Till the Clouds Roll By

Till the Clouds Roll By

4.5 2
Director: Richard Whorf

Cast: June Allyson, Robert Walker, Judy Garland


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MGM's Till the Clouds Roll By is the musicalized, and highly fictionalized, life story of beloved composer Jerome Kern, who gave his blessing to the production shortly before his death in 1946. As played by a gray-templed Robert Walker, Kern is a likeable but none too exciting sort who expresses his…  See more details below


MGM's Till the Clouds Roll By is the musicalized, and highly fictionalized, life story of beloved composer Jerome Kern, who gave his blessing to the production shortly before his death in 1946. As played by a gray-templed Robert Walker, Kern is a likeable but none too exciting sort who expresses his emotions through his music. Constructed in the form of an extended flashback, the story proper begins at the turn of the century, as Kern tries to peddle his ditties to disinterested Broadway producers. His efforts to interest impresario Charles Frohman (Harry Hayden) go nowhere because Frohman is convinced that the only good music comes from Europe. Obligingly, Kern moves to London, where he meets and falls in love with his future wife Eva (Dorothy Patrick). On the verge of securing work with Frohman, Kern's hopes are dashed when the producer goes down with the Lusitania in 1915. Fortunately, Kern has developed such powerful U.S. contacts as Victor Herbert (Paul Maxey) and Oscar Hammerstein (Paul Langton), enabling him to find success as the composer of several "intimate" musicals for New York's Princess Theater. The film ends where it begins, with Kern's triumph as composer of the Broadway blockbuster Show Boat. Van Heflin weaves in and out of the proceedings as the obligatory best friend/severest critic, a musical arranger named Jim Hessler (purportedly based on longtime Kern associate Paul Sadler). No one in 1946 really cared about the dramatic passages of Till the Clouds Roll By; the film's biggest drawing card was its lineup of all-star MGM talent, performing Kern's most famous numbers. Judy Garland (as Marilyn Miller) sings "Look for the Silver Lining"; Dinah Shore performs "The Last Time I Saw Paris" before a back-projected "Gay Paree"; Kathryn Grayson does a Rita Hayworth imitation with "Long Ago and Far Away"; Virginia O'Brien deadpans "A Fine Romance"; Tony Martin warbles "All the Things You Are"; June Allyson and Ray McDonald team up for the title number; and Frank Sinatra, incongruously dressed in white tuxedo, runs through "Ol' Man River." In addition, other musical contributions are made by Van Johnson, Angela Lansbury, Cyd Charisse, Gower Champion, and Lucille Bremer (cast as Van Heflin's daughter). The film's high point comes at the very beginning with a Reader's Digest edition of Show Boat, featuring Lena Horne, as Julie (the role she was born to play, but never did again on screen), delivering a powerhouse rendition of "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man." Since lapsing into public domain in 1974, Till the Clouds Roll By has, along with Royal Wedding, become the most readily accessible of all MGM musicals.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Till the Clouds Roll By is useless as biography -- but what else is new where Hollywood and musical biopics are concerned? The problem is that, as with so many other useless musical biographies, it's also of no interest as drama. To fashion the plot of the musical, the creators might as easily have simply written down every clichéd situation they could think of, put them in a fishbowl, and drawn them out to see what order they would put them in. Under the circumstances, it's hard to ask much of the actors; suffice it to say that Robert Walker does the best he can under the circumstances, Lucille Bremer does somewhat less than the best she can, and Van Heflin actually manages to rise above things a bit. Musically, of course, things are much brighter, with some terrific contributions from Judy Garland, Lena Horne, and Dinah Shore (and a much-too-short dance from Cyd Charisse and Gower Champion). Some of the other performers do not fare as well, such as Tony Martin and Kathryn Grayson; while Frank Sinatra certainly sounds good, his interpretation of "Ol' Man River" leaves a lot to be desired. Still, it's hard to beat Jerome Kern's music, even when presented in less-than-perfect circumstances.

Product Details

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Warner Home Video
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Special Features

Closed Caption; New featurettes - Till the Clouds Roll By: Real to Reel; Vintage Fitzpatrick Traveltalk short Glimpes of California; Classic cartoon Henpecked Hoboes; Outtake songs "D'ye Love Me?" and "Music in the Air"; Theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
June Allyson Guest Performer
Robert Walker Jerome Kern
Judy Garland Marilyn Miller
Lucille Bremer Sally
Gower Champion Dance Specialty
Cyd Charisse Dance Specialty
Joan Wells Sally as a girl
Bruce Cowling Steve
Van Heflin James I. Hessler
Paul Langton Oscar Hammerstein II
Dorothy Patrick Mrs. Jerome Kern
Byron Foulger Frohman's Secretary
William Halligan Capt. Andy
Lena Horne Julie
Johnny Johnston Finale
Van Johnson Band Leader
Maurice Kelly Dance Specialties
Angela Lansbury Guest
Tony Martin Revenal
Paul Maxey Victor Herbert
Ray McDonald Guest Performer
Mary Nash Mrs. Muller
Virginia O'Brien Ellie
Caleb Peterson Joe
William "Bill" Phillips Hennessey
Frank Sinatra Finale
Ray Teal Orchestra Conductor
John Alban Actor
Jean Andren Secretary
Stanley Andrews Doctor
Lee Bennett Stage Door Johnnies
Margaret Bert Maid
Wesley Brent Showgirl
Alma Carroll Actor
Lucille Casey Actor
Ann Codee Miss Laroche
James Darrell Actor
Harry Denny Actor
Elspeth Dudgeon Actor
Ralph Dunn Moving Man
Dick Earle Actor
James Finlayson Candy Vendor
William Forrest Motion Picture Director
Sally Forrest Actor
Mary Jane French Actor
Herschel Graham Actor
Kathryn Grayson Magnolia
Charles Griffin Opening Night Critic
Mary Hatcher Chorus Girl
Herbert Heywood Stagehand
Russell Hicks Motion Picture Producer
Reed Howes Actor
Fred Hueston Actor
Lilyan Irene Barmaid
Larry Williams Actor
Thomas Louden Rural Postman
Mickey Malloy Actor
Louis Manley Swivel Chair Lady
Frank McClure Actor
Beryl McCutcheon Actor
Bob McLean Actor
Tony Merlo Actor
Howard Mitchell Detective
George Murray Actor
Robert E. O'Connor Clerk
George Peters Actor
Lee Phelps Actor
Lee Smith Actor
Larry Steers Actor
Tom Stevenson Genius
Irene Vernon Actor
Alice Wallace Actor
Don Wayson Actor
Wilde Twins Specialty
Esther Williams Cameo
Rex Evans Cecil Keller

Technical Credits
Richard Whorf Director
Kay Thompson Arranger
Albert Akst Editor
Robert Alton Choreography
Guy Bolton Screenwriter
Daniel B. Cathcart Art Director
Myles Connolly Screenwriter
Jack Dawn Makeup
Roger Edens Score Composer
George Folsey Cinematographer
Arthur Freed Producer
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Lennie Hayton Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Jean Holloway Screenwriter
Warren Newcombe Special Effects
Richard A. Pefferle Set Decoration/Design
Helen Rose Costumes/Costume Designer
Conrad Salinger Score Composer
Harry Stradling Cinematographer
Irene Valles Costumes/Costume Designer
George Wells Screenwriter
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Till the Clouds Roll By
1. Credits and Foreword [2:39]
2. Cotton Blossom [3:15]
3. Make Believe [4:20]
4. Life Upon the Wicked Stage [2:22]
5. Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man [3:16]
6. Ol' Man River [2:11]
7. Jim and Sally Hessler [5:39]
8. Kahlua [3:00]
9. Think Big [2:45]
10. London Reunion [5:15]
11. How'd You Like to Spoon With Me? [4:03]
12. If I Only Had a Piano [3:45]
13. The Prettiest Girl [3:35]
14. They Didn't Believe Me (1) [4:01]
15. Homeward Bound [4:27]
16. They Didn't Believe Me (2) [2:27]
17. Missing the Boat [3:18]
18. Words From the Dean [1:54]
19. Till the Clouds Roll By [5:08]
20. Happy Couple [3:49]
21. Leave It to Jane... [4:14]
22. Look for the Silver Lining [5:24]
23. Stage-Struck [5:15]
24. Sally's Song [5:37]
25. Sunny [2:19]
26. Who? [2:32]
27. Runaway [3:13]
28. Farewell to a Friend [5:32]
29. Good News, Good Book [3:28]
30. One More Dance [1:32]
31. I Won't Dance [3:48]
32. Bittersweet Reunion [3:10]
33. Just the Beginning [1:51]
34. She Didn't Say Yes... [1:51]
35. The Last Time I Saw Paris [2:59]
36. The Land Where the Good Songs Go... [2:24]
37. Long Ago and Far Away... [3:32]
38. Why Was I Born? [2:00]
39. Ol' Man River [3:12]

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Till the Clouds Roll By 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As a former NY all- state singer, I enjoyed seeing some of the real life of the the scores I sang in Kerome Kearns production songs...Great to see Judy Garland near the apex of her career and to see all the songs he created the scores for .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago