The daughter of a struggling musician forms a symphony orchestra made up of his unemployed friends and through persistence, charm and a few misunderstandings, is able to get Leopold ... See full summary »
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 <email@example.com>
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 »
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 »
For viewers who like Irving Berlin music, this is a film to watch. His songs are really the main attraction. But the story, which encompasses a group of musicians and their career changes, has an interesting series of romantic plot twists that is intriguing.
The main character is Roger (Tyrone Power), a man who starts his career in a highbrow musical setting, but changes to more popular ragtime. The story is fictional, but Roger's character arc is inspired by the life of Irving Berlin.
A big-budget film that was in production for almost two years, "Alexander's Ragtime Band" received a huge promotional build-up in 1938. And it was well received by audiences. Sets are lavish. B&W cinematography is competent. Casting and acting are acceptable overall. However, Tyrone Power is the only major actor who lacks musical talent, and it shows. Both Don Ameche and Jack Haley add luster. Alice Faye is adequate.
The film is less constricted by plot than other musicals. But there's still a lot of dialogue. And, except for the title song and a quick version of "Easter Parade", the music is somewhat bland and uninteresting. I would have preferred more evocative music. The film's tone ranges from semi-bawdy to mushy romanticism.
This is a large-scale, Americana period piece film, with an accent on the music of Irving Berlin. It is old fashioned, both in plot and in style. It's technically well made. But to me it's too removed in time from current culture to be anything other than historically quaint.
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