7.0/10
1,874
27 user 19 critic

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)
Reviews

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Wonder Man (1945)
Comedy | Fantasy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

After being murdered by gangsters, an exuberant nightclub entertainer returns as a ghost to persuade his meek twin brother to help bring his killers to justice.

Director: H. Bruce Humberstone
Stars: Danny Kaye, Virginia Mayo, Vera-Ellen
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A town's corrupt officials think a fool is actually an investigator in disguise.

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: Danny Kaye, Walter Slezak, Barbara Bates
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

After a timid milkman knocks unconscious a boxing champion who was accosting his sister, he decides to take up boxing himself in order to impress a beautiful nightclub singer.

Director: Norman Z. McLeod
Stars: Danny Kaye, Virginia Mayo, Vera-Ellen
Merry Andrew (1958)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Downtrodden but creative English school-teacher (Danny Kaye) on archeological trip discovers joys of love and circus life with acrobat (Pier Angeli).

Director: Michael Kidd
Stars: Danny Kaye, Pier Angeli, Salvatore Baccaloni
Up in Arms (1944)
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Hypochondriac Danny Weems gets drafted into the army and makes life miserable for his fellow GIs. He's also lovesick when it comes to pretty Mary Morgan, unaware that she's in love with his... See full summary »

Director: Elliott Nugent
Stars: Danny Kaye, Dana Andrews, Dinah Shore
Ball of Fire (1941)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A group of professors working on a new encyclopedia encounter a mouthy nightclub singer who is wanted by the police to help bring down her mob boss lover.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Oskar Homolka
Comedy | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A clumsy daydreamer gets caught up in a sinister conspiracy.

Director: Norman Z. McLeod
Stars: Danny Kaye, Virginia Mayo, Boris Karloff
On the Double (1961)
Adventure | Comedy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

At the time of the Invasion of Normandy, an American soldier is asked to impersonate a British General in order to confuse the Nazi spies and assassins in London.

Director: Melville Shavelson
Stars: Danny Kaye, Dana Wynter, Wilfrid Hyde-White
Comedy | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

After marrying an American lieutenant with whom he was assigned to work in post-war Germany, a French captain attempts to find a way to accompany her back to the States under the terms of the War Bride Act.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Cary Grant, Ann Sheridan, Marion Marshall
Knock on Wood (1954)
Certificate: Passed Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Ventriloquist Jerry Morgan has to see another love affair fail. The reason: when the relationship reaches the point when it is time to discuss marriage, his doll Clarence becomes mean and ... See full summary »

Directors: Melvin Frank, Norman Panama
Stars: Danny Kaye, Mai Zetterling, Torin Thatcher
Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An American entertainer impersonates a wealthy aviator and flirts with his lookalike's neglected wife.

Director: Walter Lang
Stars: Danny Kaye, Gene Tierney, Corinne Calvet
The Big Sky (1952)
Drama | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The success of the journey focuses on keeping the Indian girl alive as well as themselves to complete trade with the Blackfeet.

Director: Howard Hawks
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Dewey Martin, Elizabeth Threatt
Edit

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
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! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 October 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

That's Life See more »

Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

(Inside joke) When asked to play without music, Prof. Magenbruch 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

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

Professor Hobart Frisbee: What are you gonna do?
Honey Swanson: I'm going to show you what yum-yum is. Here's yum.
[kisses him]
Honey Swanson: And here's the other yum.
[kisses him again]
Honey Swanson: And here's yum-yum.
[gives a long kiss that knocks him backwards onto a chair]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Superman II: Restoring the Vision (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Sweet Genevieve
(1869) (uncredited)
Music by Henry Tucker
Lyrics by George Cooper
Sung a cappella by all the professors
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

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.


19 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 27 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Check Out What's Playing on IMDb Freedive

See what movies and TV series you can watch for free today, and visit IMDb Freedive for even more. Select any poster below to play the movie!

Find more things to watch

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed