7.2/10
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22 user 10 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.

Director:

Henry Koster

Writers:

John Philip Sousa (book), Ernest Vajda (story) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Clifton Webb ... John Philip Sousa
Debra Paget ... Lily Becker
Robert Wagner ... Willie Little
Ruth Hussey ... Jennie Sousa
Finlay Currie ... Col. Randolph
Roy Roberts ... Maj. George Porter Houston
Thomas Browne Henry Thomas Browne Henry ... David Blakely (as Tom Browne Henry)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Frank Ferguson ... Mr. Wells (scenes deleted)
Jack Rice 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

Taglines:

Strike up the band! Here comes The Greatest Musical Show on Earth!


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 February 1953 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

John Philip Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

According to Paul Bierley's biography of John Philip Sousa, "John Philip Sousa, American Phenomenon", several musicians who had played under Sousa attended the world premiere of the film but walked out in disgust. See more »

Goofs

Sousa held the rank of Warrant Officer rather than Sergeant Major when he left the Marine Corps in 1892. See more »

Quotes

Jennie Sousa: And as to hearing you sing, my husband would be delighted. Won't you Philip?
John Philip Sousa: If you say so, dear.
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 »

Alternate Versions

Some releases include at the end a clip of the real John Philip Sousa leading the band in one of his famous marches. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Worth Winning (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

A Hot Time in the Old Town
(uncredited)
Music by Theodore A. Metz (1896)
Lyrics by Joe Hayden
Played during the playbill montage
Also played during the "Springtime in New York" number
Sung by a chorus during the end-of-war scene
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Stars &Stripes Forever-Sempar Fidelis ***1/2
4 July 2009 | by edwagreenSee 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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