7.3/10
649
20 user 9 critic

Stars and Stripes Forever (1952)

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.

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Writers:

(book), (story) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. See more awards »
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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:
...
Mr. Wells (scenes deleted)
Jack Rice ...
Mr. Jones (scenes deleted)
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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


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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

22 December 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Marcha Triunfal  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Clifton Webb, who had starred in musicals on Broadway, had been offered the chance to appear with Fred Astaire in the MGM musical The Band Wagon (1953)--which is now considered one of the classics of the era--but passed it up to be in this film because his role of John Philip Sousa was the lead in that film, whereas he would have only played a supporting role to Astaire in "The Band Wagon". 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

The Sidewalks of New York
(uncredited)
Music by Charles Lawlor
Played as the intro to the "Springtime in New York" number
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Stars &Stripes Forever-Sempar Fidelis ***1/2
4 July 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This picture is always a sempar fidelis-It's always faithful when viewing. It is certainly a rousing tribute to the march king-John Philip Sousa.

The film takes us from the career of Sousa is the Marine Marching band to life afterward. Interesting that he served 5 presidents during his tenure with the marines.

Robert Wagner and Debra Paget play the couple who worked with Sousa in his band and married. The film briefly relates how they thought they'd keep their marriage a secret from Sousa. Wagner made his film debut the same year as this film in the other rousing "With A Song in My Heart." He certainly got experience with crutches in both films. Paget, will forever be remembered as Lilia, the water-girl in the epic "The 10 Commandments." Ironically, her name in this film was Lily as well.

The music was excellently staged and Clifton Webb was in fine form as Sousa. Why? It always seemed that Webb, a fine actor, was always a perfectionist in his films. This film was certainly no exception.

Again, a definitely rousing tribute to a great American. Ruth Hussey, who played Webb's wife in the film, was totally subordinate here. That's how the lifestyle was in the 1890s.


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