Matinee Mondays: A Song Is Born


Last week, I raved about the movie Ball of Fire, featuring Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck. What do you do if you are a movie maker and you own a story that did well in 1941? And if you own a studio that makes the best technicolor musicals in Hollywood? And if you own such talent as Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo? You do a remake of the story, cast Kaye and Mayo as the love interests, and make a musical.

And if you’re movie producer Samuel Goldwyn, you load it up with as many great musical stars as you can. After all, nothing succeeds like excess. And that is how A Song Is Born was born.

Yes, the same plot is used: a group of cloistered, bookish professors are working to produce an encyclopedia; this time, an encyclopedia of the history of music, with accompanying recordings (gotta have those great musicians). And as in the first movie, a gangster’s moll needs a place to hide out and gets herself sequestered with the professors. A charming story, with Danny Kaye pulling off another Walter Mitty-esque performance as the bookish scholar.

But the selling point? Oh, the music! This scene features, in one room, Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, Tommy Dorsey, Lionel Hampton, Charlie Barnet, Mel Powell, The Golden Gate Quartet and the Page Cavanaugh Trio. CSL


Filed under Culture

2 responses to “Matinee Mondays: A Song Is Born

  1. I’ve enjoyed both films over the years, but especially love “Ball of Fire” b/c of Barbara Stanwyck. Your reviews are terrific, by the way. I am such a fan of what are now called “classic” movies. Guess I must be a classic, too (LOL). Anyhow, it saddens me to think the kids have missed out on them.


  2. A Stanwyck fan, huh? I was surprised when I saw her in Ball of Fire, as I had always connected her with dramatic parts, like Double Indemnity.


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