By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1953)

101-103 mins | Musical comedy | 2 May 1953

Director:

David Butler

Producer:

William Jacobs

Cinematographer:

Wilfrid M. Cline

Editor:

Irene Morra

Production Designers:

John Beckman, Leo Kuter

Production Company:

Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
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HISTORY

In the opening scene, characters are introduced by Mary Wickes, who portrays the Winfield's maid "Stella." Leo K. Kuter was originally announced as the art director for the film in a Jul 1952 HR news item, but the onscreen credits list John Beckman as the art director. Although Stanley Jones and David Forrest are credited onscreen as sound men, a Jul 1952 HR news item added C. A. Riggs. A Sep 1952 HR news item reported that actor Gordon MacRae's six-year-old daughter Meredith had made her film debut in By the Light of the Silvery Moon . However, her appearance in the film has not been confirmed. According to the film's opening credits, the story for By the Light of the Silvery Moon was suggested by Booth Tarkington's Penrod stories, but the NYT reviewer noted that the film bore little resemblance in plot and mood to the short stories, and also mentioned anachronisms in the dialogue and songs.
       Most of the cast of By the Light of the Silvery Moon also appeared in the 1951 Warner Bros. production On Moonlight Bay , which was directed by Roy Del Ruth, was also based on Tarkington's novels and featured the same central characters (See Entry). For a description of other films based on the Penrod stories, see the entry for Penrod and Sam in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ... More Less

In the opening scene, characters are introduced by Mary Wickes, who portrays the Winfield's maid "Stella." Leo K. Kuter was originally announced as the art director for the film in a Jul 1952 HR news item, but the onscreen credits list John Beckman as the art director. Although Stanley Jones and David Forrest are credited onscreen as sound men, a Jul 1952 HR news item added C. A. Riggs. A Sep 1952 HR news item reported that actor Gordon MacRae's six-year-old daughter Meredith had made her film debut in By the Light of the Silvery Moon . However, her appearance in the film has not been confirmed. According to the film's opening credits, the story for By the Light of the Silvery Moon was suggested by Booth Tarkington's Penrod stories, but the NYT reviewer noted that the film bore little resemblance in plot and mood to the short stories, and also mentioned anachronisms in the dialogue and songs.
       Most of the cast of By the Light of the Silvery Moon also appeared in the 1951 Warner Bros. production On Moonlight Bay , which was directed by Roy Del Ruth, was also based on Tarkington's novels and featured the same central characters (See Entry). For a description of other films based on the Penrod stories, see the entry for Penrod and Sam in AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 . More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
28 Mar 1953.
---
Daily Variety
25 Mar 53
p. 3.
Film Daily
25 Mar 53
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
10 Jul 52
p. 1, 6
Hollywood Reporter
31 Jul 52
p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter
13 Aug 52
p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter
15 Aug 52
p. 11.
Hollywood Reporter
17 Sep 52
p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Oct 52
p. 23.
Hollywood Reporter
25 Mar 53
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
6 Apr 1953.
---
Los Angeles Times
24 Apr 1953.
---
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
28 Mar 53
p. 1773.
New York Times
27 Mar 53
p. 28.
Time
13 Apr 1953.
---
Variety
25 Mar 53
p. 6.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Warner Bros.--First National Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
2d asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
COSTUMES
MUSIC
Mus dir
Mus adpt
Vocal arr
DANCE
Mus numbers staged by
MAKEUP
Makeup artist
PRODUCTION MISC
Scr supv
COLOR PERSONNEL
Technicolor col consultant
SOURCES
SONGS
"By the Light of the Silvery Moon," music and lyrics by Gus Edwards and Edward Madden
"My Home Town Is a One-Horse Town," music and lyrics by Abner Silver and Alexander Gerber
"Your Eyes Have Told Me So," music and lyrics by Walter Blaufuss, Egbert Van Alstyne and Gus Kahn
+
SONGS
"By the Light of the Silvery Moon," music and lyrics by Gus Edwards and Edward Madden
"My Home Town Is a One-Horse Town," music and lyrics by Abner Silver and Alexander Gerber
"Your Eyes Have Told Me So," music and lyrics by Walter Blaufuss, Egbert Van Alstyne and Gus Kahn
"Be My Little Baby Bumblebee," music and lyrics by Henry Marshall and Stanley Murphy
"Ain't We Got Fun," music and lyrics by Richard A. Whiting, Gus Kahn and Raymond B. Egan
"If You Were the Only Girl in the World," music and lyrics by Nat D. Ayer and Clifford Grey
"Moonlight Bay," music and lyrics by Percy Wenrich and Edward Madden
"Just One Girl," music and lyrics by Lyn Udall and Karl Kennett
"King Chanticleer," music and lyrics by A. Seymour Brown and Nat D. Ayer
"I'll Forget You," music and lyrics by Ernest R. Ball and Annelu Burns.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
2 May 1953
Premiere Information:
New York opening: week of 27 March 1953
Production Date:
mid August--early October 1952
Copyright Claimant:
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Copyright Date:
22 April 1953
Copyright Number:
LP2525
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA Sound System
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
101-103
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
16085
SYNOPSIS

In Indiana, in 1919, George Winfield, the vice president of a small-town bank, reads in the newspaper that his daughter Marjorie's fiancé, William Sherman, has been honorably discharged from military service. Although he and the rest of the town expect that Bill will soon marry Marjorie, Bill feels changed by war, and now believes that he should first build a nest egg, so that he can offer Marjorie financial stability. After taking the train home, Bill proceeds to the Winfield home, but cannot bring himself to tell Marjorie about the wedding delay after finding her trying on her wedding dress. That evening, Marjorie hears Bill's plans for the first time along with the rest of the town. Marjorie is not happy, but on the drive home, Bill convinces her that waiting makes sense. Then the car breaks down and after fixing it, Marjorie offers to help build the nest egg by resuming her job as mechanic at Ike Hickey's garage, where she worked during the war. When Bill objects to her working, she calls him "an old fuddy-duddy" and drives away. Meanwhile, Marjorie's younger brother Wesley, who fancies himself the "super sleuth Fearless Flannagan," is upset because his father wants his pet turkey Gregory to become Thanksgiving dinner. Although ordered by George to deliver Gregory to the butcher, Wesley instead steals the turkey that his young friend, Ronald "Pee Wee" Harris, is taking home. By Thanksgiving day, Marjorie and Bill have made up and George's boss, John H. Harris, and his wife Emily and son Pee Wee, have been invited to dinner, as their own turkey mysteriously disappeared. George is pleased that Wesley has accepted the realities of the ... +


In Indiana, in 1919, George Winfield, the vice president of a small-town bank, reads in the newspaper that his daughter Marjorie's fiancé, William Sherman, has been honorably discharged from military service. Although he and the rest of the town expect that Bill will soon marry Marjorie, Bill feels changed by war, and now believes that he should first build a nest egg, so that he can offer Marjorie financial stability. After taking the train home, Bill proceeds to the Winfield home, but cannot bring himself to tell Marjorie about the wedding delay after finding her trying on her wedding dress. That evening, Marjorie hears Bill's plans for the first time along with the rest of the town. Marjorie is not happy, but on the drive home, Bill convinces her that waiting makes sense. Then the car breaks down and after fixing it, Marjorie offers to help build the nest egg by resuming her job as mechanic at Ike Hickey's garage, where she worked during the war. When Bill objects to her working, she calls him "an old fuddy-duddy" and drives away. Meanwhile, Marjorie's younger brother Wesley, who fancies himself the "super sleuth Fearless Flannagan," is upset because his father wants his pet turkey Gregory to become Thanksgiving dinner. Although ordered by George to deliver Gregory to the butcher, Wesley instead steals the turkey that his young friend, Ronald "Pee Wee" Harris, is taking home. By Thanksgiving day, Marjorie and Bill have made up and George's boss, John H. Harris, and his wife Emily and son Pee Wee, have been invited to dinner, as their own turkey mysteriously disappeared. George is pleased that Wesley has accepted the realities of the food chain and John offers Bill a job at the bank. When Gregory makes a surprise appearance, the mystery of the Harrises' missing turkey is solved. Although the Harrises laugh, George is angry, until his wife Alice reminds him that "boys will be boys." Later, George meets with actress Renee LaRue, who wants to lease a theater for her troupe's performance of a play. Before he will authorize the lease, George wants John's approval on a passage in the play that hints at divorce and copies the passage on a piece of paper. At home, Wesley, whose imagination has been fired up by household jokes about George and the "temptress," writes a story about "Fearless Flannagan" outsmarting beautiful "Dangerous Dora" and her gang of outlaws. The next morning, when asked to deliver George's suit to the cleaners, Wesley finds the paper and shows it to Marjorie and the maid Stella, before George retrieves it. Mistaking the passage for a love letter from George to Miss LaRue, the three agree to keep it a secret from Alice. Later, when Alice announces that the next day is her twentieth wedding anniversary and reminisces about the day George proposed on Hickey's sleigh while on the way to Miller's Skating Pond, Marjorie hires Ike to drive the same sleigh, hoping to rekindle her parents' romance. Meanwhile, Bill has decided they can be married immediately, but Marjorie declines, feeling too ashamed to explain why. Later, George gives Wesley lease papers to deliver to Miss LaRue for her signature, and Marjorie, Wesley and Stella pull out the one they think is a love note, although George has since written on it "delete the passage about divorce." Then, trying to be as debonair as his alter ego, "Fearless Flannagan," Wesley delivers the remaining papers to Miss LaRue. Bill comes by later, as Wesley prepares to burn the "love note" as Marjorie has instructed. Thinking that Marjorie wrote it, Bill confronts her at the school, where she is performing in a show, and accuses her of two-timing him with piano teacher Chester Finley, who has a crush on her. Chester accepts Bill's challenge to fight and succeeds in knocking him out. Upon recovering, Bill refuses to believe that the note was written by George and leaves town. Wesley feels responsible for their breakup and sends Bill a telegram that confirms Marjorie's explanation. Although it convinces Bill to return, the telegrapher's wife quickly spreads news of George's "infidelity" all over town. That evening, disguised as Hickey, Bill drives the Winfields in the sleigh to Miller's pond, where he and Marjorie soon make up. After hearing the gossip, most of the townspeople have also come out to skate and are all ears when Miss LaRue shows up asking for George. Everyone is relieved when they realize that the "divorce" George and Miss LaRue are discussing is from a passage in a play, except George, who has been bewildered by the cold behavior of his children and friends. Although he is indignant that anyone would consider him a philanderer, both Alice and Miss LaRue find it funny, and the whole town shares a big laugh. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.