MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 499 this week

Stars and Stripes Forever (1952)

7.3
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.3/10 from 625 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 10 critic

A film biography of the composer John Philip Sousa, from his early days in the Marine Corps Band through the Spanish-American War in 1898.

Director:

Writers:

(book), (story), 1 more credit »
0Check in
0Share...

IMDb Picks: May

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in May, sponsored by COVERGIRL.

Visit the IMDb Picks section

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

list image
a list of 14 titles
created 28 Aug 2011
 
a list of 36 titles
created 08 Feb 2012
 
list image
a list of 173 titles
created 29 Sep 2012
 
a list of 43 titles
created 18 May 2013
 
a list of 45 titles
created 10 months ago
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Stars and Stripes Forever (1952)

Stars and Stripes Forever (1952) on IMDb 7.3/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Stars and Stripes Forever.
Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The "Cheaper by the Dozen" crew is back, sans Clifton Webb. Lillian is struggling to make ends meet without her husband's income, while Anne, Martha, and even Ernestine find romance.

Director: Henry Levin
Stars: Jeanne Crain, Myrna Loy, Debra Paget
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

An American intelligence agent is sent to Tokyo to track down a Communist spy ring.

Director: Richard L. Breen
Stars: Robert Wagner, Joan Collins, Edmond O'Brien
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A parole violator in early 19th Century France is relentlessly pursued and persecuted by an obsessive policeman.

Director: Lewis Milestone
Stars: Michael Rennie, Robert Newton, Debra Paget
Dreamboat (1952)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Thornton Sayre, a respected college professor, is plagued when his old movies are shown on TV and sets out with his daughter to stop it. However, his former co-star is the hostess of the TV show playing his films and she has other plans.

Director: Claude Binyon
Stars: Clifton Webb, Ginger Rogers, Anne Francis
Biography | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

George Gershwin is a driven composer whose need to succeed destroys his relationship with singer Julie Adams and socialite Christine Gilbert.

Director: Irving Rapper
Stars: Robert Alda, Joan Leslie, Alexis Smith
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A young Viking prince strives to become a knight in King Arthur's Court and restore his exiled father to his rightful throne.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: James Mason, Janet Leigh, Robert Wagner
Comedy | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

In 1918 France, Captain Flagg commands a disreputable company of Marines; his new top sergeant is his old friendly enemy, Quirt. The two men become rivals for the favors of fair innkeeper's... See full summary »

Director: John Ford
Stars: James Cagney, Corinne Calvet, Dan Dailey
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Island princess falls for a visiting Frenchman, but her people are against it.

Director: Delmer Daves
Stars: Debra Paget, Louis Jourdan, Jeff Chandler
Biography | History | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Rise, fall and execution of John Brown, fanatic abolitionist.

Director: Charles Marquis Warren
Stars: Raymond Massey, Debra Paget, Jeffrey Hunter
Action | Adventure | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Returning to New Orleans, following four years of army service in Texas in the 1840s, Captain Vance Colby finds his father, a professional gambler, has been killed. The police tell him his ... See full summary »

Director: Henry Levin
Stars: Dale Robertson, Debra Paget, Thomas Gomez
Elopement (1951)
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Industrial designer Howard Osborne (Clifton Webb) wants his daughter Jacqueline (Anne Francis), shortened to Jake by her efficient-minded father, to follow in his footsteps and study abroad... See full summary »

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: Clifton Webb, Anne Francis, Charles Bickford
Adventure | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Time: A.D. 1249. Shalimar, an Egyptian princess, striving to rid her country of its Bedouin conquerors, forms an alliance with Prince Haidi, son of the Caliph of Bagdad. She practices her ... See full summary »

Director: Harmon Jones
Stars: Debra Paget, Jeffrey Hunter, Michael Rennie
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Lily Becker
...
Willie Little
...
Jennie Sousa
...
Col. Randolph
...
Maj. George Porter Houston
Thomas Browne Henry ...
David Blakely (as Tom Browne Henry)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Frank Ferguson ...
Mr. Wells (scenes deleted)
Jack Rice ...
Mr. Jones (scenes deleted)
Edit

Storyline

In the 1890s, Sgt. Major John Philip Sousa, leader of the Marine Corps Band, meets Private Willie Little, inventor of an instrument he calls the Sousaphone...and Little's girlfriend, shapely showgirl Lily. To support his growing family, Sousa leaves the Marines and forms his own band; Willie and Lily go along. Though he'd rather write ballads, Sousa's marches bring him increasing fame; from their debut in 1892 the band is a great success. But Sousa's 'no wives' rule threatens the romance of Willie and Lily...as does the Spanish-American War. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 December 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Marcha Triunfal  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In supplemental material on the DVD they reveal that, while the story for the most part follows Sousa's autobiography, Willy Little and Lilly Becker never existed. They were added by the screen writers to add a little love interest. See more »

Goofs

In the film the famous Sousaphone was invented by Willy Little. In actuality the first sousaphone was developed by James Welsh Pepper in 1893 at the request of John Philip Sousa. See more »

Crazy Credits

During the opening display of 20th Century Fox's logo, Sousa's "Semper Fidelis" was played instead of the usual 20th Century fanfare See more »

Connections

Referenced in Worth Winning (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Light Cavalry Overture
(uncredited)
Music by Franz von Suppé (1866)
Played by Sousa's band at the Chicago World's Fair
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
SOUSA - The musical "spirit" of the United States!
13 October 2001 | by (Illinois) – See all my reviews

Watch this movie to get a historical perspective on some of America's and the World's Best Marching Band Music by John Philip Sousa!

The film is a chronology of snippets about the life of John Philip Sousa, his wife, and two apparently fictional friends written into the movie to have a young romantic sub-plot. All other performers in this film are not interesting enough in character to comment upon. Most of the actors were not even credited in the films running credits.

Clifton Webb (real name: Webb Parmalee Hollenbeck) was 63 years old when this movie was released in 1952. While his written dialog is not all that dramatic, Mr. Webb was a long time actor, singer, dancer, silent screen performer and theater performer before making this picture. Clifton Webb doesn't really have to act in this film. He carries the part of John Philip Sousa by standing straight with a stiff back, wearing many colorful marching band uniforms, looking very snobbishly "British" with a stiff demeanor while putting on the airs of a musical task-master demanding perfection, yet with a silent softness in his heart for the two younger performers, a 22 year old Robert (John) Wagner and the vivacious, effervescent, and energetic 18 year old Debra Paget (real name: Debralee Griffin). Mr. Webb died in 1966 at the age of 77 years old.

Ruth (Carol) Hussy at age 38 years plays Sousa's wife "Jennie" Sousa. Research reveals that Sousa's wife's name was Jane van Middlesworth Bellis whom Sousa met during rehearsals for a stage play she was performing in. They married when he was 25 years old. Ms. Hussy portrays the role of a wife and homemaker who runs the Sousa household and cajoles her husband to be sympathetic to the secret romance of Willie Little and Lily Becker. She is the `binder' of the Sousa household and the `understanding' wife behind the scenes.

Internet research reveals no existence of the two characters, Little and Becker, in real life. A web site of the Dallas Wind Symphony has a listing of every band member who performed in Sousa's Band. The name of Willie Little is not listed among them. The movie explains that Willie Little is a Marine Private who joins the Corps with the desire to perform in Sousa's Band. The Little character comes to Sousa's home, unannounced, with a Sousaphone Little claims to have "invented" and had built for Sousa's march music to make the sound better than a standard tuba which is too brash a sound for a concert hall. Sousa takes a liking to Private Little and takes him into his band. However, Sousa himself gave a personal interview to the Christian Science Monitor on May 30, 1922 and claims that he, Sousa, approached the J.W. Pepper Company in Philadelphia and commissioned the Sousaphone to be made in 1893, one year after Sousa gives up his directorship of the Marine Band.

Debra Paget, best known for her part four years later as the beautiful `Lilia the Water Girl' in the epic The Ten Commandments, gives this film all the levity of young romance and a love tension which the mature Webb-Hussy parts can not produce. It is a pleasure to watch her dance and sing numbers as well as the way she gives Robert Wagner "love kicks" in the shins. At the age of 28 years Ms. Paget married for the third time and quit the motion picture business. A loss to all whom appreciates a beautiful woman!

When the battleship USS Maine is blown up in Havana Harbor on February 15, 1898 Willie Little re-enlists in the Marines and goes off to Cuba to fight in the four month Spanish-American War of 1898. He loses a leg and returns home to his "secret wife" Lily and a seat at a Sousa concert to entertain the hospital patients in Washington, D.C.

Historical data from various web sites highlight that John Philip Sousa was placed into the Marine Corps in 1867 at the age 13 years as an apprentice musician, by his father, John Antonio Sousa, who was a trombonist in the Marine Corps band, because young Sousa wanted to run away to join the circus. Eight years later, Sousa was discharged from the Marines (1875) at the age of 21 years. In the next five years Sousa builds a reputation good enough for the Marines to contact him and offer him the Directorship of the Marine Band. Sousa returns to the Corps and accepts the Directorship in 1880. Sousa is 26 years old and is now being referred to as a Sergeant Major (however his uniforms display no marine enlisted rank) until he departs the Marines at age 38 years (1892) to form his own civilian marching band because he cannot afford to support his family of wife and four children on Marine pay. Real photos of Sousa show him with a thick dark beard, which makes it believable, that the 63-year-old Webb can play the 38-year-old Sousa during the Marine years.

Watch this movie to get a good dose of the famous Sousa marches, Semper Fidelis (1888) the Official Marine Corps Hymn, Washington Post March (1889), and the Stars and Stripes Forever (1896) the Official March of the United States. You will even enjoy the band's playing of the song, Dixie as well as the inspiring gospel choir performing the Battle Hymn of the Republic when Sousa's Band marches into Atlanta after their commission to perform at a convention was canceled. If you like pretty, late-19th Century, dresses and snappy military band uniforms this is a movie to see. No one else could play John Philip Sousa but Clifton Webb. And, next Fourth of July when you see the Boston Pops Playing The Stars and Stripes Forever you will have some historical background into the world of the man who composed this enduring Spirit of America.


15 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
DVD search cont. kdandsb
DVD search kdandsb
If you love Sousa, see the real thing wcrypto
DVD has been released! wcrypto
Discuss Stars and Stripes Forever (1952) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?