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A Song Is Born ( That's Life )


Price: £12.13 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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A Song Is Born ( That's Life ) + The Five Pennies [DVD] [1959] + The Court Jester [DVD] [1956]
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Product details

  • Actors: Danny Kaye, Virginia Mayo, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Louis Armstrong
  • Directors: Howard Hawks
  • Format: Import, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Sogemedia
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B004T732C8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 77,329 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Spain released, PAL/Region 0 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Mono ), Spanish ( Mono ), English ( Subtitles ), Spanish ( Subtitles ), SPECIAL FEATURES: Interactive Menu, Scene Access, SYNOPSIS: 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.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By E. Stein on 31 Dec 2009
Format: DVD
To add to the below, this is a remake of the Gary Cooper & Barbara Stanwyck film: 'Ball of Fire'. Instead of English professors compiling a dictionary and finding themselves rather out of date with their slang terms, Kaye and his colleagues are compiling a music dictionary (with recordings) and find that music has moved on while they've been locked away working and they have missed out Jazz.

Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, The Dorsey Brothers and Benny Goodman (as one of the professors) are part of a stella line up of the jazz musicians from the era who feature. Virginia Mayo (as Honey Swanson) and Danny Kaye (as Hobart Frisby) display their usual spark, this being the last in a string of four films they made together for Samuel Goldwyn. There is excellent support from Steve Cochran as the suave villain who has to hide his girlfriend in the the confines of this monastic like company of professors, who haven't seen a girl in many years, where she undertandably causes quite a stir.

A note for film buffs: Mary Field takes the role of Miss Toten (the financial backer for the dictionary), in both versions of the film.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By G. Hafsteinsdottir on 27 May 2003
Format: VHS Tape
I first saw this film when I was 6 years old and I fell in love with it.
It is a very good film starring Danny Kaye, one of his best in my opinion. Danny Kaye plays a man who rarely leaves his house because he is always working along with his other (15) music professors. There job is to make music and record it. When the people who fund there music decide to back out, Kaye has to go out to find a great singer/act for them to spice things up so they can keep there grant. He finds this gorgeous woman which decides to go with him, what he doesn't know is that she is the girlfriend of a gangster which wants her back right away.
Louis Armstrong appears in this film along with many great musicians and actors. It has romance, commedy, love, excitement and great music. You have to buy this film.
Thank you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Spike Owen TOP 500 REVIEWER on 19 Feb 2014
Format: DVD
Honey Swanson finds out that her gangster boyfriend is under investigation by the police, she hides out at a musical research institute run by Professor Hobart Frisbee. The institute is run purely by bachelors, and the arrival of Honey turns heads in more ways than one, especially the affable Frisbee.

Howard Hawks remakes his 1941 film Ball of Fire, only where that film had the main protagonists learning about slang, A Song Is Born is a musical based around delightful swing and jazz. As many of the other users here have pointed out, this is a must for music fans, the music is quite simply brilliant, boasting the talents of Louis Armstrong, Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Charlie Barnet, Mel Powell and Lionel Hampton, it's no small wonder that the film is an immense foot tapper from the top draw.

However, not much is said as regards the other good stuff available in the picture, for instance those who have an aversion to Danny Kaye need not worry here, he has been reigned in by Hawks to give a very subtle comedy performance, yes, a little trade mark pratfall here and there exists, but it's a highly effective and charming turn from him. Rarely mentioned, also, is the sultry and pleasing turn from Viriginia Mayo, she looks fab and some of her scenes are a joy to observe, witness her first sequence at the institute, where the old boys get hot under the collar as she whirls her sexuality, I know how they feel, because I was feeling it too!

This is a smashing film, one that had me grinning all the way through, a big foot tapper with heart and smiles, well that will do for me.

"Ever since that woman crossed this threshold, a prairie fire of orgiastic events has swept thru this house" 8/10
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A. Hamilton on 1 July 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This film has taken so long to come out on DVD. I have waited and waited and here it is. Basically the Snow White story with gangsters and musicians. Well worth the wait.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Murray Collier on 23 Mar 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Take note - This film is all in Spanish, something which was not made clear in the advertising and there is no invoice included in delivery so there is no contact addres for returns
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