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By the Light of the Silvery Moon

Doris Day and Gordon Macrae

"By the Light of the Silvery Moon" is the tuneful follow-up to the very popular 1951 hit for Warner Brothers, "On Moonlight Bay".
Like its predecessor, it recalls another time and place in America, directly after World War I, bathing it in a nostalgic warmth and glow in stunning technicolor and reassembling most of the cast from the earlier film.
The characters and story are very loosely based on the "Penrod" series of stories written by Booth Tarkington.
Marjorie and Bill, the sweethearts of the piece, are played by Doris Day and Gordon MacRae, in their 5th and final on-screen pairing.
They harmonize beautifully and play their scenes with genuine and totally unaffected warmth and believability. Watching Day, it's easy to see why see held the lofty position within the industry that she held for so long.
Her natural likeability and never cloying manner are soothing and when she sings, as she does frequently, one is transported to a safe and comfortable haven. The songs include the title tune, "If You Were the Only Girl in the World" and "Ain't We Got Fun" to name but a few.
Video clip from the film
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The remaining members of Marjorie's family are back from the earlier effort and seem to be more a family than ever before.
Leon Ames is part bluster/part patriarch, while Rosemary DeCamp, as usual, is better than much of the material Hollywood generally gave her to work with.
Billy Gray is appropriately rowdy but skillfully avoiding the obnoxious elements as Wesley and Mary Wickes, as she is prone to do, shines in every scene she plays, a natural treasure as one of the most unique character actresses in film history.
If you look quickly in the beautifully staged skating sequence near the film's conclusion, you'll spot Merv Griffin talking through a megaphone and urging everyone to skate with their sweetheart.
Doris Day was responsible for getting Griffin a contract at Warners, which launched his career. In 1970, she made her first ever talk show appearance on his program.