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Till the Clouds Roll By

Till The Clouds Roll By
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced by Arthur Freed
Written by Guy Bolton
Screenplay by Myles Connolly
Jean Holloway
George Wells
Starring Judy Garland
Frank Sinatra
Kathryn Grayson
Robert Walker
Music by Conrad Salinger
Cinematography George J. Folsey
Edited by Harry Stradling Sr.
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • December 5, 1946 (1946-12-05)
Running time
132 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $3,316,000[2]
Box office $6,724,000[2]

Till The Clouds Roll By is a 1946 Technicolor American musical film made by MGM. The film is a fictionalized biography of composer Jerome Kern (portrayed by Robert Walker) who was originally involved with the production of the film, but died before it was completed. Till the Clouds Roll By contained a large cast of well-known musical stars of the day who appear performing Kern's songs.

Lena Horne sings "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man".


  • Production 1
  • Cast 2
  • Reception 3
  • Soundtrack album 4
  • Songs 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


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.[3]

When the film started production in the fall of 1945, Judy Garland was signed as Broadway singer-dancer Marilyn Miller. Garland, who had just returned to California after a long New York honeymoon with her new husband, director Vincente Minnelli.[1] 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 production, "Arthur Freed lined up one director after another. Busby Berkeley, not the best choice to begin with, lasted only a few weeks. Henry Koster replaced Berkeley, but he contributed little to the film since he was replaced too. Richard Whorf was brought in, and he's the one who received the dubious directorial credit.[1]

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.[4]

Till the Clouds Roll By 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.[5] As such, it is one of the most widely circulated MGM musicals on home video. Warner Home Video gave the film its first fully restored DVD release on April 25, 2006.




Bosley Crowther, reviewing the film for The New York Times, wrote:[6]

"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?"[7]

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.[2]

Soundtrack album

Till the Clouds Roll By was one of the first motion pictures to have a soundtrack album released concurrent with the film arriving in theaters. The soundtrack was produced by MGM Records. The album originally contained four 78-rpm records featuring various artists and songs from the movie and front-cover artwork by Lennie Hayton. Later this album was released on LP.[8]

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.


  • "Cotton Blossom" - MGM Studio Orchestra and Chorus
  • "Where's the Mate for Me" - Tony Martin
  • "Make Believe" - Kathryn Grayson / Tony Martin
  • "Life Upon the Wicked Stage" - Virginia O'Brien / MGM Studio Orchestra and Chorus Girls
  • "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man" - Lena Horne
  • "Ol' Man River" - Caleb Peterson / MGM Studio Orchestra and Chorus
  • "Ka-Lu-a" - MGM Studio Orchestra
  • "How'd You Like to Spoon with Me" - Angela Lansbury / MGM Studio Orchestra and Chorus
  • "They Didn't Believe Me" - Dinah Shore
  • "Till the Clouds Roll By" - June Allyson / Ray McDonald / MGM Studio Orchestra and Chorus
  • "Leave It to Jane" - MGM Studio Orchestra and Chorus / June Allyson / Ray McDonald
  • "Cleopatterer" - June Allyson / Ray McDonald / MGM Studio Orchestra and Chorus
  • "Leave It to Jane" (Reprise) - MGM Studio Orchestra and Chorus / June Allyson / Ray McDonald
  • "Look for the Silver Lining" - Judy Garland
  • "Sunny" - Judy Garland / MGM Studio Orchestra and Chorus
  • "Who?" - Judy Garland / MGM Studio Orchestra and Chorus
  • "One More Dance" - Lucille Bremer (Dubbed by Trudy Erwin)
  • "I Won't Dance" - Van Johnson / Lucille Bremer (dubbed by Trudy Erwin)
  • "She Didn't Say Yes" - Lyn Wilde / Lee Wilde
  • "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" - Cyd Charisse / Gower Champion
  • "The Last Time I Saw Paris" - Dinah Shore
  • "The Land Where the Good Songs Go" - Lucille Bremer (dubbed by Trudy Erwin)
  • "Yesterdays" - MGM Studio Orchestra and Chorus
  • "Long Ago (and Far Away)" - Kathryn Grayson
  • "A Fine Romance" - Virginia O'Brien
  • "All the Things You Are" - Tony Martin
  • "Why Was I Born?" - Lena Horne
  • "Ol' Man River" (Reprise/Finale) - Frank Sinatra / MGM Studio Orchestra and Chorus

See also

Till the Clouds was the first in a series of MGM biopics about Broadway's composers; it was followed by Words and Music (1948, Rodgers and Hart), Three Little Words (1950, Kalmar and Ruby), and Deep in My Heart (1954, Sigmund Romberg).[1]

Till the Clouds is on the list of films in the public domain.


  1. ^ a b c d e  
  2. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  3. ^
  4. ^ Thompson, Karen R (2007-04-07). Barbette": He started in the circus""". Community Impact newspaper. Retrieved 2012-08-09. 
  5. ^ Pierce, David (June 2007). "Forgotten Faces: Why Some of Our Cinema Heritage Is Part of the Public Domain". Film History: an International Journal 19 (2): 125–43.  
  6. ^  
  7. ^ "Review: ‘Till the Clouds Roll by’". Variety. December 1946. Retrieved 2015-03-22. 
  8. ^

External links

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