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Stars & Stripes Forever Bd + Dvd - Ws Sac [Blu-ray]
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Item Type: DVD Movie
Item Rating: NR
Street Date: 12/13/11
Wide Screen: no
Director Cut: no
Special Edition: no
Foreign Film: no
Full Frame: yes
Packaging: Sleeve Please note: This supplier will be closed on 11/24, 11/25, 12/26, 1/2 for the holidays. The shipping cut off is 12/10 to try and have the products delivered by Christmas.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
One film that fell into this category but not quite was STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER. While featuring some great music, it wasn't the song and dance style seen in most films. Instead this movie was a biographical picture about the life and times of composer John Phillips Sousa, a man whose marches everyone had heard even if they don't recognize the name. Sure you hear it mention every Fourth of July but would you really know the name otherwise?
The film doesn't go back to his birth but to the birth of his music. It opens with Sousa about to retire from the Marines in the hope of beginning his own band in order to make more money. As played by Clifton Webb, Sousa seems pretty stiff but we soon see him open up and become more accessible. Between trying to sing a ballad for his wife he's written hoping to steer clear of marches, she knows he can't sing well and speeds it up showing how this song will be a march as well.
He also opens up when a young protégé named Willie Little (Robert Wagner) invites him to hear his songs played in public. What he doesn't tell Sousa is that it's at a music hall where the crowd is more interested in hearing and seeing the dancing girls. Once he sees the girl Little has brought him to see he stays as well. She later performs a number for Sousa and his wife in their home and while he offers her criticism he takes her on to learn more about performing.
Sousa's career flourishes and his band achieves great success. Throughout the film we are treated to hearing some of his greatest pieces including Semper Fidelis which became the Marine Corps hymn, Washington Post March and of course Stars and Stripes forever. Each song is easily identifiable and you'll love hearing them performed in this film.
The film is much like many bio pics done in that time period, relying less on facts and more on drama and trying to involve viewers in the lives of those on screen. Its not that it twists the facts around or distorts them completely, but to try and compress an entire life into 90 minutes doesn't leave lots of time for details. For instance the invention of the Sousaphone isn't factual here nor is the character of Willie Little. But they do move the story along.
Perhaps I got a bit more enjoyment out of this film having played trombone in band back in high school and having played some of these songs there. Perhaps it's the patriotic feeling that many of Sousa's songs inspire each time they are heard. Or maybe it's just because the film seen here is entertaining without being salacious or sleazy that makes it such a treat.
This new blu-ray edition also includes several items that fans will enjoy. Most are background on the real John Phillips Sousa but also discuss movies in that time period that were made and the music he wrote. These are just extra treats for those who appreciate his contribution to music. All in all this is a great film to add to your collection if you love his music and musical films of the fifties.