years of Our Lives?"

When she hides out, she brings an assortment of musicians with her to join the professors and all belt out music. Thanks to Louis Armstrong and Tommy Dorsey, the music shines. Benny Goodman is unrecognizable as one of the corny music professors.

The hostage situation at film's end is hilarious at best.

A musical treat; funny and memorable when Kaye pops the question. Lots of good fun.

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