A Song is Born

foreign flyer for A Song is Born (1948).

Advertisements

A Song is Born

Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo are on their way to their fake wedding in A Song is Born (1948).

A Song is Born

Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo try to copy Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck in A Song is Born (1948), Howard Hawks’ inferior remake of Ball of Fire.

A Song is Born

Howard Hawks’ signed contract for A Song is Born (1948), his fourth and final film for producer Samuel Goldwyn, after Barbary Coast, Come and Get It, and Ball of Fire.

A Song is Born

advance flyer for A Song is Born (1948).

A Song is Born

A Song is Born (1948) was photographed by Gregg Toland who also filmed the original version with Howard Hawks for producer Samuel Goldwyn, Ball of Fire.  A Song is Born would be Gregg’s penultimate film before his untimely death in 1948.

A Song is Born

Virginia Mayo as singer Honey Swanson with Mel Powell at the piano in A Song is Born (1948).

A Song is Born

songgeorgewachsteter

Bandleader Tommy Dorsey as a cartoon by George Wachsteter for A Song is Born (1948).

A Song is Born

The jazz musician’s living space in A Song is Born (1948).  While it is one of Howard Hawks’ four weak films, it has the compensations of the numerous jazz performances and Hawks’ first film in color, photographed by the great Gregg Toland.

A Song is Born

Virginia Mayo in a screencap from A Song is Born (1948), Howard Hawks’ first film in color.  He waited another five years for his second color film, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

A Song is Born

 

Howard Hawks got along well with Charlie Barnet while filming A Song is Born (1948), both being rich kids in the entertainment industry.

A Song is Born

Howard Hawks on the set of A Song is Born with Tommy Dorsey, Charlie Barnet and Mel Powell

Howard Hawks directing A Song is Born (1948) with big band leaders Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Charlie Barnet and Lionel Hampton.  This was Howard Hawks’ fourth film for independent producer Samuel Goldwyn.  Hawks said he only accepted it because Sam offered him a wad of loot after Hawks incurred out of pocket expenses on Red River.

A Song is Born

The back of this publicity still reads

Assisted by Danny Kaye the professors of classical music and a book of jazz. Benny Goodman tires to learn the intricacies of jazz in this scene from Samuel Goldwyn’s Technicolor comedy “A Song Is Born. ”  Seen are O.Z. Whitehead,  Danny, Hugh Hubert, J. Edward Bromber. Ludwig Stossel and Benny.  The film, which co-stars Danny and Virginia Mayo, is directed by Howard Hawks.

It must be a typo when Benny Goodman “tires to learn” and not “tries to learn” the intricacies of jazz.

And J. Edward Bromberg is misidentified as J. Edward Bromber.

 

A Song is Born


While A Song is Born (1948) is one of Howard Hawks’ four weak films, it is notable as his first film in color.  It was photographed by Gregg Toland who also photographed the original version, Ball of Fire (1942).  Check out the main Classic Hollywood and Beyond section for a great article on the great Toland.

http://howardhawks.com/gregg-toland-cinematographer-1904-1948/

A Song is Born

Virginia Mayo behind the scenes of A Song is Born (1948).  Virginia was one of the reasons for the weakness of the film.  Virginia was no match for Barbara Stanwyck as Sugarpuss O’Shea in the original Ball of Fire (1942).  The best Howard Hawks could do was to screen the original film and try to get Virginia to mimic Barbara.   Many other actresses would have brought more personality and spark to the role.