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Alexander's Ragtime Band

Source:
Encyclopedia of Popular Music
Author(s):
Colin LarkinColin Larkin

Alexander's Ragtime Band 

Released in 1938, and one of the most entertaining musicals of the decade, this film celebrated the work of one of America’s all-time great songwriters - Irving Berlin. The slight plot concerning the erratic domestic and professional arrangements of band leader Alexander (Tyrone Power) and singer Stella Kirby (Alice Faye), was merely an occasional diversion compared to the continual flow of wonderful songs that effectively traced the evolution of popular song through a period of nearly 30 years. They included ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’, ‘Ragtime Violin’, ‘Everybody’s Doing It’, ‘When The Midnight Choo-Choo Leaves For Alabam’, ‘That International Rag’, ‘For Your Country And My Country’, ‘Oh, How I Hate To Get Up In The Morning’, ‘I Can Always Find A Little Sunshine In The YMCA’, ‘A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody’, ‘Say It With Music’, ‘Everybody Step’, ‘Pack Up Your Sins And Go To The Devil’, ‘All Alone’, ‘What’ll I Do?’, ‘Remember’, ‘Easter Parade’ and ‘Heat Wave’. Don Ameche introduced ‘Now It Can Be Told’, which Berlin wrote especially for the film. Also involved in Kathryn Scola and Lamar Trotti’s screenplay were Ethel Merman, Jack Haley, Jean Hersholt, Dixie Dunbar, Chick Chandler, John Carradine, and a host of others. Photographed in black-and-white, produced by Darryl F. Zanuck and Harry Joe Brown, and directed by Henry King, Alexander’s Ragtime Band was the first in a long and enjoyable series of lavish, all-star musicals produced by 20th Century-Fox.See also Irving Berlin, Alice Faye, Don Ameche, Ethel Merman, Jack Haley.