A Song is Born
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Top Customer Reviews
An excellent 1948 remake, by director Howard Hawks, of Howard Hawks' excellent 1941 comedy, "Ball of Fire," in which a group of fusty, out-of-touch professors are taken in by a tough-talking, vivacious modern gal who shows them a thing or two about the fast-talking modern world.
Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck starred in the original; here, their parts are played by Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo, and instead of the gal being a burlesque girl, here she's a nightclub singer. This is handy because in 1948, the perfessers are interested in jazz music, and through diligent work they pull in an amazing all-star band of some of the hottest musicians of the big band era: Louis Armstrong, Charlie Barnett, Tommy Dorsey, Lionel Hampton, Mel Powell, The Golden Gate Quartet and a slew of others. Benny Goodman is doubly delicious in his role as a clarinet-toting fuddy-duddy professor who cuts loose when he's exposed to swing.
As remakes go, this is a remarkably durable film. The original is one of my favorite screwball comedies, but this version is also pretty fun, and the musical numbers are not to be missed. Danny Kaye is more believable as a nervous, repressed ivory tower academic, although a great deal of the charm of the original was the casting against type of the virile he-man movie idol Gary Cooper. It's Stanwyck who is really missed here, but Mayo does fine. (Besides, if I want to see Stanwyck, I'll just go back to the original...) All in all, this is a funny, funky film, with some great, hot musical interludes. Definitely worth checking out! (Joe Sixpack, Slipcue film review blog)
The music performances are terrific and don't bog the flow of the movie. The comedy is typical Danny Kaye and delightful without getting too silly. The improbable love story between Kaye and Mayo actually works and is cute. This is an unusual case where the remake is better than the original movie.
A treat is that big band leader and clarinetist Benny Goodman appears as one of the professors, and provides a quite acceptable performance both as a book-wormish scholar, and as a musician who discovers he's got jazz chops he didn't know he had.
Mayo plays her usual voluptuous self, the glamorous and sophisticated showgirl on the lam.
This is a classic light movie that showcases some great musical talent and is very entertaining. Highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A classic. Couldn't find it anywhere. Great film! Still have it on VHS,...which is now just a keepsake,...since it will probably break if I touch it. #artifactPublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
From Jack Richard (40-year Husband of Helen Richard)- Montreal - Quebec - Canada
The following letter about Virginia Mayo herself and about this "A Song I Born"... Read more
This is one of my favorite movies of all time and its a twofer... With another movie on the "a" side, I got my money's worth. Thanks!Published 16 months ago by Amy Lisa Fern
This is one case where one need not make comparisons between the original non-musical and this musical. Both are quite good for what they try to be. Read morePublished 20 months ago by drkhimxz
This musical copy-cat of Ball of fire is not as good, but it's not bad. Compare the two and see what you thinkPublished on July 8, 2014 by Stephen E. Lightell