Till the Clouds Roll By (1947) - Rotten Tomatoes

Till the Clouds Roll By1947

Till the Clouds Roll By (1947)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Till the Clouds Roll By Photos

Movie Info

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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Kathryn Grayson
as Magnolia Hawks/Herself
June Allyson
as Jane Witherspoon/Lou Ellen Carter
Joan Wells
as Sally as a girl
Judy Garland
as Marilyn Miller
Van Heflin
as James I. Hessler
Paul Langton
as Oscar Hammerstein II
Dorothy Patrick
as Mrs. Jerome Kern
Mary Nash
as Mrs. Muller
Harry Hayden
as Charles Frohman
Paul Maxey
as Victor Herbert
Rex Evans
as Cecil Keller
Dinah Shore
as Julie Sanderson
Van Johnson
as Band Leader
Angela Lansbury
as Guest Performer
Ray McDonald
as Guest Performer
Maurice Kelly
as Dance Specialty
Cyd Charisse
as Dance Specialty
Gower Champion
as Dance Specialty
Ray Teal
as Orchestra Conductor
William Halligan
as Capt. Andy
Tony Martin
as Ravenal
Herschel Graham
as Opening Night Critic
Fred Hueston
as Opening Night Critic
Dick Earle
as Opening Night Critic
Larry Steers
as Opening Night Critic
Reed Howes
as Opening Night Critic
Hazard Newsberry
as Opening Night Critic
Ed Elby
as Opening Night Critic
Lee Smith
as Opening Night Critic
Larry Williams
as Opening Night Critic
James Plato
as Opening Night Critic
Leonard Mellen
as Opening Night Critic
Darrell Roodt
as Opening Night Critic
Tony Merlo
as Opening Night Critic
Charles Madrin
as Opening Night Critic
Charles Griffin
as Opening Night Critic
Byron Foulger
as Frohman's Secretary
Lee Phelps
as Moving Man
Ralph Dunn
as Moving Man
Lucille Casey
as Showgirl
Alice Wallace
as Showgirl
Irene Vernon
as Showgirl
Gloria Joy
as Showgirl
Mickey Malloy
as Showgirl
Alma Carroll
as Showgirl
Wesley Brent
as Showgirl
George Peters
as Stage Door Johnny
Harry Denny
as Stage Door Johnny
Bob McLean
as Stage Door Johnny
Wilde Twins
as Specialty
Frank McClure
as Stage Door Johnny
Fr. George Murray
as Stage Door Johnny
John Alban
as Stage Door Johnny
Lee Bennett Sobel
as Stage Door Johnny
Jean Andren
as Secretary
John Albright
as Call Boy
Herbert Heywood
as Stagehand
Thomas Louden
as Rural Postman
Ann Codee
as Miss Laroche
James Finlayson
as Candy Vendor
Lilyan Irene
as Barmaid
Penny Parker
as Punch and Judy Operator
Russell Hicks
as Motion Picture Producer
William Forrest
as Motion Picture Director
Jim Grey
as Bull Clown
Douglas Wright
as Bull Clown
Louis Manley
as Swivel Chair Lady
Don Wayson
as Detective
Howard Mitchell
as Detective
Sally Forrest
as Chorus Girl
Mary Hatcher
as Chorus Girl
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Critic Reviews for Till the Clouds Roll By

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (1)

OK Jerome Kern musical, with some well done Vincente Minnelli musical numbers added to the mix.

July 18, 2009 | Full Review…

Star-packed MGM musical is more about Jerome Kern's music than Kern himself.

May 25, 2007 | Rating: 4/5

MGM's bland musical biopics about Kern distorts basic facts, and lacks energy and imagination; the only good sequences feature Judy Garland and are staged by then husband Vincente Minnelli.

May 12, 2007 | Rating: C | Full Review…

Flat biopic of Jerome Kern salvaged by some production numbers.

January 29, 2004 | Rating: 3/5

Audience Reviews for Till the Clouds Roll By


the musical numbers, especially Judy's, are good but the story in between is pure corn.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

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