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  • Here's a nice little piece of cheerful entertainment from Warner Bros. with their number one sweetheart, DORIS DAY, doing her best to be a believable tomboy who turns to dresses when she spots the boy next door, GORDON MacRAE. With some perky period songs (it's from a Booth Tarkington story of small-town life in rural America), an ingratiating cast (Rosemary DeCamp and Leon Ames are perfect as the put upon parents), and Billy Gray as a bratty little brother, it's a nice bit of Americana spruced up by picture postcard technicolor.

    Doris Day and Gordon MacRae are clearly too old for the roles they play but here it doesn't seem to matter--their courtship scenes are charming and both display their unique vocal abilities in a number of songs. Especially good is Jack C. Smith as Hubert, Doris' persistent suitor who won't take no for an answer. And Ellen Corby is a delight as a schoolteacher intent on straightening out the misbehaving Billy Gray, who all but walks off with the film as the kid brother from hell.

    Very pleasant family film, very much in the tradition of others like MARGIE, LIFE WITH FATHER and MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, with its own brand of charm. Good light entertainment, the kind of musical not made these days, unpretentious and sometimes wickedly funny. Mary Wickes, as a maid who is constantly dropping the silverware, gives zest to her role as a cook who can make her one-liners sound inspired.
  • I've always had a sneaking suspicion that Jack Warner saw how well MGM did with Two Weeks With Love, a nostalgic gaslight era musical that starred Jane Powell. I'm sure Warner then got the idea to do a musical for his reigning musical star of the moment Doris Day from the same era. And save a whole lot of money because nearly all the material is in the public domain.

    On Moonlight Bay is the title of the film and one of several songs sung by Doris Day, Gordon MacRae, and Gordon's rival for Doris, Jack Smith all from the era before America's entry in World War I. Hollywood has done a lot to glamorize that era of Norman Rockwell and Grant Wood as America likes to see itself. Certainly none of the social problems the USA had in that era seem to intrude on Milbern, Indiana the fictional location Booth Tarkington had for the Winfield and Sherman families whose son and daughter find each other.

    Of course if you paid a ticket to see social problems in a Doris Day film as that other Warner Brother icon would say, what a maroon. Doris as the tomboy first baseman hasn't quite discovered men yet, that is until she almost shoots Gordon MacRae. After that you know how this film will go.

    One original song was done for On Moonlight Bay, the Christmas Story which Doris and Gordon sing with accompanying carolers. It blends nicely in with all the nostalgic material.

    On Moonlight Bay and its sequel film, By The Light Of The Silvery Moon is based on the Booth Tarkington Penrod stories. Billy Gray who later was Bud Anderson in Father Knows Best plays Doris's younger brother Wesley (Penrod). He's one mischievous kid and whatever trouble he doesn't get into here is saved for the next film.

    Doris, Gordon, and Billy all appear in the next film along with her parents Leon Ames and Rosemary DeCamp and maid Mary Wickes who always has a sharp word for the goings on.

    I confess I have a fondness for the songs of this romantic era myself, so I'm prejudiced about On Moonlight Bay. But try it you young folk, you might like it.
  • Though it doesn't match the captivating staging of Vincente Minnelli's Meet Me in St Louis as a nostalgic period musical, both this charmer and its sequel By the Light of the Silvery Moon, based on Booth Tarkington's delightful Penrod stories, are very much in the same mold as the Minnelli classic; both films provide ideal vehicles for the multi-talented Doris Day, seen here at her most fetchingly tomboyish with her frequent on-screen partner at the time, Gordon MacRae. Their combined vocal talents bring genuine class to the turn of the (last) century tunes, providing a veritable cornucopia of some of the era's most recognizable standards. The pair create an easy chemistry mercifully free of the self-conscious projection so prevalent in many contemporary "feel-good" movies. Billy Gray, as Day's younger brother in his pre-Father Knows Best days was a likable and unspoiled child performer, who brought terrific comic timing in the delivery of his misplaced energies. Mary Wickes as the no-nonsense maid who acts as a kind of chorus to the action, is another notable scene-stealer, in a film which like so many of the early Doris Day musicals leaves this viewer with a warm glow.
  • Its not often I give a film 10 of out of 10 but Doris Day movies consistently rate that high for me. If you are in a depressed or foul mood, her smiles, her singing, and the cast members around her always can lift you to another place. This is much like a Technicolor Judy Garland film in a lot of ways, with homespun family values and courting. At first, I had a problem with the leads, who seemed too old, playing teenagers. The actors grow on you, especially Doris. The actor playing her annoying kid brother is terrific. The parents are well portrayed and protective. The housekeeper is a wiley classic. Even the family dog gets in the act in several scenes. I recommend the film heartily especially if you want to smile and sing along. Doris Day is and has always been a national treasure. I am very glad I got a chance to spend the afternoon with her in this film.
  • This is the first of two movies about the same characters. Doris Day and Gordon MacRae play young sweethearts 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. In particular, the portion of the film where he tells a HUGE lie to his school teacher is a riot!

    The romance between the two is sweet, but in trouble because Gordon plays such a stubborn and overly opinionated "modern" man who doesn't believe in old fashioned conventions like marriage! Well, being a Hollywood film, and a very sweet one at that, you KNOW how the film will end. However, the journey there is so pleasant and so well constructed that you really don't mind at all! It's a delight for all.
  • merrywood5 September 2002
    This is a collection of warm, human and often humorous Booth Tarkington stories, strung together, of a perceived or recalled pre-WWI America. It had all happened half a century before this mid-20th Century production. It was, perhaps, the last clarion call of the sweet, sentimental ballad of the turn of the last Century as Rock and Roll was starting to impact as the popular music of the West.

    The production values of this film are strictly 1950s studio. It was shot on tri-exposure Technicolor with the lighting a bit flat but, all in all, a loving tribute to the era complete with many of the top song hits of the time, some that are still celebrated today, in the 21st Century.
  • I was genuinely surprised by how charming and delightful this movie is. It's the movie previous to "By the Light of the Silvery Moon" but that one is not quite up to this. In this film, Doris' boyfriend goes off to WWI and in the next one he comes back, though that's not the major plot. Derived from Booth Tarkington's family stories about a prankish little boy yet modified as a Doris Day vehicle, every scene juggles different elements of character and motive, and much of it is just plain funny. You know how romantic musicals have certain conventions and complications that are supposed to be amusing but are just routine? Well, this actually made me laugh out loud several times. There's one sequence about the father's "drinking problem" that reminded me of a great episode of the "Dobie Gillis" TV show and must have inspired it. About as intelligent and fun as americana gets; they even have a sassy WHITE maid to avoid the racial stereotype.
  • 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.
  • The decade which gave us the First World War seems an unlikely subject for nostalgia. On Moonlight Bay, however, is a film which approaches the 1910s in a sentimental, nostalgic way, trying to persuade us that, whatever was happening on the battlefields of Europe, it was a time of a kinder, gentler America. The film centres upon the Winfield family, prosperous citizens of an unnamed mid-western town, and especially on the romance between their daughter Marjorie and her boyfriend William Sherman.

    William is something of a radical, with advanced views about politics and the institution of marriage, but as he is the sort of well-scrubbed middle-class radical who always wears an impeccably-tied bow-tie and calls his girlfriend's father `sir', we know that in the end he will turn out to be a thoroughly respectable young man, eager to do the right thing by Marjorie and his patriotic duty to his country. (The fact that he has the same name as a famous general is perhaps a giveaway). The film deals with America's involvement in World War One in the traditional flagwaving manner; it was made at a time when the Cold War had recently become a hot war in Korea, so there is an obvious political subtext.

    Set against this romance is a series of sub-plots involving Marjorie's mischievous younger brother Wesley, a sort of American Just William. Wesley is very well played by a young actor named Billy Gray, and his antics provide the film with its most amusing moments.

    The film is a musical, and the songs are pleasant enough, although the tunes are not particularly memorable and the lyrics are clichéd in the best `Moon-in-June' style. The film as a whole, although it has nothing of any depth to say and even the political themes are dealt with rather superficially, makes agreeable entertainment, especially on a wet Sunday afternoon (which is when I saw it on TV). 6/10.
  • I just happened across this one Sunday morning on Turner Classic Movies, and I loved it. What a cast: Doris, Gordon, Billy Gray (of "Father Knows Best"), Ellen Corby (Grandma of "The Waltons"), Mary Wicks (from the "Sister Act" movies) and others who made this a total trip down memory lane. I can hardly wait for the second movie, "By the Light of the Silvery Bay" (1953) to come on!
  • TheLittleSongbird23 December 2010
    Whether you love Doris Day or not, I do always have, On Moonlight Bay is a delightful film that perfectly showcases Day's talents. I agree it is rather slight in the story, but the result is such a charming and very watchable film you don't really mind. Visually, On Moonlight Bay is very elegant, with a warm and cosy feeling thanks to the beautiful cinematography, while the music is superb. Right now, I am actually humming Moonlight Bay, if a film makes me do that that to me is a good thing. The script is very nice and the direction is competent, while the film moves along at a good pace. The performances are fine. Doris brings a fresh and endearing approach to her tomboyish heroine, while underrated Gordon McRae is dashing and Mary Wickes and Rosemary DeCamp are also likable. All in all, delightful and charming, a must see if you love musicals or Doris Day, if you love both this is perfect. 9/10 Bethany Cox
  • I did see this film many years ago but bought it recently as I'm collecting the work of my favourite singer, Gordon MacRae. I'm also a huge fan of Doris Day but none of their five films for Warner Bros have ever had a vocal CD issued. I know originally it was because Doris recorded for Columbia and MacRae for Capitol Records. Maybe someone will eventually because these wonderful duets can only be heard by watching the movies. Even after 60 years, I really enjoyed watching On Moonlight Bay again, having seen it many years ago. OK, it's dated, but as the story takes place in 1917, it's not really important. You have to swallow belief a bit from the start because playing teenagers, Doris is about eight years too old and Gordon ten and there are a couple of things that are not acceptable these days like Gordon's fur coat and giving a multi-function knife to a little boy for a present. Still, they kind of get away with it as they both ooze charm and have those wonderful voices. Great supporting actors, Ellen Corby as the school teacher, Mary Wickes as the maid, Leon Ames and Rosemary DeCamp as the parents, but its little Billy Gray who steals the picture as Doris' little brother. A great family film, in glorious colour, that I'm sure many people would still enjoy watching on a cold Sunday afternoon.
  • Released in 1951, On Moonlight Bay could be dismissed as homespun hokum and homilies. But its gentle humor and its ability to capture an era (in film if not in reality) makes it worthwhile viewing.

    Drawn from the writings of Booth Tarkington and set in Indiana during WWI, the film depicts all-American middle America with a simplicity that only hindsight and Hollywood (and Disney) can achieve. But the songs of that era were innocent and vapid (consider I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles). Thank goodness the film is graced with a talented cast that can rise above it all.

    At this point in their careers, Doris Day and Gordon McCrae were making a name for themselves. Their greatest film successes would follow in a few years. Here we get McCrae jauntily singing light-hearted ditties, not belting out Broadway songs like he would later in Oklahoma and Carousel. He does very well--a perfect complement to Day's lilting vocals.

    The humor fits the story perfectly. It feels like it came from someone's diary.

    Lastly, I found the acting of Billy Gray (who plays younger brother Wesley) to be remarkable for his age. His portrayal is mostly comic, but he brings nuance and complexity in his expressions.

    For a dose of nostalgia and some hummable melodies, I recommend this film to anyone who enjoys kind-hearted entertainment.
  • On Moonlight Bay is directed by Roy Del Ruth and stars Doris Day & Gordon MacRae. It's based loosely on the Penrod stories written by Booth Tarkington.

    1917 and Marjorie Winfield (Day) is a tomboy who moves with her family into a new house in small town Indiana. Here she begins a romance with the boy next door, William Sherman (MacRae) and starts to learn there's more to life than merely playing sports. However, with Marjorie's father less than enamoured with William's ideals in life, the course of true love will struggle to run smooth.

    A pleasing enough period musical propelled by the effervescent Day and some catchy musical tunes. Songs performed include "Till We Meet Again," "Cuddle Up A Little Closer," "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" and the title song. Very much playing up to Day's girl next door persona that would be her career staple, it's the sort of harmless fun that helps to while away the time on a dank afternoon. Tho the ending is never in doubt, it's fun getting there and there's value for money in the acting performances. Yes MacRae is a little too animated at times (isn't he always?) but it fits the material and his play off with Day is an entertaining and winning formula (the principals here would return two years later for a sequel, By the Light of the Silvery Moon). Stand out turn in the support slots comes from Mary Wickes as Stella.

    It's no Meet Me In St. Louis but it's fun enough if viewed as a second cousin to Garland's movie. 6/10
  • I'm not a huge fan of film-musicals and it didn't get better when I saw the "classic" THE WIZARD OF OZ. So my hopes weren't too high for this one too. But I have to admit that I rather enjoyed my first encounter with Doris Day and the rest of the cast of this film. It's not a great or complex story: two people(Day and MacRae) fall in love and have to face the regular difficulties, and that's about it. But there are some colorful characters in there(especially the maid Stella)and the songs are OK too. Not bad after all then. 6/10
  • In this film , Day is paired up with Gordon MacRae, who after looking at the cast list of all the other Doris Day films I recorded, appears to have been paired up with Day multiple times. MacRae reminds me of Richard Long. They look very similar. While handsome, MacRae's looks are very bland. H e doesn't have that extra pizazz that his contemporaries had. I'll have to admit that while his singing voice doesn't irritate me like Howard Keel's does, I find Day's singing much more pleasant to listen to.

    Anyway, I liked the film. It was a very entertaining musical--even though I thought Day seemed a bit too old for this part, but that didn't ruin the enjoyment of the film. Her little brothers were funny. What is with all these films that has the older sibling and the way younger (by at least 10 years) siblings? It seems to be a common characteristic in many of these older films. Rosemary DeCamp and Leon Ames as the parents were effective. They reminded me of Leon Ames and Mary Astor as the parents in Meet Me in St. Louis, except Astor's mother character was a warmer person. I just saw DeCamp in Nora Prentiss and she played a similar character, except a little colder. DeCamp does the cold humorless mother character very well.

    Apparently this film has a sequel... By the Light of the Silvery Moon, which I'll have to watch later.

    I think I still prefer the films from the later part of Day's career, but I'm finding that her early musicals are entertaining and good ways to pass time or serve as background noise when working on other chores.
  • Certainly reminds me of MGM.s prior "Meet Me in St. Louis" in general structure, although I like this better, primarily because of the presence of 12y.o. scene stealer Billy Gray, in his first significant Hollywood film. The official leads: Doris Day and Gordon McRae, were 2 of the top film singers of the time. Although a number of songs are rendered, including the title song, music isn't the primary forte of this film. Rather, comedy and nostalgia are. Leon Ames reprises his role of father of the family, established in "Meet Me in St. Louis", while the quintessential small town mother of films: Rosemary Decamp is the mother of the Winfield family. Billy Gray is a treasure as the bratty little brother of (supposedly)18y.o. Doris. Gordon is the new boy next door(the Winfields having recently moved in), who immediately strikes up a troubled romantic relationship with Doris. They are on again , off again, beaus throughout the film, and through the sequel film: "By the Light of the Silvery Moon". Poor Jack Smith, as Hubert Wakely, is Doris's steady wannabe boyfriend, favored by father Ames, but not by Doris. She tries to tolerate him, after all he is a good piano player and decent singer. However, she being a tomboy, he bores her with his nerdy, high class, persona. Nonetheless, he never gives up hope. ......Doris begins the film as a baseball fanatic, wearing pants and a baseball cap around. But, after she meets Gordon, she changes into a gorgeous pink dress for an outing, and dons makeup. We see a similar transformation from an ultratomboy to a dress-wearing belle in the later "Calamity Jane", except that this transformation occurs late in that film vs. early in this film.....Mary Wickes plays her usual role as the family maid and cook. She has the misfortune of having her tray of china, silver pots and goodies knocked out of her hands 4 times by a swinging kitchen door: twice by Gray and twice by Ames. .....Ellen Corby has the misfortune of being Gray's schoolteacher, he being the class dunce and sleeper.......Esther Dale plays the elderly Aunt Martha, who makes the sage observation that "No man believes in marriage until a woman traps him into it.", in defense of Gordon's statement that he doesn't believe in marriage. Rosemary later agrees. She also gives Gray several 12th birthday presents, including a Swiss army knife, and a big sling shot that used to belong to father Winfield. He eventually makes mischief with both, as Aunt Martha expected. I don't want to spoil any more details. Just, see it if you can. Presently, it comes in a DVD packet with it's sequel: "By the Light of the Silvery Moon", which most people think is just as good. All of the principle players are retained in this sequel, except for John Smith, whose character is renamed as Chester, and played by Russell Arms. Doris and Gordon went on to make several other films together, as well, including "Tea for Two".
  • Despite the Day-MacRae pairing the movie's not exactly a musical, the numbers being few and far between. Instead, the storyline is more like a down-home romantic comedy set in 1917. In fact, young Billy Gray gets as much screen time as Day. That's not to say the results are not generally delightful, especially the first part. But MacRae later disappears for a surprising period, while Day's presence is also intermittent. Somehow I suspect there may be a backstory here, even though the results are consistently entertaining.

    It's a fine cast, Day never fresher nor lovelier, MacRae as handsome as ever, along with stuffy dad Ames and sweet mom DeCamp. And for comedic effect, it's a surprisingly accomplished Gray as the impish son and Wickes as the sarcastic cook. On the other hand, there's tuneful singer Jack Smith in thankless role as nerdy extra man. It appears he's taking up some slack in MacRae's absence. Nonetheless, the pairing of the leads is almost picture perfect.

    The plot has daughter Day falling for unconventional neighbor McRae of whom her conventional banker dad (Ames) disapproves. So how can their true love blossom, especially when her mischievous little brother (Gray) is always up to something amusingly disruptive. Somehow, though, you know things will work out.

    A couple of points to note—catch Mom's pressing Day to enhance her natural attributes with a pair of falsies worn for the big dance. That really surprised me. After all, the 50's were the big airbrushed decade; plus, falsies amount to an ironic comment on the Monroes, Mansfields, and Russells of the decade. Also, having hero MacRae talk down our conventional economy, primarily the role of banks, seems a risky move for the movie's hero in that Cold War period. Then too, unless I missed something, he never recants those sentiments.

    Despite the occasional edginess, it's still a fun film full of candybox colors and the two charming leads. But fans looking for big production numbers may be disappointed.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "On Moonlight Bay" is another home run comedy musical for Warner Brothers with stars Doris Day and Gordon MacRae. In just three years, Day had proved herself a box office draw with her singing and acting. This film opens with Doris as tomboy Marjorie Winfield getting into a baseball game with boys in her new neighborhood. In her first time at bat, she clobbers a triple, and then steals home on the pitcher. Doris Day always had a certain tomboyish-character about her. I think it was part of her screen persona that gave an image of a healthy, robust, energetic and attractive female.

    I don't know if Doris was the actual batter and slider in this film, or if she had a stand-in stunt person. My guess is that Doris did the duty. Later in the film, she fires three straight pitches that knock the bottles off a carnival stand. She also co-starred in another film with baseball – "The Winning Team" the next year. It was a fictionalized biography of the great Grover Cleveland Alexander, one of the best pitchers in baseball history. Ronald Reagan played Alexander in that film.

    In this film, Marjorie soon comes of age and moves into young womanhood when she meets the boy next door, William Sherman, played by MacRae. The film has a wonderful cast all around. Leon Ames is perfect as the father, George Winfield. Longtime comic supporting actress Mary Wickes is Stella, the Winfield's cook and house keeper. Billy Gray is great in the role of Wesley, and the rest of the cast fill out nicely.

    I suspect that Warner's was banking on the success of this film because its ending is an open-end for a sequel – which did come two years later in "By the Light of the Silvery Moon." Day and MacRae are unbeatable as a singing team – the perfect range of voices that complement one another beautifully. We are treated to some great old tunes. Young brother Wesley is the cause of many of the funny situations. And the script has nice funny lines peppered throughout. One of my favorite is when Marjorie is taking dance lessons on the sly while William is away finishing college. Prof. Barson, the dance instructor (played by Sig Arno) wants to teach her the Viennese Waltz, but Marjorie says that she wants to learn the Turkey Trot, so that she can do all the modern dances with William. Prof. Barson says, "Such dances they play now. The Grizzly Bear! The Bunny Hug! The Kangaroo Dip! Am I a dance teacher or an animal trainer?"

    For all of her talent, Doris Day quit making movies after just two decades as a star. She was 44 when here second husband, Martin Melcher died in 1968. She quit Hollywood, but soon found that her husband- manager had lost most of her fortune through bad investments. She won a lawsuit that restored $22 million from one person who had defrauded Melcher. But, she honored a contract Melcher had made for a TV show. She did the Doris Day show for five years.

    During her two decades in Hollywood, Day starred with some of the biggest male stars of the 1950s and 1960s. She received one Academy Award nomination, for "Pillow Talk" in 1959. But she was in films that garnered many nominations and that won a few Oscars for other actors, directors, songwriters and technicians. And, Day could act – well beyond her major fields of music and comedy. She was excellent in two thrillers, "The Man Who Knew Too Much" with James Stewart in 1956; and "Midnight Lace," in 1960 with Rex Harrison. Doris was up for Golden Globe awards a dozen times. She won three as the world film favorite female actress – in 1958, 1960 and 1963.

    This film, and any musical comedy with Doris Day in it, is a sure bet for an evening of family fun and entertainment.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I was hoping for more music, but I very much enjoyed On Moonlight Bay. Doris Day and Gordon Macrae are great together. The young Billy Grey, who plays the younger brother, has wonderful comedic ability. And all the minor parts are performed with love and care - Aunt Martha for instance. I particularly loved the parlour scenes with young ladies and gentlemen being forced to dance with each other, as well as an authentic glimpse as to how young people entertained themselves in those days,-- with the piano, with the gramophone, in a canoe, at a community dance. Every scene was conceived with great care. When the entire graduating class goes off to fight in WW1, the scene is done with a cheerful patriotism, but one can't help feeling the presence of a dark future looming over this Rockwellian town.
  • kenjha12 February 2011
    This musical comedy focuses on the trials and tribulations of a family in a small Indiana town in early 20th century. There isn't much singing. There are only a few short songs that are not bad but not particularly memorable either. In fact, there isn't much of a plot either. It's episodic, playing like a sitcom without a laugh track. This was the third of five films in which Day and MacRae co-starred. They were both around thirty at the time - too old to be believable as teenagers. Ames does a variation of his role in "Meet Me in St. Louis," the classic that this one seems to be patterned after. Wikes is funny as the housekeeper. It's a light and inoffensive little film.
  • As filtered through the scrubbed-clean, sexless mores of the 1950s, Booth Tarkington's "Penrod Stories" proved to be able ground for Warner Bros. in concocting sort of a low-brow variation on "Meet Me in St. Louis", with Doris Day as the small-town Indiana gal finding love with the boy next door (actually, across the street) while her ornery sibling (Billy Gray) causes chaos in the neighborhood. The Americana flavor (circa 1917) is laid-on with a thick coat of glossy color, while Doris twinkles and shines on cue. Warners had an immediate box-office attraction in Day, but too often cast her in bucolic settings (she seemed so much livelier in dressed-up musical comedies). Here, she cements her "wholesome as apple pie" image with smudges of dirt on her face and her hair in pigtails. It doesn't quite wash that leading man Gordon MacRae initially thinks she's a boy, though their sweetheart romance still manages to convey a bit of plastic magic. Followed in 1953 with "By the Light of the Silvery Moon", which was more of the same. **1/2 from ****
  • jboothmillard16 January 2007
    Warning: Spoilers
    I wouldn't call this a musical, but it is certainly a great comedy drama. The main reason I wanted to see this is obviously the enchanting Doris Day as Marjorie 'Marjie' Winfield. Basically she met love interest William 'Bill' Sherman (Gordon MacRae) after only just moving into a house in the small town of Indiana, and they obviously got closer in moments on Moonlight Bay. It is the nice love story almost ruined by inconvenience, including Bill joining the First World War, but more prominently, Marjie's naughty brother Wesley (Billy Gray) causing trouble, arguments and almost no happy endings and dysfunction. Also starring Jack Smith as the annoying piano playing and singing Hubert Wakely, Leon Ames as Banker George 'Father' Winfield (Mr. Winfield), Rosemary DeCamp as Alice 'Mother' Winfield (Mrs. Winfield), Mary Wickes as Stella (Winfields' cook and housekeeper) and Ellen Corby as Miss Mary Stevens (Wesley's schoolteacher). This is where Daffy Duck and Porky Pig (and other Looney Tunes characters) picked up the song. A sequel, By the Light of the Silvery Moon, followed two years later. Doris Day was number 84 on The 100 Greatest Movie Stars. Good!
  • writers_reign16 January 2007
    Warning: Spoilers
    Without checking out reviews of the time it's pure speculation whether this blatant rip-off of Meet Me In St Louis went undetected. It's possible that critics and/or viewers weren't so analytical back then but against that is the fact that less than a decade had passed before the Musical Queen of the Warner lot went up against the ex (just) Musical Queen of MGM. There are clues a plenty; both were based on well-loved reminiscences masquerading as short stories - by Sally Benson and Booth Tarkington respectively; both featured charming (but with a touch of the 'cutes') American families; both were set in the Mid-West, Missouri and Indiana respectively; both featured Leon Ames as Banker patriarch; in both stories the girl of the family falls for the Boy Next Door (who, this time around has relocated to the Boy Across The Street); both families boasted an outspoken maid in the respective shapes of Marjorie Main and Mary Wickes plus a youngest member (Margaret O'Brien, Billy Gray) whose tall stories result in misunderstandings that lead to physical assault. Both even have snowmen for God's sake. In most cases the actors stand up well to their counterparts though Rosemary de Camp in the Mary Astor mother role would perhaps not have been as effective as Astor at playing 'bad' as Astor did in The Maltese Falcon. Mary Wickes has far more warmth and appeal than Marjorie Main, Gordon McCrae could sing better than Tom Drake and Gray had a slight edge on O'Brien. What the latter lacks is Minnelli's eye for color and decor and a score by Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin, relying heavily on tried-and-true numbers from the period (1917 against the 1903 of St Louis). Seen today it's highly watchable and competently done but overall I feel that Meet Me In St Louis would come off best in say another fifty years from now.
  • HotToastyRag5 February 2018
    Get ready for a serious amount of corn and sugar; On Moonlight Bay is ridiculously corny and guaranteed to give you a cavity. Doris Day and Gordon MacRae team up in this Americana flick that tries to be another Meet Me in St. Louis but fails.

    Doris belongs to an all-American family, led by Leon Ames and Rosemary DeCamp. They move to rural Indiana during WWI, but when radical thinker Gordon MacRae starts courting the proper Doris, tensions mount. And by tensions, I mean some heated arguments about morals and values followed by singing and dancing and grins from ear to ear. On Moonlight Bay is one of the silly 1950s flicks that give silly 1950s flicks a bad name. I remember repeatedly leaving the room to get more popcorn without pressing pause. And, unfortunately for Doris Day fans who insist on watching every movie she ever made, Hollywood made a sequel two years later.

    I can't steer you away from this movie if you're determined. You've probably seen thirty or so of her movies and are looking to make it an even thirty-nine. On the off-chance you rented On Moonlight Bay for a different reason, send it back to Netflix and pick something else for the weekend, like The Pajama Game.
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