7.0/10
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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)
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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

Differences between Ball of Fire (1941) and this remake:
  • In 'Ball of Fire (1941)', the professors were writing an encyclopedia; in this movie, they are cataloging music.
  • Most of the characters' names have been changed, with the exceptions of Miss Bragg, Professor Oddly, and Miss Totten.
  • 'Ball of Fire (1941)' was not a musical.
  • 'Ball of Fire' was filmed in black and white; 'A Song Is Born' was filmed in Technicolor.
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: [to Miss Bragg, after she has summoned a cab for Honey Swanson] It's all yours, Crabapple Annie!
See more »

Connections

Remake of Ball of Fire (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

Anitra's Boogie
(uncredited)
Based on "Anitra's Dance" from Peer Gynt, Op. 23, by Edvard Grieg (1875)
Played by Benny Goodman and Ford Washington Lee
See more »

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User Reviews

Enjoyable musical comedy (more so if you haven't seen the original)
18 September 1999 | by otterSee all my reviews

This is a musical remake of the 1940 classic "Ball of Fire". The plot is almost the same, a gangster's moll crashes the residence of a bunch of professors who are writing an encyclopedia, and falls in love the the youngest one. This time they're a musical encyclopedia rather than a generalized one, which allows for a lot of musical numbers, some of them pretty enjoyable. It's a lively, superficial, colorful musical with some laughs to it, if you haven't seen "Ball of Fire" you'll probably have quite a good time.

But the film and especially the performances are vastly inferior to the original. Virginia Mayo is the same as she always was in musical comedies, a sort of generic leading lady/straight man. Danny Kaye is limited by his role, he's playing an uptight nerd and can't use his fabulous manic energy at all for most of the film (Gary Cooper was absolutely hilarious as the uptight nerd in the original, he was one good actor). The supporting performances are all pretty cartoonish, none stand out, but there are appearances by Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Tommy Dorsey, and Lionel Hampton which you might want to catch.


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