Alexander's Ragtime Band

1938

Drama / Music / Musical / Romance

45
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 80%
IMDb Rating 6.9 10 1,875

Synopsis


Downloaded times
December 28, 2020

Director

Cast

Jack Haley as Davey Lane
John Carradine as 'Long Jack'
Lon Chaney Jr. as Photographer on Stage
Robert Lowery as Reporter
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
978 MB
1280*720
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
106 min
P/S N/A / N/A
1.77 GB
1920×1080
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
106 min
P/S N/A / N/A

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by bkoganbing 8 / 10 / 10

The First Irving Berlin Songfest

I wouldn't want to put money on it, but I'm willing to say there must be at least 25 Irving Berlin songs in Alexander's Ragtime Band. This was the first of those Irving Berlin extravaganzas where a history of an era was told with his music, the others being Blue Skies and There's No Business Like Show Business. After what happened to his score in Reaching for the Moon, Berlin demanded and got complete control in every film that he wrote or supplied the music for. And you will not hear one note of any other composer's music. Just listen to the background music and you'll see what I'm talking about. The song Alexander's Ragtime Band is considered Berlin's first big popular hit and so a story was constructed around a group of itinerant musicians who when they hire girl singer Alice Faye make a huge hit with the selfsame Alexander's Ragtime Band. So the film is about the lives and loves of Faye, Tyrone Power, Don Ameche, Ethel Merman, Jack Haley, etc. for an over quarter of a century. Except for Power, all these other folks are real talented musically and they contribute vocally with a lot of Irving Berlin old favorites. And Alice Faye and Don Ameche both sang a new tune Berlin wrote for this film, Now It Can Be Told. Faye's version is especially grand, one of her best movie songs. Tyrone Power one of the finest of leading men in old Hollywood was unfortunately not blessed with a singing voice. Just hear him on a few bars of another Irving Berlin song in Second Fiddle and you'll see what I mean. He leads the band and it looks a bit ridiculous for him to be doing that and watching the others perform. This film is the reason I've been long convinced that Darryl F. Zanuck hired John Payne, an actor who looked somewhat like Power and could contribute musically in films with Faye, Betty Grable and the rest of Fox female musical ladies. Of course anyone who really loves Irving Berlin's music will watch this film and won't quibble about Tyrone Power not singing.

Reviewed by blue-7 9 / 10 / 10

DVD COMMENTARY A FEAST OF KNOWLEDGE!

20th Century Fox's 1938 Alexander'S RAGTIME BAND, Number 22 in their "Studio Classics" series, is with the exception of there 1927 SUNRISE (which was offered only as a promotional item), the earliest title to be offered and it turns out to be quite delightful! Like many musicals of the time the story is slight and mainly used to advance the musical portions, but this one boasts a large collection from the pen of one of the best -- IRVING BERLIN! Fox had wanted to do a biography on Irving Berlin -- instead Berlin worked out the story idea of a fictional bandleader ushering in a whole new era of swing music. Berlin worked with Fox during the two year period that was needed to prepare this lavish musical -- and the results are very entertaining as it presents 28 of his most famous songs. Alfred Newman's handling of the music won him a well deserved Oscar. The cast, which includes Tyrone Power, the delightful Alice Faye, Don Ameche, Jack Haley (the Tin Woodman in "The Wizard of Oz") and a young and very attractive looking Ethel Merman, soars under the hand of veteran director, Henry King. There really isn't a "false note" in acting department. Over all the picture rendered on the DVD is quite beautiful (though there are a few side scratches from time to time). The icing on this DVD is found in some marvelous "Extras": First of all there is a very fine A&E Biography, "Alice Faye: The Star Next Door", that gives a wonderful account of this once very popular star. There are dozens of nice clips from her film work at Fox (that make you wish that Fox would put out an Alice Faye Collection of six or so of her films in a package like Universal did with Deanna Durbin). After watching this biography I felt like Miss Faye must have been a very nice person as well as a talented singer and actress. The big surprise is found in the Commentary Track provided by Film Score Restorationist RAY FIOLA. I had the opportunity to meet this gentleman at a Film Score presentation at Brigham Young University. BYU holds the Max Steiner Collection, which includes a large number of phonograph recordings of sound track music that were used for playback as the scores as they were recorded on the sound stages. BYU has issued a series of sound track CD's made from their holdings. Fiola is one of the world experts on preparing these 78rpm records for transferring to CD's. His commentary on this DVD provides a wealth of information about Berlin, his songs and the actors and other behind-the-scenes people who brought ALEXANDER'S RAGTIME BAND to life. He's more informative then a university film class -- and very interesting. This is one of the best of the Fox commentary tracks. Fiola even gives you information on ordering a CD of the ALEXANDER tracks that he worked on. There is even more: How about three deleted scenes -- which means three deleted songs (and they are all very nice to see and hear). Also included are shots of Irving Berlin being interviewed at the London premiere of the film in newsreel footage. All in all, this is a very nice addition to the Fox "Studio Classics" series -- one that is well worth adding to anyones collection who is interested in the history of the movies -- especially the history of film musicals.

Reviewed by lugonian 9 / 10 / 10

Down Melody Lane

ALEXANDER'S RAGTIME BAND (20th Century-Fox, 1938), directed by Henry King, reunites the lead performers of Tyrone Power, Alice Faye and Don Ameche from the blockbuster success of IN OLD CHICAGO (1937) in a musical cavalcade of Irving Berlin songs spanning two decades. One of the first in a long cycle of 20th/Fox musicals focusing on the "as time goes by" theme, keeping the story together through the mixture of old and new song standards. Fox would recycle such stories similar to this over the years, with imitations done by other studios as well, with ALEXANDER'S RAGTIME BAND, the one that started it all, musically ranks one the best of its kind. The story begins in San Francisco's Barbary Coast, circa 1911, where young aristocratic Roger Grant (Tyrone Power) disappoints his strong-willed Aunt Sophie (Helen Westley) and Professor Heinrich (Jean Hersholt) by abandoning classical music for something on a more popular level. Forming a band consisting of Charlie Dwyer (Don Ameche), composer and pianist, and Davey Lane (Jack Haley), a drummer, they go to audition at a bar called Dirty Eddie's. Charlie misplaces their song sheet and at the last minute acquire one belonging to another. They play the new composition of "Alexander's Ragtime Band," but when Stella Kirby (Alice Faye), mixing with some friends, hears her borrowed music being played, she immediately heads towards the platform singing the lyrics. They become an immediate hit and Roger becomes Alexander and his Ragtime Band. In spite of Alexander and Stella constantly bickering and misunderstanding each other, it is Charlie who acts as their referee. As time passes on, Charlie, who now loves Stella, learns, while she sings one of his original compositions, that she really loves Alex. After Stella gets a job offer from Broadway producer Charles Dillingham (Joseph King), she accepts, forgetting about the band. In doing this, Alex and Stella part company, as does Charlie during a heated argument. Charlie marries Stella,and realizing she's still in love with Alex, decides to grant her a divorce for her sake. As for Alex, he prospers with Jerry Allen (Ethel Merman), as his new vocalist, while Stella leaves Dillingham and fades away to obscurity, causing Alex, now world renowned and performing at Carnegie Hall, to wonder whatever became of her.  The motion picture soundtrack is as follows: "Alexander's Ragtime Band" (sung by Alice Faye); "Ragtime Violin" (sung by Jane Jones, Otto Fries and Mel Kalish); "International Rag" (Alice Faye, Jack Haley and Chick Chandler); "Everybody's Doing It" (Alice Faye, Wally Vernon and Dixie Dunbar); "Now It Can Be Told" (Don Ameche); "Now It Can Be Told" (reprize/Alice Faye); "This is the Life" (Wally Vernon); "When the Midnight Choo-Choo Leaves for Alabam'" (Alice Faye); "For Your Country and My Country" (Don Douglas); "In the Y.M.C.A." (The Kings Men); "Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning" (Jack Haley/chorus); "We're on Our Way to France" (sung by soldiers); "Say It With Music" and "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody" and "Blue Skies" (all sung by Ethel Merman); "Blue Skies" (reprize, Alice Faye and Merman); "Pack Up Your Sins and Go to the Devil" (Ethel Merman); "What'll I Do?" (The Kings Men); "My Walking Stick" (Ethel Merman); "Remember?" (Alice Faye); "Everybody Step" (Ethel Merman); "I'm All Alone" (Alice Faye); "Marie" (instrumental); "Easter Parade" (sung by Don Ameche); "Heat Wave" (Ethel Merman, chorus); "Alexander's Ragtime Band" (reprize, Alice Faye). With such an impressive cast headed by the up-and-coming Tyrone Power, who spends more time waving his stick, and in true Hollywood storytelling, arguing and making love with his female vocalist(s), it's easy to see its initial popularity, earning several Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, with the music keeping much the scenario together. A personal favorite of Alice Faye's, it not only allows her to sing one hit song after another, but to challenge herself as both vocalist and actress, whose character starts off as a tough gal sporting flashy clothes and plenty of facial make-up before changing through the passage of time to a more softer persona moderately dressed. While much of the principal players remaining physically the same throughout its 106 minutes of screen time, with the exception of costumes reflecting the changing of times, Don Ameche's only major change is sporting a mustache during the film's second half. At one point in television history, ALEXANDER'S RAGTIME BAND did enjoy frequent revivals until the mid 1970s when some legal entanglement kept it off the TV markets for quite some time. Then in 1991, it was brought back to the airwaves, on commercial television, and notably on cable television's American Movie Classics in 1991-92 before distribution on video cassette in 1992, and later onto DVD, Fox Movie Channel and Turner Classic Movies where it premiered February 11, 2010. In 1997, AMC presented a the well documented special titled "Hidden Hollywood: From the Vaults of 20th Century-Fox" narrated by Joan Collins, presenting musical outtakes, several from ALEXANDER'S RAGTIME BAND, including Ameche's singing "Some Sunny Day," and Merman in fine voice as always singing "Marching Along With Time," the tune that underscores the opening and closing credits. These outtakes are used as added attractions on DVD. Other victims of the editors ax might be those of Jean Hersholt and Helen Westley, whose characters are seen to the limit. Of the supporting players, many are too numerous to pen their individual attention, are Paul Hurst, best known for playing villains or gangster stooges, ideally cast in a sympathetic role as Bill Mulligan, and John Carradine, appearing briefly as a taxi driver and avid fan of Stella Kirby. With Power and Faye constantly settling the score with one another, ALEXANDER'S RAGTIME BAND swings into action hitting many high notes, with much of its melody lingering on. (****)

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