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. 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.