Passed | | Biography, Musical
Biography of songwriter and Broadway pioneer, Jerome Kern (Robert Walker). Unable to find immediate success in the U.S., Kern sought recognition abroad. He journeyed to England where his dreams of success became real and where he met his future wife Eva Leale (Dorothy Patrick).
It had long been rumored that Kathryn Grayson vaulted to stardom based on the interest taken in her by a powerful, unnamed MGM executive. This was borne out when Grayson announced her engagement to handsome baritone Johnny Johnston during filming of this movie, in which both singers appeared. Pressured to break the engagement by said executive, Grayson refused, realizing that she was now too bankable a star to be penalized. This was true, so the executive exacted his revenge instead on Johnston, deleting both of his musical numbers ("Dearly Beloved" and "The Song is You") from the release print. Though he had just recently been signed by the studio, Johnston appeared in only one MGM movie, opposite Esther Williams in This Time for Keeps (1947), before he was unceremoniously dropped from MGM's roster. Grayson and Johnston did in fact marry, in 1947, but the union didn't last, and Johnston made only one more appearance of note, in 1951, as the leading man in Broadway's "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn".
Dance Specialty (segment: "Till the Clouds Roll By"):
Oh, the rain comes a pitter, patter, And I'd like to be safe in bed, Skies are weeping, while the world is sleeping, Trouble heaping on our head...
After the Una Trance number, the cover shot of the audience applauding clearly shows one audience member in an aisle seat wearing an Army uniform of World War II vintage, even though the scene was set years before that. It indicates that was taken from stock footage.
[Scrolling Prologue] This story of Jerome Kern is best told in the bars and measures, the quarter notes and grace notes of his own music - - that music that sings so eloquently his love of people, love of country, love of life. We who have sung it and will sing it to our children can only be grateful that he gave his life to music - - and gave that music to us.
On December 27, 1927, the curtain went up on the most exciting night of his life - the opening of his immortal "Show Boat." And there we join him -