Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Another not-entirely-accurate musical biopic

Having just mentioned Night and Day, I see that the Fox Movie Channel is showing one of its own biopics about a composer: Stars and Stripes Forever, at 7:30 AM on August 19.

Clifton Webb stars as John Philip Sousa, the musical director for the Marine Corps Marching Band, who left in order to focus on his composing and starting his own band. Sousa became known as the March King for composing such now-famous marches as the Washington Post March, and Stars and Stripes Forever.

However, one has to wonder just how much of the movie is accurate, and how much is there for Hollywood entertainment purposes. There's a subplot running throughout the movie about a young man (Robert Wagner) who joins the band, and falls in love with singer Debra Paget. Since Wagner's character is supposed to be a Marine, I can't help but wonder whether he could have done all the things he does in this movie. Also, the invention of the sousaphone, a tuba with the piping coiled differently so that one can carry the piping around one's shoulder, was probably not as pat as it's portaryed as being here.

Still, if you like march music, Stars and Stripes Forever is a fun little movie.

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