A Song Is Born

Rated 4.0

The 1948 musical comedy A Song is Born is one of Howard Hawks’ for-hire trifles, but it’s irresistible all the same. Producer Samuel Goldwyn’s rehash of the Billy Wilder story Ball of Fire was little more than excuse to cram the film with jazz heavyweights like Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Louis Armstrong and Lionel Hampton. Danny Kaye plays the leader of a group of stuffy professors who have spent nine years compiling a musical encyclopedia. Their work is almost complete, except for this new fad called “boogie-woogie,” which leads Kaye to “the de-moralizing effects” of torch singer Virginia Mayo’s stellar gams. She’s a gangster’s moll hiding out with the professors, and A Song is Born only drags when the insipid plot intrudes on the sizzling musical numbers.