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Stars and Stripes Forever (1952)
Stars and Stripes Forever is a 1952 American biographical film about late 19th/early 20th Century composer John Philip Sousa, played by Clifton Webb. Sousa is best known for his military marches, of which The Stars and Stripes Forever is the best known. While loosely based on Sousa's autobiography Marching Along, the film takes considerable liberties and dramatic license, often expanding and extrapolating on themes and passages in the book. Much of the film is devoted to a romance between fictional characters Willie Little (Robert Wagner), a musician who joins the U.S. Marine Band under Sousa (Clifton Webb), and Lily Becker (Debra Paget), an aspiring concert singer. In the film, Willie is credited with designing the Sousaphone and naming it after his mentor, while in real life, Sousa himself designed the instrument. The film follows Sousa from his days as head of the Marine Band to his leaving the Marine Corps to form his own band in 1892 (taking Willie and Lily with him) and the ups and downs of his band.