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On Moonlight Bay (1951)

Approved | | Comedy, Family, Musical | 1951 (UK)
During World War I, a teenage girl begins a romance with a college student, but his unconventional attitudes cause friction with her father.



(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Director: Clarence Brown
Stars: Paul Douglas, Janet Leigh, Keenan Wynn


Complete credited cast:
... Marjorie Winfield
... William Sherman
... Hubert Wakely
... George Winfield
... Alice Winfield (as Rosemary De Camp)
... Stella
... Miss Mary Stevens
... Wesley Winfield
Henry East ... Doughboy by Train
Jeffrey Stevens ... Jim Sherman
Eddie Marr ... Contest Barker


The Winfield family moves into a new house in a small town in Indiana. Tomboy Marjorie Winfield begins a romance with William Sherman who lives across the street. Marjorie has to learn how to dance and act like a proper young lady. Unfortunately William Sherman has unconventional ideas for the time (setting is during W.W.I, but the war does not play a major part for most of the movie). His ideas include not believing in marriage or money, which causes friction with Marjorie's father, who is the local bank vice president. Written by Scott Lane <rslane@ix.netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


With those moonlight bay-bees and bay-eautiful songs! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

1951 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

A la luz de la luna  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)


| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Based on Booth Tarkington's Penrod stories. See more »


Marjorie first hugs Bill at the dance and the powder bursts all over her chest. In the next instant as they begin to dance Marjorie's front is clear of powder. See more »


[first lines]
Mr. Winfield: [to Jim] Hello, what's your name? I guess we're going to be neighbors.
See more »


Referenced in The Majestic (2001) See more »


Oh, You Beautiful Doll
Music by Nat Ayer
Played during the carnival game
Also played in the bar during the silent picture
See more »

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User Reviews

A Pleasant Romp Through A Simple America That Never Was
26 January 2002 | by See all my reviews

I've seen this Doris Day-Gordon Mc Rae film a number of times. Actually I first saw it as a little boy when it premiered in 1951. I thought it was a fairy tale then and I still do now. But it's a delightful fairy tale and last night I shared it with my twelve and a half year old son.

A combination of "Father Knows Best" and "Dennis the Menace" with music, "On Moonlight Bay" gave American audiences during a Cold War and a hot Korean conflict the cinematic equivalent of comfort food. All the characters are witty and caring and there's mischief without mayhem. The only violence is a snowball fight and the sole injury is a twisted ankle. The sweetness of the courting couple is what we all want for ourselves but rarely if ever experience. With the mad senator from Wisconsin searching for communists everywhere, the script allowed its male lead to express extravagantly immature ruminations about the evils of patriotism before he, of course, awakened to his duty. This film is from Warner Brothers, the same folks who gave us the Department of Defense funded "Red Nightmare" with Jack Webb.

I wasn't surprised that my son liked the movie a lot. Even at his age he needs and appreciates a good escape from a world less gorgeously delightful than the screen version. Doris Day is very good although her real age is hard to disguise as she acts the teenager.

They don't make musicals like this any more. They can't. Our sensibilities and experiences demand the exotica of films like "Moulin Rouge." "On Moonlight Bay" is a great trip back to an increasingly questioning and insecure America that could imagine a past as happy as that portrayed in the film. I'll see it again. And again.

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