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Stars and Stripes Forever Details


Stars and Stripes Forever is the highly fanciful filmed biography of "march king" John Philip Sousa. Clifton Webb does a fine job as Sousa, while Ruth Hussey is equally good in the less-demanding role of Sousa's wife. The problem faced by screenwriter Lamar Trotti (who adapted the film from Sousa's autobiography Marching Along) was that, outside of Sousa's early travails in organizing his own band after leaving the Marine Corps, there just wasn't much drama in the great composer's life. Thus, a secondary (and wholly fictional) romance involving young musician Willie (Robert Wagner) and ex-chorus girl Lily (Debra Paget) is given special emphasis. Willie invents the Sousaphone on behalf of his mentor, and upon returning from the Spanish American War minus one of his legs, Willie makes an inspirational solo appearance with the Sousa band. The best scenes include Sousa's ongoing efforts to break free from the "march king" onus and write romantic ballads, and Lily's high-kicking rendition of the music-hall ballad "Father's Got 'Em." When first telecast on NBC's Saturday Night at the Movies in 1962, Stars and Stripes Forever was accompanied by a short newsreel clip of the real John Philip Sousa in action. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

  • Release date:December 22, 1952


Awarded by
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Clifton Webb Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy 1952 Nominee
Hollywood Foreign Press Association Robert Wagner New Star of the Year - Male 1952 Nominee


Clifton Webb
as John Philip Sousa
Debra Paget
as Lily
Robert Wagner
as Willie Little
Ruth Hussey
as Jennie Sousa
Finlay Currie
as Col. Randolph
Roy Roberts
as Maj. Houston
Benay Venuta
as Mme. Bernsdorff-Mueller
Lester Matthews
as Mr. Pickering
Maudie Prickett
as Maid
Erno Verebes
as Organ Grinder
Richard Garrick
as Secretary of the Navy
Romo Vincent
as Music Professor
Norman Leavitt
as Purvis
Roy Gordon
as President Benjamin Harrison
Walter Woolf King
as President's Aide
Maude Wallace
as Nora
William Vedder
as Prof. Estaban
Aileen Carlyle
as Mme. Liebling
Paul Maxey
as Mr. McCaull
Frank Ferguson
Jack Rice
Nicholas Koster
as John Philip Sousa, Jr.


Henry Koster
Lamar Trotti
Lamar Trotti
Ernest Vajda
Charles G. Clarke
Alfred Newman
Musical Direction/Supervision
Alfred Newman
Composer (Music Score)
James B. Clark
Lyle Wheeler
Art Director
Alfred Bruzlin
Sound/Sound Designer
Roger Heman
Sound/Sound Designer
Eli Dunn
First Assistant Director
Nick Castle