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Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938)

Approved | | Drama, Musical, Romance | 16 August 1938 (USA)
3:42 | Trailer

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This send-up of ragtime song and dance begins in 1915 San Francisco when society boy Roger Grant decides to pursue popular rather than serious music.



(screen play), (screen play) | 1 more credit »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Davey Lane
Professor Heinrich
Aunt Sophie
Taxi Driver
Bill Mulligan
Wally Vernon
Eddie Collins ...
Corporal Collins
Stage Manager


Roger Grant, a classical violinist, disappoints his family and teacher when he organizes a jazz band, but he and the band become successful. Roger falls in love with his singer Stella, but his reluctance to lose her leads him to thwart her efforts to become a solo star. When the World War separates them in 1917, Stella marries Roger's best friend Charlie. Roger comes home after the war and an important concert at Carnegie Hall brings the corners of the romantic triangle together. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


An American Cavalcade!


Drama | Musical | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

16 August 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Irving Berlin's Alexander's Ragtime Band  »


Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA High Fidelity Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


This was the first of several 'cavalcade' films built around the song catalogue of Irving Berlin. Nearly every one of the tunes would be reprised later in either Blue Skies (1946), Easter Parade (1948), There's No Business Like Show Business (1954) or White Christmas (1954), as opposed to resurrecting many of the other Berlin tunes that had not been heard for decades. See more »


Alexander returns from World War I after it ended, which occurred in late 1918. Even allowing for a year or two's delay, the women he meets upon his return are wearing clothing from the wrong era - they are immediately dressed in late 1930s fashions (appropriate for the year the film was released) instead of the lower hemlines and low (close to the face) hat styles of the early '20s. Hemlines didn't rise to just below the knee until the mid '20s, and women's body silhouettes were mannish, with the bust and waistline de-emphasized, unlike the fitted suit worn by Alice Faye when she sees Alexander upon his return. See more »


Stella's Sailor freind: So, did you ever learn long division?
Stella Kirby: I never even learned short division!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The music that Tyrone Power "conducts" during the film's opening credits is the song "Marching Along With Time", which was ultimately cut from the film. The song, however, as sung by Ethel Merman, has survived as an outtake and can be seen as an extra feature on the DVD. See more »


Featured in Great Performances: The Great American Songbook (2003) See more »


In My Harem
(1913) (uncredited)
Written by Irving Berlin
Sung by Jack Haley
Danced by Jack Haley, Wally Vernon and an unidentified male dancer
(cut from the film release, but the outtake is on the DVD)
See more »

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User Reviews

Great music, perfunctory story
30 March 2003 | by See all my reviews

The main reason to watch this movie is to enjoy the great music of Irving Berlin (né Israel Baline). Anyone who is responsive to good music will enjoy his compositions. The dance numbers are not spectacular but they do add to the music. As for the story, well it's nothing more than to tide the viewer over from song to song. Tyrone Power, Alice Haye and Don Ameche are all more than competent in their roles though they really aren't asked to do too much given the triteness of the plot. They are all very photogenic. A great film for any fan of swing music, 7/10.

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