skip navigation
A Song Is Born

A Song Is Born(1948)

TCM Messageboards
Post your comments here

Remind Me

TCMDb Archive MaterialsView all archives (0)


powered by AFI

At New York's Totten Music Foundation, Professor Hobart Frisbee and his six musicologist colleagues devote themselves to compiling the world's most comprehensive music encyclopedia. When their spinsterly benefactress Miss Totten and her lawyer visit and question the mounting cost of the project, the youthful Frisbee flirts shyly with Miss Totten and engages her in a demonstration of a Polynesian love chant. Taken with the chant, Miss Totten happily re-commits to financing the encyclopedia, on which the professors have already labored nine years. As soon as Miss Totten departs, two window washers, Buck and Bubbles, drop by the foundation and ask the musicologists for help on some radio quiz show questions. The professors are startled by Buck and Bubbles' jazzy renditions of classical pieces, and Frisbee, who is the project's folk music expert, concludes that his section of the encyclopedia is outdated. Determined to catch up on nine years of popular music, Frisbee spends an entire day visiting nightclubs. After inviting a series of distinguished jazz musicians to attend a round table discussion at the foundation the next day, Frisbee encounters sexy nightclub entertainer Honey Swanson. Honey, whose gangster boyfriend Tony Crow is wanted by the police for murder, at first rejects Frisbee's invitation, but changes her mind when detectives from the district attorney's office try to subpoena her. Fleeing the club with Tony's henchmen, Joe and Monte, Honey realizes that the foundation is the perfect place in which to hide until she can reunite with Tony. To the delight of his sex-starved colleagues, Frisbee allows Honey to stay the night, and she joins the round table the next morning. During the discussion, Monte and Joe come to the foundation and meet secretly with Honey and hand her a large diamond engagement ring from Tony. Although Honey knows that Tony wants to marry her only because she would then be unable to testify against him, she happily accepts the ring, as becoming Mrs. Crow will guarantee her a life of luxury. Because the police are still looking for her, Honey must remain at the foundation but makes the best of her situation by teaching the professors about jam sessions. When the foundation's stuffy housekeeper, Miss Bragg, threatens to quit unless Honey is expelled, Frisbee dutifully informs the singer that she must leave. Desperate to stay, Honey tells the smitten Frisbee that she has a crush on him and calls him her "yum yum type." Frisbee tries to resist Honey's calculated seduction, but is finally overwhelmed by her kisses. Later that night, the lovestruck Frisbee announces to his colleagues that he is proposing to Honey. Frisbee asks Honey to marry him the next morning and presents her with a modest, romantically engraved engagement ring. Honey is taken aback by the seriousness of Frisbee's devotion, but before she can turn him down, Tony telephones from a small town in New Jersey, identifying himself as "Daddy." Believing that Tony is Honey's father, Frisbee asks him for Honey's hand, and Tony uses Frisbee's confusion to arrange safe transportation for Honey. Tony instructs Frisbee to drive up to New Jersey with Honey, so that her "sick mother" can enjoy the wedding. Although reluctant to fool Frisbee in this way, Honey agrees to Tony's plan and even locks Miss Bragg in a closet after the housekeeper reads a newspaper article about her and threatens to call the police. On the way to New Jersey with Honey and the professors, Frisbee crashes his rented car, forcing them all to spend the night at an inn. There Honey calls Tony, who ignores her protests and announces that he is picking her up that night. Before the gangster arrives, Frisbee mistakes Honey's bungalow for Professor Oddly's and inadvertently confesses his passion to Honey, who responds with loving kisses. In New York, meanwhile, Miss Bragg escapes from the closet and notifies the police about Honey's whereabouts. When Tony and his gang show up at the inn, Frisbee finally realizes he has been duped and, after misdirecting Miss Bragg and the police, confronts Honey. Although Honey is contrite, Frisbee and his cohorts sadly return to the foundation without her. Miss Totten then arrives and informs them that, because of the scandal now surrounding the foundation, the encyclopedia has lost its funding. Just then, Joe and Monte burst in and announce to Frisbee that because Honey has told Tony that she loves Frisbee, Tony wants to show her what a milquetoast Frisbee is by forcing her to marry him under Frisbee's nose. While a feeble justice of the peace undertakes to marry Honey and Tony in one room of the foundation, Monte and Joe hold the professors at gunpoint in another. After their musician friends show up to continue the round table, Frisbee gets an idea to use the raucous rhythms of their music to cause a large drum to fall from its wall perch onto Joe's head. As hoped, the drum knocks Joe out, while Monte literally has a rug pulled out from under him. With moments to spare, Frisbee then rushes to stop the wedding and beats up Tony. Later, Honey proclaims that she does not deserve to marry Frisbee, but he subdues her protests with kisses.