- Swing and Sway with Danny Kaye 12/18/2005 12:00:00 AM by bkoganbing
I'm truly dating myself but back in the swing days there was a bandleader named Sammy Kaye who used that as his band's slogan. Otherwise my title would have been the tag line for this film.
It was only seven years earlier that the original film, Ball of Fire also came from the Sam Goldwyn Studio. In that one Gary Cooper was one of several professors who were putting together an encyclopedia. His specialty was linguistics and he selected Barbara Stanwyck to help in learn new slang terms.
Here it's a musical encyclopedia and Virginia Mayo stumbles into the lives of the sheltered professors putting this history together. They've led such a cloistered existence that the whole jazz era has passed them by. So Kaye in the Cooper role and another professor played by Benny Goodman with Mayo get some of the best to help them along.
A Song is Born is a pleasant although a previous reviewer is correct in saying that Danny Kaye is far more subdued than usual in this film. But anytime you can get Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Louis Armstrong, Charlie Barnet, and Mel Powell together for a jam session, the film automatically becomes worthwhile.
This is for every fan of jazz in the world.
- And all that jazz 5/31/2006 12:00:00 AM by jotix100
Howard Hawks remake of his 1941 comedy "Ball of Fire" was a vehicle for Danny Kaye, who was popular at the time. This film is based on a story by Billy Wilder and Thomas Monroe, which had also been the basis of the original film. The movie was shot in Technicolor, something that must have been one of the stipulations of its star, Danny Kaye.
By changing the original premise from learning about slang to learning about the new popular rhythms that had come out during the thirties and forties, the creators thought they were updating the basic idea, and they succeed, at times. The best thing in this film is the array of talent we see. Some of the giants in popular music of that time, are seen at their best in musical numbers that are clever and that reminds the viewer how classic compositions could relate to the new expressions.
The central story is just a pretext to present Danny Kaye, who is the nerdy professor Frisbee, and his co-star, Virginia Mayo, a night club singer, Honey Swanson. Professor Frisbee gets in hot water because unknown to him, Honey is involved with a gangster, Tony Crow, who doesn't want to let go of his beautiful girlfriend. Besides the two stars, Steve Cochran puts in an appearance as Tony.
Some of the best known popular musicians of that era are seen doing wonderful music together. Tommy Dorsey, Mel Powell, Buck and Bubbles, Charlie Barnett, Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, and Benny Goodman, who plays one of the professors.
The film, while not as original as its model, is worth watching for the music alone. Music fans are in for a treat thanks to Mr. Hawks.
- The music is incredible in this movie! 1/24/2001 12:00:00 AM by llltdesq
This movie (a remake of 1941's "Ball of Fire") is an entertaining movie. But if you like swing or JAZZ, you have got to see this! Most Danny Kaye movies have good musical scores, but this one has Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong and a number of other greats performing. Not as good a movie as "The Five Pennies", but well worth seeing for the music and for Danny Kaye. Recommended to anyone who likes Jazz and/or Swing.
- The movie is entertaining, but the music is incredible ... 6/6/2006 12:00:00 AM by bryce-40
Where else can you see a jam session with Louie Armstrong on trumpet, Charlie Barnet on saxophone, Benny Goodman on clarinet, and Tommy Dorsey on trombone? Four major swing band leaders jamming out, and they do it more than once on this film. The movie is sufficiently entertaining to watch, but the real treat is the music jam sessions. Some of you may not know Charlie Barnet. Barnet was from a wealthy family, and his bands were more freewheeling than most traditional swing bands. He was the first white band leader to integrate his bands, and he gave Lena Horne her first gig with a major orchestra.
The true big band aficionado will recognize some of the other musicians, but I will not list them here as I might spoil someone's fun.
- You are watching jazz history 6/4/2004 12:00:00 AM by keyss0407
This is a movie for anyone who loves music, not only is it a great comically entertaining film, it draws you into the world of jazz at its contemporary beginning, This movie does for jazz what "Amadeus" (1984) did for Mozart and Classical music, it gives a great understanding and appreciation of all aspects of music, no matter what type of music you like, and what a great way to start your appreciation then with some of the greatest artist in jazz history; Benny Goodman,Lionel Hampton,Louis Armstrong, and Tommy Dorsey to name some of the jazz musicians in this wonderful and most entertaining film.. Just sit back and enjoy, you won't be disappointed, I promise