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Alexander's Ragtime Band
Alexander's Ragtime Band
Actors: Tyrone Power, Alice Faye, Don Ameche, Ethel Merman, Jack Haley
Director: Henry King
Genres: Drama, Kids & Family, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
NR     2004     1hr 46min

Tyrone Power stars in this "must-see" (TV Giude) film as a free thinking classical musician who wants the world to dance to a different beat. Set in the early 1900's this extravaganza of music, story and romance follows th...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Tyrone Power, Alice Faye, Don Ameche, Ethel Merman, Jack Haley
Director: Henry King
Creators: Harry Joe Brown, Darryl F. Zanuck, Irving Berlin, Kathryn Scola, Lamar Trotti, Richard Sherman, Sheridan Gibney
Genres: Drama, Kids & Family, Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Sub-Genres: Love & Romance, Classics, Kids & Family, King, B.B., Musicals
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Format: DVD - Black and White,Full Screen - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 09/07/2004
Original Release Date: 08/19/1938
Theatrical Release Date: 08/19/1938
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 46min
Screens: Black and White,Full Screen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish

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Movie Reviews

Alexander's "Raggedy" Band
J. Michael Click | Fort Worth, Texas United States | 10/02/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Film: ***** Extras: ***** DVD Transfer Quality: BOMB

Another huge disappointment from Fox Home Video. "Alexander's Ragtime Band" was 20th Century-Fox's most prestigious production of 1938, featuring three of the studio's biggest box office draws (Tyrone Power, Alice Faye, and Don Ameche); a marvelous supporting cast led by Ethel Merman, Jean Hersholt, and John Carradine; outstanding direction by veteran Henry King; and a slight but entertaining script that showcased more than two dozen of prolific songwriter Irving Berlin's most beloved melodies. The prototype for the big budget musicals that Fox would perfect in the 1940's, the film was a huge hit with the public and critics alike, garnering six Oscar nominations (including Best Picture) and winning the statuette for Best Music Scoring.

One might think that Fox would take special care in mastering such a revered film for its DVD release - especially when releasing it under the Fox "Studio Classics" banner - but one would be wrong. Although the film's soundtrack has been painstakingly preserved, the visuals are inexcusably shoddy. Specifically, there is a visual noise line that appears in the midst of Chapter 8 (during the song "Now It Can Be Told") and continues to disrupt the picture for the remaining hour or so of the film. This distortion never appeared on the various prints shown on pay cable stations during the past 20 years, and should not appear in a home video release that purports to be "restored".

This major and obnoxious glitch is especially upsetting because the rest of the DVD is so appealing. The extras include 3 rarely seen musical sequences that were deleted from the final cut of the film; the Original Theatrical Trailer; Fox Movietone News footage of the film's British premiere (fascinating to see the English hoopla surrounding this quintessentially American feature); and best of all, the full-length A&E Biography segment, "Alice Faye: The Girl Next Door". If only the film itself were as lovingly presented as the wonderful bonus materials, this would be a must-have DVD. A pity.
Stunning tribute to some of Irving Berlin's very best
Simon Davis | 04/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Alexander's Ragtime Band" is wonderful entertainment in so many different ways and its chief fame rests undoubtedly on the fact that it provided a perfect showcase for almost two dozen Irving Berlin tunes that have gone down into musical history. Who can forget the magical "Blue Skies", and of course the celebrated title tune "Alexander's Ragtime Band". Twentieth Century Fox pulled all the stops out with this 1838 production not only providing Irving Berlin with a stunning showcase for his musical genius but with an opulent no expense spared tribute to the enduring talents of lead performers Tyrone Power and Alice Faye.Tyrone Power has the lead role of Nob Hill raised Roger Grant ne: Alexander, an earnest young conductor in 1911 San Francisco committed to the elevation of swing as a musical force in its own right. The story covers over 3 decades as we see his rise and fall and rise again as his fortunes change with each passing decade. In particular the focus is on his love/hate, on again/off again relationship with the band's lead singer Stella Kirby (Alice Faye)a brassy saloon singer from the Barbary Coast with no refinement but alot of energy and a great talent. Their's is a tumultous relationship which sees them unwillingly thrown together in their work, through a veiled attraction to each other, to separation by war, to Stella developing refinement and then finding fame in New York as a solo singer through to her unhappy marriage to a member of the Band Charlie Dwyer (Dom Ameche in another underrated performance) Of course the resolution at the conclusion is a happy one with the pair being finally reunited in a rousing rendition at Carnegie Hall of, you guessed it "Alexander's Ragtime Band"!Having just previously worked together in Fox's classic "In Old Chicago", Tyrone Power, Alice Faye, and Don Ameche were by this stage a well oiled team of professionals that were as effective in period dramas as they were in this production. Alice Faye in particular has a real showcase in this production with her development from the loud saloon singer into a world acclaimed artist in her own right.Her unusual deep smoky singing style in particular really suits the tunes she performs here. In particular her rendition of "Blue Skies" is unforgettable and really is the most memorable song used here. Tyrone Power was just reaching his peak when "Alexander's Ragtime Band", went into production. His stylish good looks often hide the fact that his was a fine acting talent and he certainly proves it in his playing of the determined young band leader who encounters all kinds of difficulties in his climb to the top in swing. His onscreen chemistry with Don Ameche and with Alice Faye in particular works wonderfully and he would work with her rather sadly only one more time in the next year in "Rose of Washington Square". Also of great interest in this film is a rare early appearance by the legendary Ethel Merman as Jerry Allen who comes in as the replacement singer when Stella leaves the band. Merman was a formidable talent but somehow with the exception of her classic "Call Me Madam", never really became a successful movie actress. Her great stardom came fittingly on Broadway where her name became legend. Merman is best in her musical numbers in this film where her terrific vocal range and delivery are evident. Her rendition of "Blue Skies" is also one of the films show stoppers.The Beauty of "Alexander's Ragtime Band", also lays in the great attention to period detail employed here. Fox went all out as befitted a Darryl F. Zanuck production with lavish sets, stunning costumes and brisk energic direction by the legendary Henry King who always worked so well with Tyrone Power. Indeed the look of this film is really eye stopping and it was Fox's most expensive production that year. All the effort resulted in a stunning six Academy Award nominations including one for Best Picture, it being a rare honour for a musical to be included in that category.For anyone looking for a musical feast for both the ears and the eyes "Alexander's Ragtime Band", is unsurpassed entertainment from the old school of movie making. Knowing that so many of Irving Berlin's signature tunes came from this production certainly reserves it a special place in musical history. For those that love his work, and admire Tyrone Power and Alice Faye at the peak of their success and beauty then you can't go past this film rendition of Irving Berlin's "Alexander's Ragtime Band"."
Great movie - deplorable quality DVD from Fox
tacks31 | San Francisco, CA | 01/21/2005
(1 out of 5 stars)

"Fox Studios obviously took a worn print that was shown 250 times on late night tv and slapped it onto a DVD format. This is a classic film that deserves better. What an absolute disgrace! The execs at Fox should be ashamed of themselves."
Eric | Columbus, OH | 12/13/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)

"I love this movie. Its story is ridiculous. The main characters span 27 years but do not age. The dialogue is corny. But the SONGS, those great Irving Berlin songs, are performed with gusto by Alice Faye, Ethel Merman and many more. Add to that Alfred Newman's great musical direction, and Eddie Powell's orchestration and heaven is at your doorstep.

Unfortunately, this release has a blatant WHITE STRACTCH down the left side of the image for most of the film. It's so distracting it makes it hard to enjoy the film. How could Fox do this, with their prestigious STUDIO CLASSIC series, which also by the way, could use a fresh coat of packaging paint. Their covers are awful.

The commentary by Ray Faiola is fun, the outtakes are fun, and the trailer looks TEN TIMES better than the movie.

C'mon Fox, pay attention and do a better job. This was a Best Picture nominee!"