Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938)

Approved   |    |  Drama, Music, Musical

Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938) Poster

This send-up of ragtime song and dance begins in 1915 San Francisco when society boy Roger Grant decides to pursue popular rather than serious music.




  • Alice Faye in Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938)
  • Tyrone Power and Alice Faye in Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938)
  • Tyrone Power and Irving Berlin in Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938)
  • Tyrone Power and Alice Faye in Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938)
  • Don Ameche and Alice Faye in Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938)
  • Tyrone Power and Alice Faye in Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews

24 November 2005 | blanche-2
| classic entertainment
The last time I saw this movie was probably the late '60s, when I watched it on television with a group of friends. I just saw it again on DVD, and it's as much fun as I remember it. In 108 minutes, I wouldn't be surprised if 90 minutes was music, and what music! One Irving Berlin song after another, sung by either Alice Faye, Don Ameche, Ethel Merman, or Jack Haley. A young Merman, with a sexy figure, really pops in this film with her exciting belt voice.

A thinnish plot surrounds the songs. It's the story of a classical musician (Tyrone Power) who forms a swing band and, because of the song "Alexander's Ragtime Band" takes the name Alexander for himself and the Ragtime Band for his group. The movie takes us loving, losing, and playing music through World War I and into the swing era, though there's not a gray hair to be found among our heroes.

Ameche and Power were friends before either one of them was signed by 20th Century Fox, and with Faye, they made "In Old Chicago" together plus this film - and both Faye/Ameche and Faye/Power made other films together as well. The three work very well as an ensemble. Faye is especially lovely in this. She sings in a commanding contralto, wears some great fashions, and is appropriately feisty, low-class, or classy as the part demands.

As lovely as she was, though, she's no competition for the most gorgeous one in the movie, Tyrone Power. He's pretty darn breathtaking in that tuxedo of his. He could have conducted me anywhere.

Monumentally entertaining music and plenty of eye candy - highly recommended.

Critic Reviews

Did You Know?


As Alexander's Ragtime Band becomes very successful in San Francisco they are shown performing at one of the most coveted musical gigs in the city, an establishment called The Cliff House. The Cliff House is an actual restaurant in San Francisco, and it is still in business in the 21st century under the same name. There have been three versions of The Cliff House. The first was a modest structure built in 1863, and was very successful, offering fine dining with splendid views. The establishment was damaged in a shipping accident in 1887, but continued to operate until it burned to the ground on Christmas Day, 1894. It was rebuilt in 1896 in grandiose style, boasting eight stories, four spires, and an observation tower 200 feet above sea level. Unfortunately, this most resplendent version of the restaurant - after surviving the 1906 earthquake - burnt to the foundations in 1907. The establishment was again rebuilt and opened in 1909 with a neoclassical design. The famous exterior was shown in Alexander's Ragtime Band, and the establishment maintains the same neoclassical design into the 21st century.


Jerry Allen: "She started the heat wave / By letting her feet wave"


An on-location establishing shot shows the Cliff House, a famous San Francisco restaurant, sitting on a cliff overlooking Ocean Beach. A 1930's model car drives by in the foreground. However, this scene takes place before World War I in the movie, so the car is about 25 years too early.

Crazy Credits

The music that Tyrone Power "conducts" during the film's opening credits is the song "Marching Along With Time", which was ultimately cut from the film. The song, however, as sung by Ethel Merman, has survived as an outtake and can be seen as an extra feature on the DVD.


This Is the Life
(1914) (uncredited)
Written by
Irving Berlin
Performed by Alice Faye, Wally Vernon (dance and vocal)


Plot Summary


Drama | Music | Musical | Romance

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