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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

Lucille Bremer plays Sally, who is supposed to be many years younger than Robert Walker's character Jerome Kern. The actress is actually more than a year older than he. See more »

Goofs

After leaving Club Elite in Memphis, Jerome walks to the Mississippi river docks where he is inspired to write the music for Show Boat. The river in the background is flowing in the wrong direction. See more »

Quotes

James I. Hessler: Don't waste your time fussing with those wheezy little tunes - think big. Try to be somebody.
See more »


Soundtracks

Sunny
(uncredited)
Music by Jerome Kern
Lyrics by Otto A. Harbach and Oscar Hammerstein II
Sung by MGM Chorus, with Judy Garland and stunt double
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fictional Biography of Jerome Kern
12 January 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Back in the day when Hollywood was doing biographical pictures of some of our most famous popular composers, it was generally acknowledged that they were nothing more than an excuse to string musical numbers together. Till the Clouds Roll By is the best example of that tradition.

Jerome Kern wrote some of the best music ever heard in the world. But he was a pretty dull fellow in real life. He married the love of his life, had one daughter and was never linked with any of the famous stars he wrote for.

He actually did have two incidents in real life that would have made great screen drama. He had a heart attack that almost took him in 1938 where he was actually dead for several minutes. Kern always claimed after that any music he did write was due to heavenly intervention.

When he did die in 1945, he collapsed on the street near Carnegie Hall in late 1945. He was back in New York after several years in Hollywood to negotiate with Rodgers&Hammerstein who were going to produce a musical about Annie Oakley. Of course we know who got that assignment eventually.

His wallet must have fallen from his pocket and gotten lifted because Kern remained unidentified for a few days and was in a charity ward at a NYC hospital when he died. Kern in fact died while production plans were being made for Till the Clouds Roll By. Still those two true incidents would have made great cinema.

The film opens with a montage of melodies from Show Boat, his greatest musical success. In fact that whole sequence could have been released as a short subject. The rest of the film is Kern in taxi giving a fictional flashback of his life up to Show Boat which premiered in 1927. We fast forward through the next several years when in fact he wrote his best music for stage and then the screen. And there is a musical finale.

Curiously enough MGM had two guys on their lot at the time who actually had sung Kern songs on the screen, Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, and neither of them got in this film. Kathryn Grayson later did full adaptations of Show Boat and Roberta, but hadn't sung anything of Kern's up to that point. The only one in the cast actually performing a song he actually was identified with was Tony Martin. He sang Make Believe with Grayson during the Show Boat sequence, but also had made a hit record of one of Kern's best songs All the Things You Are which came out in 1939. Martin sang it beautifully during the finale.

You certainly can't complain about the vocalizing here though. With such additional folks as Lena Horne, Van Johnson, June Allyson, and Judy Garland contributing their talents who could complain.

Caleb Peterson who is a black baritone sang Ol Man River in the Show Boat sequence. During the finale, it's sung by Frank Sinatra. Sinatra sings it great, but given the song's identification with Paul Robeson it should have been done by him. Of course Mr. Robeson was having blacklist problems then. Still and all the white suited Sinatra was out of place to say the least.

If you're a fan of Jerome Kern as I am, just put the plot out of your head. Sit back and listen to the music.


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