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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 »
Reviews
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

Sousa was superstitious and refused to wear a pair of gloves more than once considering it to be bad luck. In the beginning of the film he orders 110 dozen pairs of kid gloves (1320 pairs) at five dollars a pair. That comes to $6,600 at a time when a new car cost about $700 and you could buy a house for around $4000. Some biographical sources attribute his never wearing the same pair of gloves more than once, not so much to superstition, but to the white gloves getting stained easily by the ink of his music scores as he turned the pages and otherwise handled them during his concerts. 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 »

Quotes

Willie Little: I always say a concert sounds better if it's raining.
John Philip Sousa: Well, there may be something to that.
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 Vision of Salome
(uncredited)
Music by J. Bodewalt Lampe (1908)
Played as accompaniment to the "Living Pictures" at the music hall
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A musical biopic that doesn't falsify the man.
22 February 1999 | by piapiaSee all my reviews

I've seen Stars and Stripes Forever after more than forty years. It stands as an agreeable, happy musical, and the only musical biopic that I know, that doesn't falsify the man. The John Philip Sousa of the movie is the real John Philip Sousa. And Clifton Webb gave here his more mature and less hackneyed performance.


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