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Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938)

7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 1,166 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 9 critic

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.

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(screen play), (screen play), 4 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 6 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Alexander (Roger Grant)
...
Stella Kirby
...
...
Jerry Allen
...
Davey Lane
...
Professor Heinrich
Helen Westley ...
Aunt Sophie
...
Taxi Driver
Paul Hurst ...
Bill
Wally Vernon ...
Wally Vernon
Ruth Terry ...
Ruby
...
Snapper
Chick Chandler ...
Louie
Eddie Collins ...
Corporal Collins
Joseph Crehan ...
Stage Manager
Edit

Storyline

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.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

An American Cavalcade!

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 August 1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Irving Berlin's Alexander's Ragtime Band  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA High Fidelity Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While most of the movie is fiction, once incident in the film was taken from Irving Berlin's life. During World War I, Berlin was drafted into the army, and produced a Broadway show called "Yip Yip Yaphank," starring U.S. Army servicemen. Berlin appeared in the show, singing the song, "Oh, How I Hate To Get Up In The Morning" (which Jack Haley performs in this film). At the end of each show, as depicted in the film, Berlin would lead the cast of servicemen down the theater aisle, singing "We're On Our Way To France." The show, "Yip Yip Yaphank," and Irving Berlin's follow-up World War II show, "This Is The Army," were both the subject of the film version of This Is the Army (1943), directed by Michael Curtiz. Berlin himself appears in the later film, singing, "Oh, How I Hate To Get Up In The Morning." See more »

Goofs

An on-location establishing shot shows the Cliff House, a famous San Francisco restaurant, sitting on a cliff overlooking Ocean Beach. A 1930's model car drives by in the foreground. However, this scene takes place before World War I in the movie, so the car is about 25 years too early. See more »

Quotes

Stella Kirby: You haven't left me with a word to say.
Charlie Dwyer: That's good. People talk too much anyway.
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 »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood Hist-o-Rama: Tyrone Power (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

When the Midnight Choo-Choo Leaves for Alabam'
(1912) (uncredited)
Written by Irving Berlin
Performed by Alice Faye
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The First Irving Berlin Songfest
30 September 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

I wouldn't want to put money on it, but I'm willing to say there must be at least 25 Irving Berlin songs in Alexander's Ragtime Band. This was the first of those Irving Berlin extravaganzas where a history of an era was told with his music, the others being Blue Skies and There's No Business Like Show Business.

After what happened to his score in Reaching for the Moon, Berlin demanded and got complete control in every film that he wrote or supplied the music for. And you will not hear one note of any other composer's music. Just listen to the background music and you'll see what I'm talking about.

The song Alexander's Ragtime Band is considered Berlin's first big popular hit and so a story was constructed around a group of itinerant musicians who when they hire girl singer Alice Faye make a huge hit with the selfsame Alexander's Ragtime Band.

So the film is about the lives and loves of Faye, Tyrone Power, Don Ameche, Ethel Merman, Jack Haley, etc. for an over quarter of a century. Except for Power, all these other folks are real talented musically and they contribute vocally with a lot of Irving Berlin old favorites. And Alice Faye and Don Ameche both sang a new tune Berlin wrote for this film, Now It Can Be Told. Faye's version is especially grand, one of her best movie songs.

Tyrone Power one of the finest of leading men in old Hollywood was unfortunately not blessed with a singing voice. Just hear him on a few bars of another Irving Berlin song in Second Fiddle and you'll see what I mean. He leads the band and it looks a bit ridiculous for him to be doing that and watching the others perform.

This film is the reason I've been long convinced that Darryl F. Zanuck hired John Payne, an actor who looked somewhat like Power and could contribute musically in films with Faye, Betty Grable and the rest of Fox female musical ladies.

Of course anyone who really loves Irving Berlin's music will watch this film and won't quibble about Tyrone Power not singing.


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