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Stars and Stripes Forever
     

Stars and Stripes Forever

5.0 2
Director: Henry Koster

Cast: Clifton Webb, Debra Paget, Robert Wagner

 
Stars and Stripes Forever is the highly fanciful filmed biography of "march king" John Philip Sousa. Clifton Webb does a fine job as Sousa, while Ruth Hussey is equally good in the less-demanding role of Sousa's wife. The problem faced by screenwriter Lamar Trotti (who adapted the film from Sousa's autobiography Marching Along) was that, outside of Sousa

Overview

Stars and Stripes Forever is the highly fanciful filmed biography of "march king" John Philip Sousa. Clifton Webb does a fine job as Sousa, while Ruth Hussey is equally good in the less-demanding role of Sousa's wife. The problem faced by screenwriter Lamar Trotti (who adapted the film from Sousa's autobiography Marching Along) was that, outside of Sousa's early travails in organizing his own band after leaving the Marine Corps, there just wasn't much drama in the great composer's life. Thus, a secondary (and wholly fictional) romance involving young musician Willie (Robert Wagner) and ex-chorus girl Lily (Debra Paget) is given special emphasis. Willie invents the Sousaphone on behalf of his mentor, and upon returning from the Spanish American War minus one of his legs, Willie makes an inspirational solo appearance with the Sousa band. The best scenes include Sousa's ongoing efforts to break free from the "march king" onus and write romantic ballads, and Lily's high-kicking rendition of the music-hall ballad "Father's Got 'Em." When first telecast on NBC's Saturday Night at the Movies in 1962, Stars and Stripes Forever was accompanied by a short newsreel clip of the real John Philip Sousa in action.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Though it falls short of biography -- and what Hollywood biopic doesn't? -- Stars and Stripes Forever succeeds marvelously as a spirited and tuneful musical film. The plots -- one involving both famed composer John Philip Sousa and his wife, the other involving a fictional "young love" couple -- are predictable and, truth be told, fairly trite; but their stories are told with conviction and professionalism. They're also told swiftly, allowing Stars to dispense with them as often as necessary to get to the real business of the film -- Sousa's music, especially his marches. Stars does pay lip service to its subject's oft-stated desire to have his ballads more appreciated, but it's the marches that really make the film come alive, and they're delivered impeccably under musical director Alfred Newman's precise supervision. There are also a couple of non-march numbers that stand out, especially Debra Paget's rollicking, high-energy "Father's Got 'Em." Holding the picture together is Clifton Webb as Sousa; the part doesn't require a tremendous range, but Webb makes an asset of that, enjoying the chance to explore new ways to deliver a wisecrack or to combine bewilderment and disdain in one quick glance. Paget is simply gorgeous and adorable, and Robert Wagner is handsome and engaging; as Sousa's wife, Ruth Hussey has too little to do, but does it so well that she seems to play a much bigger role than she actually does. The costumes are lovely, the color is yummy, and Henry Koster directs as if this were simply the nicest Fourth of July picnic in existence -- which it pretty much is.

Product Details

Release Date:
12/13/2011
UPC:
0024543771838
Original Release:
1952
Rating:
NR
Source:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Sound:
[DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound]
Time:
1:29:00
Sales rank:
3,630

Special Features

Disc 1 - From Our National March To The Silver Screen; John Philip Sousa's Contribution To American Music; Pressbook, Advertising and Still Galleries; Original Theatrical Trailer; ; Disc 2 - DVD; Stars And Stripes Forever; ; Closed Caption

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Clifton Webb John Philip Sousa
Debra Paget Lily
Robert Wagner Willie Little
Ruth Hussey Jennie Sousa
Finlay Currie Col. Randolph
Roy Roberts Maj. Houston
Benay Venuta Mme. Bernsdorff-Mueller
Lester Matthews Mr. Pickering
Maudie Prickett Maid
Erno Verebes Organ Grinder
Richard Garrick Secretary of the Navy
Romo Vincent Music Professor
Florence Shirley Navy Nurse
Delos Jewkes Bass Singer
Norman Leavitt Purvis
Roy Gordon President Benjamin Harrison
Helen Van Tuyl Mrs. Harrison
Walter Woolf King President's Aide
Roger Moore President's Aides
Thomas E. Jackson Senator
Maude Wallace Nora
William Vedder Prof. Estaban
Olan Soule Glove Salesman
Aileen Carlyle Mme. Liebling
Paul Maxey Mr. McCaull
Frank Ferguson Actor
Thomas Brown Henry David Blakely
Jack Rice Actor
Nicholas Koster John Philip Sousa, Jr.

Technical Credits
Henry Koster Director
Alfred Bruzlin Sound/Sound Designer
Claude E. Carpenter Set Decoration/Design
Nick Castle Choreography
James B. Clark Editor
Charles G. Clarke Cinematographer
Eli Dunn Asst. Director
Roger Heman Sound/Sound Designer
Dorothy Jeakins Costumes/Costume Designer
Thomas K. Little Set Decoration/Design
Alfred Newman Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Ben Nye Makeup
Lamar Trotti Producer,Screenwriter
Ernest Vajda Screenwriter
Lyle Wheeler Art Director
Al White Choreography
Joseph C. Wright Art Director

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Stars And Stripes Forever
1. Main Titles/Gloves [:00]
2. Private Little [:00]
3. New Ballad [:00]
4. Concert Invitation [:00]
5. Den of Iniquity [:00]
6. Private Performance [:00]
7. Semper Fidelis [:00]
8. Leaving the Corps [:00]
9. Auditions [:00]
10. Sousa's Band [:00]
11. The March King [:00]
12. Lily Seeks Advice [:00]
13. The Two-Step [:00]
14. Look the Other Way [:00]
15. Southern Hospitality [:00]
16. Battle Hymn of the Republic [:00]
17. A Household Name [:00]
18. When It's Springtime in New York [:00]
19. War [:00]
20. Inspiration [:00]
21. A Letter from Willie [:00]
22. Home From the War [:00]
23. Stars and Stripes Forever [:00]
24. Dedicated to Our Men [:00]

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Stars and Stripes Forever 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is another movie I have liked very much, and am replacing a tape with this Blu-ray. The music of Souza is some of my favorites.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great Movie for your collection of Oldies...Wonderful Cast with Robert Wagner, Debra Paget, Ruth Hussey, and Clifton Webb at his great perfomance of John Phillip Sousa.