Alexander's Ragtime Band

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Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938) is a film released by 20th Century Fox that takes its name from the 1911 Irving Berlin (1888–1989) song "Alexander's Ragtime Band" to tell a story of a society boy who scandalizes his family by pursuing a career in... read more

Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938) is a film released by 20th Century Fox that takes its name from the 1911 Irving Berlin (1888–1989) song "Alexander's Ragtime Band" to tell a story of a society boy who scandalizes his family by pursuing a career in ragtime instead of in "serious" music. The film generally traces the history of jazz music from the popularization of Ragtime in the early years of the 20th century to the acceptance of swing as an art form in the late 1930s using music composed by Berlin. The story spans more than two decades from the 1911 release of its name-sake song to some point in time after the 1933 release of "Heat Wave", presumably 1938. It stars Tyrone Power, Alice Faye, Don Ameche, Ethel Merman, Jack Haley and Jean Hersholt. Several actual events in the history of jazz are fictionalized and adapted to the story including the tour of Europe by Original Dixieland Jass Band, the global spread of jazz by U.S. soldiers during World War I, and the 1938 Carnegie Hall performance by The Benny Goodman Orchestra. The story was written by Berlin himself, with Kathryn Scola (1891–1982), Richard Sherman (1905–1962) and Lamar Trotti (1900–1952). It was directed by Henry King (1886–1982). It is believed by some that both the song and the movie were inspired by a real bandleader, Alexander Constantin Jr. of New Orleans (also known as "King" Watzke, and his band, Alexander's Ragtime Band, which was popular c. 1904-11.

Original Release

08/16/1938

US Release

08/16/1938

Cast

Tyrone Power Alexander (Roger Grant) / Alexander - Roger Grant
Alice Faye Stella Kirby
Don Ameche Charlie Dwyer
Ethel Merman Jerry Allen
Jack Haley Davey Lane
Jean Hersholt Professor Heinrich / Prof. Heinrich
Helen Westley Aunt Sophie
John Carradine Taxi Driver / Speakeasy Doorman
Paul Hurst Bill Mulligan
Wally Vernon Wally Vernon
(see additional cast & crew)

Directors

Henry King

Writers

Irving Berlin, Kathryn Scola, Lamar Trotti, Darryl F. Zanuck, Richard Sherman, Sheridan Gibney

Cast

Tyrone Power Alexander (Roger Grant) / Alexander - Roger Grant
Alice Faye Stella Kirby
Don Ameche Charlie Dwyer
Ethel Merman Jerry Allen
Jack Haley Davey Lane
Jean Hersholt Professor Heinrich / Prof. Heinrich
Helen Westley Aunt Sophie
John Carradine Taxi Driver / Speakeasy Doorman
Paul Hurst Bill Mulligan
Wally Vernon Wally Vernon
Ruth Terry Ruby
Douglas Fowley Snapper
Chick Chandler Louie
Eddie Collins Corporal Collins
Joseph Crehan Stage Manager
Charles Williams Agent
Robert Gleckler Eddie
Dixie Dunbar Specialty
Joe King Charles Dillingham
Charles Coleman Head Waiter

Producers

Editors

Barbara McLean

1939 Oscar Best Picture Nominated
1939 Oscar Best Writing, Original Story Nominated
1939 Oscar Best Art Direction Nominated
1939 Oscar Best Film Editing Nominated
1939 Oscar Best Music, Original Song Nominated
1939 Oscar Best Music, Scoring Won
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