5.9/10
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Let's Sing a Song About the Moonlight (1948)

Approved | | Short, Music, Musical | 24 January 1948 (USA)

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Four popular songs about moonlight are presented, including their origins and as sing-a-longs. In 1909, songwriter Edward Madden worked as an undercover government agent in New York's rough... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
The Melody Makers ... Themselves (voice)
... Narrator (voice)
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Storyline

Four popular songs about moonlight are presented, including their origins and as sing-a-longs. In 1909, songwriter Edward Madden worked as an undercover government agent in New York's rough and tumble Tenderloin District, which is in stark contrast to his lyrics for "By the Light of the Silvery Moon", the lyrics which were set to music by Gus Edwards. Three years later, Madden would pen the lyrics to what is now the popular barbershop standard "Moonlight Bay". Southerner James Allen Bland wrote many songs depicting the simple life of the south, including "In the Evening By the Moonlight". And an already popular 1908 penned song was made even more famous and popular with the movie of the same name, Shine on Harvest Moon (1944), the title song which was sung by Ann Sheridan and Dennis Morgan portraying the song's writers, Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth. Written by Huggo

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Genres:

Short | Music | Musical

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

24 January 1948 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included on the Warner DVD of On Moonlight Bay (1951) See more »

Quotes

Nora Bayes in Film Clip from 'Shine On, Harvest Moon': [sings] Shine on, shine on, Harvest Moon, up in the sky / I ain't had no loving since January, February, March, April, May, June or July / Snow time, ain't no time to stay outdoors and spoon / So, shine on, shine on, Harvest Moon, for me and my pal.
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Connections

Features Shine on Harvest Moon (1944) See more »

Soundtracks

Memories from Memory Lane
(uncredited)
Performed by The Melody Makers at the beginning
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User Reviews

 
Proto-karaoke fun.
20 November 1999 | by See all my reviews

In the history of cinema, exhibitors have tried many ways to warm up an audience before a film. Nowadays we just get endless ads and trailers, but in the golden days, there were short films, cartoons, information films, short documentaries, news bulletins etc. They usually served the same function as an overture to an opera, but many now are of immense kitsch or nostalgic value.

This short is a fascinating example. I don't know what date it is form (it mentions a 1943 film as past), so I am unable to conjecture as to what its use value was. It's part of a series called Melodies from Memory Lane. Four songs with the word 'moonlight' are sung by barbershop quartets, with hagiographic reconstructions of their genesis. These can be, as one might expect, typically reactionary - one songwriter, an undercover FBI man, lingering in what seems to be an ordinary bar, is said to be seething with discontenet at the seedy environment in which he has to work. The reconstructions are amateurish but sweet.

For me the film's great appeal lies in the gimmick whereby, after the quartet have sung the song, the words appear on the screen, and the audience is encouraged to sing along. If, as I suspect, these are wartime shorts, then the attempt to engender a sense of community is rather crass. But I don't care. I've always found the popular music of the 1940s rather schmaltzy and tacky, especially when compared to the classics of the 20s and 30s, but I had great pleasure belting these songs out, scaring my dogs, and annoying my neighbours. I bet it was as much fun then, and I'd much rather do that today, than suffer another 'wacky' ad for some soft drink.


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