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Till the Clouds Roll By (1946)

Passed | | Biography, Musical | 3 January 1947 (USA)
Biography of songwriter, Broadway pioneer, Jerome Kern. Unable to find immediate success in the USA, Kern sought recognition abroad. He journeyed to England where his dreams of success became real and where he met his future wife Eva.

Directors:

Richard Whorf, Vincente Minnelli (uncredited) | 1 more credit »

Writers:

Guy Bolton (story), George Wells (story adaptation) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
June Allyson ... Jane (segment: "Leave It to Jane")
Lucille Bremer ... Sally Hessler
Judy Garland ... Marilyn Miller
Kathryn Grayson ... Magnolia Hawks (segment "Show Boat") / Kathryn Grayson
Van Heflin ... James I. Hessler
Lena Horne ... Julie LaVerne (segment "Show Boat") / Lena Horne
Van Johnson ... Bandleader in Elite Club
Tony Martin ... Gaylord Ravenal (segment "Show Boat") / Tony Martin
Dinah Shore ... Julia Sanderson / Dinah Shore
Frank Sinatra ... Frank Sinatra
Robert Walker ... Jerome Kern
Gower Champion ... Dance Specialty (segment "Roberta")
Cyd Charisse ... Dance Specialty (segment 'Roberta')
Harry Hayden ... Charles Frohman
Paul Langton ... Oscar Hammerstein II
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Storyline

Light bio-pic of American Broadway pioneer Jerome Kern, featuring renditions of the famous songs from his musical plays by contemporary stage artists, including a condensed production of his most famous: 'Showboat'. Written by Stewart M. Clamen <clamen@cs.cmu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The mammoth musical of Jerome Kern's dramatic life story!

Genres:

Biography | Musical

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 January 1947 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Silver Lining See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,841,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$6,724,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Judy Garland sings two numbers in the film: "Look for the Silver Lining" and "Who?". She also sang "Do You Love Me?" but it was cut before release. Her sequences were filmed by her then new husband, Vincente Minnelli. See more »

Goofs

When Kern goes to see Sally at Club Elite in Memphis, he hasn't written Show Boat yet. Therefore, it would be before 1927. However, the song she performs with Van Johnson, "I Won't Dance", wasn't written by Kern until 1935. See more »

Quotes

Jerome Kern: Always the same discouraging answer. The big hits were all English or European, and the local talent didn't stand a chance - Broadway was closed to an American.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Biography: Andy Williams (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Long Ago (and Far Away)
(uncredited)
Lyrics by Ira Gershwin
Music by Jerome Kern
Sung by Kathryn Grayson
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Perfect medication for curing the blues.
1 December 2001 | by mark.waltzSee all my reviews

When MGM in its heyday made so-called biographies of musical figures such as Jerome Kern, Rodger & Hart, and Sigmund Romberg, the story is about as consequential as they were in those early Broadway musicals. So out with the story, and on with the songs.

The film opens with a montage of numbers from "Show Boat"; Kathryn Grayson (who would later be seen in the 1951 film version) sings the role of Magnolia with Tony Martin as Gaylord Ravenal; Their rendition of "Make Believe" is alright; Grayson had a more charismatic partner in the film with Howard Keel; Martin had little screen presence which weakens the duet in spite of his fine voice. Virginia O'Brien sings a sassy "Life Upn the Wicked Stage" in a version I much prefer over the later Marge & Gower Champion version; Lena Horne as Julie beautifully sings "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man", making one wish the studio had cast her in the later version. (Note: Gardner wasn't bad, but Horne would have brought more sympathy and historical significance in the role). Worst of all in this 15-minute montage is Caleb Peterson's off-key rendition of "Old Man River", which is just unbearable to listen to.

Other musical numbers I want to comment on: "Till the Clouds Roll By" with Ray MacDonald is a catchy tune that is well staged and performed. "How'd You Like to Spoon With Me?" is also a catchy English music hall number with the wonderful Angela Lansbury; Set with girls on swings, it is also well staged, and if Lansbury sang the song herself, she did a good job. (Note: She did sound an awful like she did on cast albums of her future Broadway shows). Pregnant with Liza Minnelli at the time, Judy Garland (as Ziegfeld diva Marilyn Miller) is fist seen singing "Look For the Silver Lining" with dirt on her fact and hidden by a pile of dishes. A beautiful song, but not a memorable setting for MGM's most memorable musical diva. Better off for Garland is the circus-set "Sunny" (a true camp-fest) which meshes into the show-stopping "Who?". Garland has a few dramatic sequences here, trying to convince spoiled Lucille Bremer that her songs were taken away from her for the good of the show. Bremer simply pouted and acted like a bad seed; she gave a performance totally lacking sympathy. Hense, when she turns up later singing "I Won't Dance" with Van Johnson, you want him to respond "I didn't ask you".

I won't make any comments about Robert Walker's performance as Jerome Kern; Let's just say he was better than Mickey Rooney as Lorenz Hart in "Words and Music". As Walker's mentor (and bratty Bremer's father), Van Heflin seems to have no reason to be there other than to add a star name. Fortunately, there are enough star performers doing musical numbers to make this interesting. Let me not forget to mention June ("Depends") Allyson singing "Cleopatterer" in a sequence from "Leave It to Jane". Allyson, never a looker, still could sell a song, do a dance, and make the audience cry. Here, she does the first two very well; It's nice to see her in a performance not dependant on manipulating audience sympathy. Add Dinah Shore (briefly) singing "The Last Time I Saw Paris", which leads into a finale badly started out by having Bremer's character, now a star at MGM, singing a tribute to Kern. At least we get to glimpse Grayson, O'Brien, and Horne again before "Ole' Blue Eyes" Frank Sinatra comes on to croon "Old Man River". Skinny enough to where he almost fades into the white background, Sinatra still knows how to deliver a song. This was MGM's big Christmas release for 1946, so you can bet it was major box office. For audiences fighting the post-war blues, it was the perfect remedy. Today, it satisfies, but leaves one hungry for more an hour later.


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