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Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938)

Approved | | Drama, Music, Musical | 16 August 1938 (USA)
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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.

Director:

Henry King

Writers:

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tyrone Power ... Alexander (Roger Grant)
Alice Faye ... Stella Kirby
Don Ameche ... Charlie Dwyer
Ethel Merman ... Jerry Allen
Jack Haley ... Davey Lane
Jean Hersholt ... Professor Heinrich
Helen Westley ... Aunt Sophie
John Carradine ... Taxi Driver
Paul Hurst ... Bill Mulligan
Wally Vernon ... Wally Vernon
Ruth Terry ... Ruby
Douglas Fowley ... Snapper
Chick Chandler ... Louie
Eddie Collins Eddie Collins ... Corporal Collins
Joseph Crehan ... Stage Manager
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

An American Cavalcade! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 August 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Irving Berlin's Alexander's Ragtime Band See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

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

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA High Fidelity Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After the preview in Los Angeles on 24 May 1938, there were sporadic openings across the United States before the national release on 16 August 1938. Some of these were 5 August in New York City, New York; 11 August in Boston, Massachusetts, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and San Francisco, California; 12 August in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Chicago, Illinois and Dallas, Texas; and 13 August in Cleveland, Ohio. See more »

Goofs

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 »

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 »


Soundtracks

A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody
(1919) (uncredited)
Written by Irving Berlin
Performed by Ethel Merman
See more »

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User Reviews

 
classic entertainment
24 November 2005 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

The last time I saw this movie was probably the late '60s, when I watched it on television with a group of friends. I just saw it again on DVD, and it's as much fun as I remember it. In 108 minutes, I wouldn't be surprised if 90 minutes was music, and what music! One Irving Berlin song after another, sung by either Alice Faye, Don Ameche, Ethel Merman, or Jack Haley. A young Merman, with a sexy figure, really pops in this film with her exciting belt voice.

A thinnish plot surrounds the songs. It's the story of a classical musician (Tyrone Power) who forms a swing band and, because of the song "Alexander's Ragtime Band" takes the name Alexander for himself and the Ragtime Band for his group. The movie takes us loving, losing, and playing music through World War I and into the swing era, though there's not a gray hair to be found among our heroes.

Ameche and Power were friends before either one of them was signed by 20th Century Fox, and with Faye, they made "In Old Chicago" together plus this film - and both Faye/Ameche and Faye/Power made other films together as well. The three work very well as an ensemble. Faye is especially lovely in this. She sings in a commanding contralto, wears some great fashions, and is appropriately feisty, low-class, or classy as the part demands.

As lovely as she was, though, she's no competition for the most gorgeous one in the movie, Tyrone Power. He's pretty darn breathtaking in that tuxedo of his. He could have conducted me anywhere.

Monumentally entertaining music and plenty of eye candy - highly recommended.


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