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I happen to be a fan of Doris Day's so I tend to watch anything of hers I can manage to snag on television or rent from the video store. When I saw this, I was not disappointed. It was cute, funny and some of the songs in the movie were great (like Be My Baby Bumblebee..haha). Gordon McRae, as always, has a wonderful voice and it was nice to see him paired up w/ Doris. Billy Gray as Welsey made me chuckle with the turkey scene..and Mary Wickes as Stella the housekeeper even threw in a few lines that made me chuckle as well. I love watching it any time of the year, but it happens to air around the holidays more..which actually appeals to me. It's nice to be able to relate to a movie especially when it is based around the same time of the year that you are experiencing at that moment. If you have a chance to see it, I would definitely recommend it.
I saw this again recently on British TV. It's a great film, with plenty of nostalgia, nice period atmosphere, and the lovely Doris Day. One slight oddity, though: her boy-friend returns from World War 1 in time for Thanksgiving (23rd November?), and says the Germans surrendered the day his unit got to Paris (11th November), so he must have got on a boat back to the States & been demobilised pretty quick to be home in less than 2 weeks (unless it took a year for that to happen!). Nonetheless, I recommend this very much to anyone interested in the Golden Age of American film musicals, the decade from 1945 to 1955, and the wonderful stars who beguiled us with their gentle escapism.
I like this film. It was well done with Doris and Gordon in the lead as small time sweet hearts. I watch this every Christmas! It gets me in the mood for ice-skating! I love the songs. The plot involved a small town family and how the children think their father is having an affair with an actress. The father is the same father in Meet Me In St. Louis. JUST WATCH IT!!!
For about the millionth time and it's right up there with The Sound of Music. I love Doris and I love Gordon. There is such a chemistry between them that shines through on the screen it is remarkable. I really can't decide which is the better of the two, By the light of the silvery moon or On moonlight bay. Sheer brilliance.
On Moonlight Bay proved so popular with audiences looking for
entertainment and tales of what they thought was a simpler era, that By
The Light Of The Silvery Moon was almost demanded to be made. Repeating
their roles from the previous Warner Brothers hit were Doris Day,
Gordon MacRae, Billy Gray, Leon Ames, Rosemary DeCamp and the trenchant
Mary Wickes as the indispensable maid of the Wingfield Family.
The last film was set in 1916-1917 and ended with Gordon MacRae going off to World War I after graduating college with Doris Day promising to wait for him. The armistice has happened and its 1919 and the dough-boys are returning home, in MacRae's case to Indiana.
Of course there are a few bumps in the road including Russell Arms who's been trying to score with Doris while Gordon's away. And a French actress who's taking a lease on a theater that banker Ames's employer has had title defaulted to. Through some dumb errors worthy of an Astaire-Rogers film everyone thinks Ames is stepping out with Maria Palmer playing the actress.
No original songs were written for this film set in 1919. The songs were all in keeping with the period when the Roaring Twenties Jazz Age hadn't taken hold yet. The earliest copyrighted song from the score is Just One Girl which Gordon does with a nice little buck and wing thrown in. It's my favorite number from the film.
If you liked On Moonlight Bay there is no reason you won't like By The Light Of The Silvery Moon. Doris and Gordon certainly made some beautiful music together.
This is the second of two movies about the same characters. Doris Day
and Gordon MacRae play young newlyweds who are separated by WWI in this
turn of the century inspired by the stories of Booth Tarkington. The
story is told from her point of view and her home life with her mother,
father and bratty brother are central to the film. Of the family
members, the most memorable is Billy Gray ("Bud" from FATHER KNOWS
BEST), as he is a terrible little brat that is a lot like Dennis the
Menace and the Problem Child all rolled up into one.
While this film is so similar to the first that you might just mix them up in your mind after you see them, the movies are so pleasant and fun that you really don't mind. A wonderful romantic slice of life movie with a wonderful blend of comedy and heart.
If I have to make a choice between all the movies Doris Day has made, I cannot make that choice. She is my favorite and that is because of my mother. We used to sing several songs in the kitchen doing the dishes, or making food. Lots of my friends who are the same age as me, don't have that feeling with the movies of Doris Day. But when I see those movies, it is making me relaxed, happy or sad sometimes. Most of all I like the way she is singing the songs with such a emotion, you cannot find in every singer. I wish I could sing that way or dance like in Calamity Jane. Unfortunately they don't make that kind of movies anymore, but we have the most of those movies on DVD bought her in The Netherlands. Great singers, great actors, love it
BY THE LIGHT OF THE SILVERY MOON is a continuation of "On Moonlight
Bay", the previous flick featuring DORIS DAY and GORDON MacRAE as
sweethearts during the early 1900s who get to croon some pretty
wonderful songs of that period. It's strictly family stuff, nostalgic
and as prettily pictured as a postcard of an Americana that never
really existed except in Hollywood's imagination and Norman Rockwell
The delightful supporting cast has LEON AMES (who was also Judy Garland's father in MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS), MARY WICKE (as the sharp-tongued housekeeper), ROSEMARY DeCAMP as the patient wife and RUSSELL ARMS as Doris' nerdy other love.
The wholesome story (from a Booth Tarkington tale) has Doris' bratty brother letting his childish imagination running away from him when he suspects his father is having an affair with a French actress.
The skating ring sequence closes the story on a happy note--and after a nice bunch of songs by Day and MacRae (including "Be My Little Baby Bumble-Bee", "If You Were the Only Girl in the World" and "By the Light of the Silvery Moon"), you'll feel yourself back in those innocent times wishing life could imitate the movies.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A turkey named George threatens to steal the scene here in this
Thanksgiving holiday musical which is a follow up to the earlier made
"On Moonlight Bay", based upon Booth Tarkington's Penrod stories,
itself a remake of a few movies which Warner Brothers made in the
1930's. It is also one of those rare movie sequels which is even better
than the original. The film starts off in fine form with that
delightful wisecracker, Mary Wickes, narrating directly to the audience
who everybody is (just in case you forgot or hadn't seen "On Moonlight
Bay"), but telling the audience not to be so nosy when it comes to
revealing her own identity. It's just after the end of the first World
War and soldier Gordon MacRae is on his way back (with a song on the
train of course...) to claim his girl Doris Day from the nerdy neighbor
who safeguarded her while MacRae was away.
Brother Billy Gray is a detective in training trying to save turkey George from the wrath of the Henry VIII like butcher while parents Leon Ames and Rosemary De Camp prepare for their 20th anniversary. A misunderstanding concerning a visiting actress has Day, Gray and Wickes in a tizzy (treating Ames like a pariah rather than a patriarch) and town gossip (started by telegraph office operator Minerva Urecal) is spreading, leading to the ice-skating scene finale where the entire cast joins together in singing the title song.
Innocuous fun, this gives the beloved Wickes one of her best roles and endeared her to audiences even more who had loved her ever since she told Monty Woolley off in "The Man Who Came to Dinner". Day is combination tomboy (initially seen in overalls fixing a car) and lady (she certainly knows how to tone down her feistiness while singing a love song with MacRae), then bombastic in the outrageous on-stage set "King Chantacleer", a campy production number set in a hay-stacked barn with chorus boys dressed up as a variety of foul.
Day and MacRae get to help Wickes and DeCamp prepare for Thanksgiving dinner while singing "Ain't We Got Fun?", giving Wickes an amusing moment where she tangos with MacRae, and MacRae serenades passerbys while singing "Just One Girl", his declaration of love for Ms. Do-Da Day. Another musical highlight is the sappy sweet "Be My Little Baby Bumble Bee", a ditty which may gag some listeners with its hokey lyrics, but is funny and amusing for people who appreciate all styles of music.
Winter never looked so pretty with its Norman Rockwell like photography, and nostalgic viewers may long for a simpler time with sleigh rides, old fashioned Thanksgivings and Ice Skating on ponds with all your neighbors (no matter what their age) on skates. Day and MacRae, in their last screen appearance together, are as classic a screen couple as Fred and Ginger, Howard Keel and Kathryn Grayson and Betty Grable and Dan Dailey, and really should get more credit and appreciation in the historic annals of the movie musical.
I have seen this film along with On Moonlight Bay many times on TV, not when they originally came out in the cinema, I wasn't a big fan of musicals then and I can't say I'm a big fan of Doris Day, but these two films are so uplifting and fun they are excellent to watch. It's something to do with the balance of light drama/comedy to songs, the songs don't intrude and seem to help the plot along. If I had to choose, it would probably be this film out of the two because of the great feel good factor with everyone enjoying themselves at the end out at the pond. My favourite scene is right at the end when Leon Ames seems to be the only one who hasn't got a clue what's going on, and says to his wife ..."and what did you think.... and she's just as puzzled as he his and the music comes up.........
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