Directed by Richard Whorf
Produced by Arthur Freed
Written by Guy Bolton
Cast: June Allyson, Lucille Bremer, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Kathryn Grayson, Van Heflin, Lena Horne
Van Johnson, Tony Martin, Dinah Shore, Robert Walker
Cinematography: George J. Folsey
Editing: Harry Stradling Sr.
Released by MGM
Robert Walker, Van Heflin and Lucille Bremer may be the lead actors in this biography of composer Jerome Kern, but it's the guest stars who make the fim a music-lover's delight. Sinatra sings "Ol' Man River," while Judy Garland, Lena Horne, Dinah Shore, Tony Martin, Angela Lansbury and many others tackle gems from the Kern songbook, including an abbreviated staging of Show Boat.
Jerome Kern wrote some 700 songs in his career, among them some of the cornerstones of the Great American Songbook: "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," "A Fine Romance," "The Way You Look Tonight"Â and many more. He worked frequently in Hollywood in the 1930's and 40's and at the time of his death in 1945, MGM was in production on Til the Clouds Roll By, a fictionalized version of Kern's life in which Robert Walker played the composer.The film, though, is remembered less for its biographical elements than for the way MGM assembled a who's who of spectacular musical talent to perform Kern's songs. Lena Horne does a definitive "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man," Dinah Shore performs "The Last Time I Saw Paris," Judy Garland takes three songs, including "Look for the Silver Lining," Cyd Charisse and Gower Champion dance to "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes," and Angela Lansbury does a charming "How'd You Like to Spoon with Me?" Sinatra, standing atop a huge white column, contributes a gentle but dramatic version of Kern's Showboat standard "Ol' Man River."