Song is Born

Song is Born

3.5 2
Director: Howard Hawks

Cast: Danny Kaye, Virginia Mayo, Benny Goodman

     
 

A Song is Born is a musical remake of the 1941 comedy Ball of Fire, with the same producer (Sam Goldwyn) and director (Howard Hawks) at the helm. It will be recalled that the original film, co-scripted by Billy Wilder, was an amusing spin on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," wherein seven pedantic professors, working on a dictionary of slang, "adopted"See more details below

Overview

A Song is Born is a musical remake of the 1941 comedy Ball of Fire, with the same producer (Sam Goldwyn) and director (Howard Hawks) at the helm. It will be recalled that the original film, co-scripted by Billy Wilder, was an amusing spin on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," wherein seven pedantic professors, working on a dictionary of slang, "adopted" an authority on the subject, breezy burlesque dancer Sugarpuss O'Shea. In the remake, the septet of scholars are working on an encyclopedia of music, but they're held up on the subject of "swing." When nightclub singer Honey Swanson (Virginia Mayo), escaping from her gangster suitor Tony Crow (Steve Cochran), takes refuge in the professors' home, she offers to introduce them to the world of popular music. This proves to be quite a tuneful undertaking, since two of the professors are played by Danny Kaye and Benny Goodman! The tang and zest of original plotline has been muted to the point of harmlessness, but the film is saved by the presence of Goodman, his fellow bandleaders Charlie Barnet, Tommy Dorsey and Mel Powell, and specialty performers Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton and Buck & Bubbles. A Song is Born was Danny Kaye's final starring vehicle for Sam Goldwyn.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
There was really no need for Howard Hawks, director of the brilliant comedy Ball of Fire to remake the film as the musical A Song is Born, but if he had to participate in this remake, he should have insisted on making the two feel like much more individual films. Granted, there are some changes, such as making the professors' project one on swing rather than slang; but these are cosmetic, and keeping so much of the dialogue and even the sets from the original only emphasizes their similarities, making Song come up short. However, if one can forget Ball of Fire and just concentrate on Song, there's plenty to recommend it. Much of the dialogue is as witty and laugh-inducing as ever, and while Virginia Mayo simply can't equal Ball's Barbara Stanwyck, she's still an incredibly tasty dish and a lot of fun to be around. It's also interesting, if a bit odd, to see Danny Kaye in a more subdued mood and to watch him be more or less a straight man rather than a manic instigator of mirth. Best of all, however, is the gathering of some truly legendary jazz performers here who are given amply room to swing and jive; when Benny Goodman or Louis Armstrong or Tommy Dorsey get going, Song becomes a glorious, splendiferous piece of melodious amusement.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/07/2009
UPC:
0883904117377
Original Release:
1948
Rating:
NR
Source:
Mgm (Video & Dvd)
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:53:00

Special Features

Closed Caption

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Danny Kaye Prof. Robert Frisbee
Virginia Mayo Honey Swanson
Benny Goodman Prof. Magenbruch
Hugh Herbert Prof. Twingle
Steve Cochran Tony Crow
Louis Armstrong Himself
J. Edward Bromberg Dr. Elfini
Felix Bressart Prof. Gerkikoff
Ludwig Stossel Prof. Traumer
O.Z. Whitehead Prof. Oddly
Esther Dale Miss Bragg
Mary Field Miss Totten
Howland Chamberlain Mr. Setter
Paul Langton Joe
Sidney Blackmer Adams
Peter Virgo Louis
Tommy Dorsey Himself
Lionel Hampton Himself
Charlie Barnet Himself
Mel Powell Himself
Page Cavanaugh Trio Actor
Golden Gate Quartet Actor
Shirley Ballard Actor
Buck and Bubbles Actor
Lane Chandler Policeman at Inn
Joseph Crehan District Attorney
Joe Devlin Gangster
Robert Dudley Justice of the Peace
Jack Gargan Stenotypist
Karen X. Gaylord Actor
Susan George Cigarette Girl
William Haade Actor
Barbara Hamilton Actor
Will Lee Waiter
Gene Morgan Actor
Diana Mumby Actor
Russo and the Samba Kings Actor
Jeffrey Sayre Actor
Muni Seroff Actor
Irene Vernon Actor
Patricia Walker Photographer at Dorsey Club
John Impolito Actor
Alice Wallace Actor
Martha Montgomery Actor
Marjorie Jackson Actor
Donald Wilmot Actor
Ben Welden Monte
Ben Chasen Ben
Louie Bellson Drums
Page Cavanaugh Actor
Samba Kings Actor

Technical Credits
Howard Hawks Director
Perry Ferguson Art Director
Hugo W. Friedhofer Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
John P. Fulton Special Effects
Samuel Goldwyn Producer
Julia Heron Set Decoration/Design
George Jenkins Art Director
Fred Lau Sound/Sound Designer
Dan Mandell Editor
Thomas Monroe Original Story
Emil Newman Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Irene Sharaff Costumes/Costume Designer
Robert Stephanoff Makeup
Gregg Toland Cinematographer
Harry Tugend Screenwriter
Billy Wilder Original Story

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- A Song Is Born
1. Main Titles [1:34]
2. An Eloquent Plea [4:25]
3. Polynesian Mating Call [5:38]
4. Swing, Jazz, Jump, Blues... [7:11]
5. Out and About [5:23]
6. Honey [3:11]
7. All This Subpoena Business [3:47]
8. Just Another Tomato [7:10]
9. Stay in the Icebox [1:53]
10. Starting on the Downbeat [4:44]
11. Hotter Than a Firecracker [2:03]
12. How Jazz Was Born [6:28]
13. Longhair Jam Session [4:08]
14. What Yum-Yum Is [7:42]
15. Where Have You Been? [1:47]
16. Blowing Away the Dust [5:28]
17. Speak Up, Son [6:09]
18. A Very Exciting Day [2:08]
19. Seven Cherubs [3:50]
20. All Mixed Up [5:35]
21. Fish in a Barrel [4:32]
22. At Gunpoint! [4:39]
23. The Battle of Jericho [11:05]
24. It Isn't Fair/End Titles [2:07]

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