Sunday, August 28, 2011

Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938)

Period pieces can be a funny thing when they're from a different period themselves. I didn't realize until about halfway through this one that it begins in 1915. I was clued in after World War I broke out and one of the characters went to fight (well, play in the army band) in Europe.

The story starts simple enough here that I really wasn't expecting much. An up-and-coming band and new-to-town female singer are forced to work together when a club owner insists they are a package deal or no one gets the job. The initial bitter sparks fly, but it then evolves into a more nuanced love triangle between the girl, the band director, and his right-hand man (well, slightly more nuanced - it is still from the 30's). All three have to juggle loyalty, love, and their own personal ambitions.

The band leader is played by Tyrone Power, a very big star at the time who isn't as well known today. His best friend is played by Don Ameche, Oscar winner decades later for Cocoon, and maybe best known (to me at least) as Mortimer Duke from Trading Places.

Overall a pretty good show. The musical numbers don't overstay their welcome and, more often than not, continue to serve the story.

62 to go...

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