The first soundtrack album made for a live-action movie musical is released by MGM Records, 1947. The film was Till the Clouds Roll By, a loose account of the life of composer Jerome Kern and a great excuse for MGM to trot out all their major musical players. Though the cast is littered with greats like Frank Sinatra, Lena Horne, Judy Garland, Angela Lansbury, June Allyson, Tony Martin, Dinah Shore, Van Johnson and Kathryn Grayson, not everyone appeared on the initial recording, which consisted of four 78-rpm records. Lansbury and Johnson went missing, along with Sinatra and Shore, both of whom were under contract to Columbia Records. In later years, the film fell into public domain, and no authorized version of the film’s soundtrack has been released on CD.
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Angela Lansbury is born in London, 1925. In a career spanning eight decades, here what didn’t happen: She did not change her name, as MGM suggested, to Angela Marlow. She did not play Miss Caswell in All About Eve (1950), though she was briefly considered for the role. And she did not play Nurse Ratchett in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), though she was offered the role.
Here’s what did happen: She received an Oscar nomination for Gaslight (1944), her first film, and another for The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945), her third film. She played mothers to men too young to be her actual son—Elvis Presley, ten years her junior, in Blue Hawaii (1961) and Lawrence Harvey, three years her junior, in The Manchurian Candidate (1962). And she balanced a wildly successful stage and television career with memorable performances in The Harvey Girls (1946), The Long, Hot Summer (1958), Death on the Nile (1978) and Beauty and the Beast (1991).
We wish Angela Lansbury a most happy 86th birthday.