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Till the Clouds Roll By

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Budget  2.841 million USD
Country  United States
6.6/10 IMDb

Genre  Biography, Musical
Language  English
Till the Clouds Roll By movie poster

Director  Richard Whorf Busby Berkeley (uncredited) Henry Koster (uncredited)
Release date  December 5, 1946 (1946-12-05)
Writer  Guy Bolton (story), George Wells (story), Myles Connolly (screenplay), Jean Holloway (screenplay)
Directors  Richard Whorf, Vincente Minnelli
Songs  Show Boat Medley / The Touch of Your Hand / Cotton Blossom / Wheres the Mate for Me
Cast  June Allyson (Jane Witherspoon / Lou Ellen Carter), Lucille Bremer (Sally Hessler), Judy Garland (Marilyn Miller), Kathryn Grayson (Magnolia Hawks / Herself), Van Heflin (James I. Hessler), Lena Horne (Julie LaVerne / Herself)
Similar movies  Mulan, Love Me or Leave Me, Mamma Mia!, Dreamgirls, Cry-Baby, J. Edgar
Tagline  The mammoth musical of Jerome Kern's dramatic life story

Till the clouds roll by 1946 by richard whorf

Till The Clouds Roll By is a 1946 Technicolor American musical film made by MGM. It is a fictionalized biopic of composer Jerome Kern, portrayed by Robert Walker. Kern was originally involved with the production of it, but died before it was completed. It has a large cast of well-known musical stars of the day who appear performing Kern's songs. It was the first in a series of MGM biopics about Broadway's composers; it was followed by Words and Music (Rodgers and Hart, 1948), Three Little Words (Kalmar and Ruby, 1950), and Deep in My Heart (Sigmund Romberg, 1954).


Till the Clouds Roll By movie scenes

The film is one of the MGM musicals that lapsed into the public domain on their 28th anniversary, due to MGM failing to renew its copyright.

Till the Clouds Roll By movie scenes

Till the clouds roll by


Till the Clouds Roll By movie scenes

  • Robert Walker as Jerome Kern
  • June Allyson as Herself/Jane in Leave It to Jane
  • Lucille Bremer as Sally Hessler
  • Judy Garland as Marilyn Miller
  • Kathryn Grayson as Magnolia Hawks in Show Boat/Herself
  • Van Heflin as James I. Hessler
  • Lena Horne as Julie LaVerne in Show Boat/Herself
  • Dorothy Patrick as Eva Kern
  • Van Johnson as bandleader in Elite Club
  • Tony Martin as Gaylord Ravenal in Show Boat/Himself
  • Dinah Shore as Herself
  • Frank Sinatra as Himself
  • Gower Champion as Specialty dancer in Roberta
  • Cyd Charisse as Specialty dancer in Roberta
  • Angela Lansbury as London specialty
  • Ray McDonald as Dance Specialty in Oh, Boy! and Leave It to Jane
  • Virginia O'Brien as Ellie Mae in Show Boat/Herself
  • Joan Wells as Young Sally Hessler
  • Harry Hayden as Charles Frohman
  • Paul Langton as Oscar Hammerstein II
  • Paul Maxey as Victor Herbert

  • Till the Clouds Roll By movie scenes

    Cast notes

    Till the Clouds Roll By movie scenes

  • Esther Williams makes a cameo appearance
  • Sally Forrest and Mary Hatcher make appearances as "chorus girls".
  • Kathryn Grayson reprised the role of Magnolia Hawks in MGM's film adaptation of Show Boat, released in 1951.
  • Production

    Till the Clouds Roll By movie scenes

    The working title for the film was "As the Clouds Roll By". Gene Kelly was originally intended to play Kern, with Gloria deHaven, Jacqueline White, Imogene Carpenter, a stage actress, and Jeanette MacDonald in major parts. None appeared in the film.

    The first 15 minutes of the film consist of a condensed adaptation of Act I of Show Boat, with the order of some of the songs shifted - "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" is sung after "Life upon the Wicked Stage", and "Ol' Man River" was used as an Act I Finale, dissimilar to the show. "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" as sung by Lena Horne was filmed, like many of her other musical numbers in MGM films, so that it could be easily eliminated by sensitive Southern distributors.

    When the film started production in the fall of 1945, Judy Garland was signed as Broadway singer-dancer Marilyn Miller, having just returned to California after a long New York honeymoon with her new husband, director Vincente Minnelli. Soon after, Kern returned to New York towards the end of October and died in November 1945.

    During the six months that it took to shoot the film, producer Arthur Freed had to come up with one director after another. Lemuel Ayers, a set designer, was originally scheduled to make his directorial debut on the film, but was replaced by Busby Berkeley late in August 1945. Meanwhile, Minnelli – who, it was rumored at the time, would be taking over the direction of the film – was shooting Garland's sequences even before the beginning of principal photography, as she was pregnant and expected to give birth in March 1946; her shooting was completed on November 8, 1945. By the time full shooting began in the middle of December, Berkeley had been replaced by Henry Koster, who was also replaced after a short period by Richard Whorf. Whorf ended up receiving the onscreen directorial credit. There was a break in production from some time in January 1946 to the middle of March of that year.

    The film includes two versions of "Ol' Man River" - the first sung by Caleb Peterson and an African-American chorus as part of the Show Boat medley, and the second, a "crooner version" by Frank Sinatra, featured as the grand finale.

    Barbette consulted on the creation of the film's circus sequence.

    Surviving Judy Garland song outtake

    A video of an excised musical number survives from this film, although part of the soundtrack has been lost. Judy Garland, as Marilyn Miller, sings "D'Ya Love Me?" to two clowns in a circus setting, representing a scene from the Broadway musical Sunny.

    Soundtrack album

    The film was one of the first motion pictures to have a soundtrack album released concurrent with it arriving in theaters. The soundtrack was produced by MGM Records. It originally contained four 78-rpm records featuring various artists and songs from thegilm and front-cover artwork by Lennie Hayton. Later the album was released on LP.

    No official authorized version has yet been released on CD, but several unauthorized versions have (Rhino Entertainment currently owns the rights to issue an authorized CD of the soundtrack, under license from Turner Entertainment; in the past, MCA Records and Sony Music Entertainment held such rights). This is due to MGM allowing the film to fall into public domain.

    Critical response

    Bosley Crowther, reviewing the film for The New York Times, wrote:

    "Why did Metro...have to cook up a thoroughly phoney yarn about the struggles of a chirpy young composer to carry the lovely songs of Jerry Kern? And why did it have to do it in such a hackneyed and sentimental way as to grate on the sensibilities of even the most affectionately disposed?"

    Variety began its review with a similar sentiment: "Why quibble about the story?"

    Box office

    The film earned $4,748,000 in the US and Canada box office and $1,976,000 elsewhere, but because of its high cost the profit was only $732,000.


    The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

  • 2006: AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals – Nominated
  • Home video

    The film is one of several MGM musicals – another being Royal Wedding – that lapsed into public domain on their 28th anniversary due to failure to renew the copyright registration. As such, it is one of the most widely circulated MGM musicals on home video. Warner Home Video gave it its first fully restored DVD release on April 25, 2006.


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