Movie Review - A Song Is Born (1948) musical remake of Ball of Fire starring Danny Kaye as a musical professor who falls for singer Honey (Virginia Mayo) unaware she is a gangster's moll using him to hide - movie review on The Movie Scene

A Song Is Born (1948)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Virginia Mayo and Danny Kaye in A Song Is Born (1948)


Professor Hobart Frisbee (Danny Kaye) and his musical colleagues have been cooped away for a long time trying to not only write the definitive encyclopaedia of music but record the music as well. But out of the blue they discover that whilst they have been busy in the musical research institute music has actually moved on forcing Frisbee to spend some time going around the clubs to discover all this new music going on. To help with trying to understand this music Honey Swanson (Virginia Mayo) goes to the institute where Frisbee finds himself falling for her. What he doesn't know is that Honey is a gangster's moll and her gangster boyfriend is under investigation by the police which means she is in hiding from the authorities.

It is said that when Danny Kaye was making "A Song Is Born" he was not in a good way as he had separated from his wife and was seeing a psychiatrist to help him deal with things. And to be honest I can believe it as "A Song Is Born" is not classic Danny Kaye and rather delivering the wonderful comedy he was great at seems to be more there as a conduit for all the music which flies about around him. It isn't the only one who doesn't deliver their usual sparkling performance as Virginia Mayo seems to be busy trying to play her part like Barbara Stanwyck in "Ball of Fire" which this is a musical remake of. As such whilst the acting is okay and the storyline is fun it isn't what really makes "A Song Is Born" worth watching.

But "A Song Is Born" is still entertaining and much of that comes to the musical side of things with not only a cast full of great musicians, some of which I have never heard of. Every single musical scene just grabs your attention because of the catchy nature of the music and because each of the musicians delivers so much enthusiasm that it is almost catching. In fact I would almost be happy if there was no storyline so much and just a series of musical scenes as these are simply the best part of the movie.

What this all boils down to is that "A Song Is Born" features some of the most enjoyable musical scenes you will come across in a musical with so many talented musicians giving them plenty of energy. But sadly this is not classic Danny Kaye whilst Virginia Mayo's natural talents seem inhibited by trying to act her part like another actress would.