Till the Clouds Roll By

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Till The Clouds Roll By
Till The Clouds Roll By.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Richard Whorf
Produced by Arthur Freed
Written by Guy Bolton
Starring Judy Garland
Frank Sinatra
Kathryn Grayson
Robert Walker
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[1]
Box office $6,724,000[1]

Till The Clouds Roll By is a 1946 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 in cameo roles performing Kern's songs. 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.

Perhaps to appeal directly to teen audiences of the day, the film included two versions of "Ol' Man River" - the first a straightforward version sung by African-American actor-singer Caleb Peterson and a black chorus as part of the "Show Boat" medley, and the second a "crooner version" performed by Frank Sinatra (then wildly popular with bobbysoxers), featured as the film's grand finale.

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, had just discovered that she was pregnant. MGM decided that all of Garland's scenes and musical numbers would be directed, supervised, and completed by Minnelli as soon as possible. During this time, Jerome Kern regularly visited the set and was photographed with Minnelli and Garland while they were filming the musical number Who?. Soon after, Kern returned to New York towards the end of October and died in November, 1945. Garland's work on the film was finished by December, 1945.

Famed circus performer Barbette consulted on the creation of the film's circus sequence.[2]

Upon its release in December, 1946, Till The Clouds Roll By received mixed reviews, but was a huge box-office success.

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

Till the Clouds Roll By is one of several MGM musicals (another being Royal Wedding) that lapsed into public domain on their 29th anniversary due to failure to renew the copyright registration.[3] 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.

Till the Clouds Roll By is also credited as 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. 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


The film was a big hit, earning $4,748,000 in the US and Canada and $1,976,000 elsewhere, but because of its high cost the profit was only $732,000.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  2. ^ Thompson, Karen R (2007-04-07). ""Barbette": He started in the circus". Community Impact newspaper. Retrieved 2012-08-09. 
  3. ^ 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. doi:10.2979/FIL.2007.19.2.125. ISSN 0892-2160. JSTOR 25165419. OCLC 15122313. 

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