One of the blu-rays I reviewed last year was Warner Archive’s release of Doris Day’s debut, 1948’s “Romance on the High Seas” directed by Michael Curtiz. During the production of “High Seas,” Curtiz became so convinced of Day’s star power that he immediately began planning a follow-up for her, 1949’s “My Dream is Yours.” Warner Archive has brought Day’s second movie out on blu-ray, along with her ninth movie, 1951’s “On Moonlight Bay.” Both films are bright and enjoyable musicals bathed in rich Technicolor. That combination makes for a perfect antidote to these times in which we find ourselves.
Curtiz, who is perhaps the most famous “unknown” director of all time, having made such all-timers as “Casablanca,” again paired Day with her “High Seas” co-star, Jack Carson for “My Dream is Yours.” Adding to the cast are beloved, long-time WB contract staple S.Z. Sakall, Adolphe Menjou, and Eve Arden. Carson plays an agent whose great find, a singing star on the radio whose ego has become as large as a blimp, decides to give his old friend the ax for a new contract with a different sponsor and radio show his pal had no involvement with.
Fueled with the desire to spite his “old friend,” Carson sets off to find a replacement that’ll be an even bigger smash to replace “The Hour of Enchantment” star. Through a neat little, playful, conspiracy in a New York City bar, he finds Martha Gibson (Day). Carson takes Day off to Hollywood with the promise of success. Filled with lush, absolutely breathing Technicolor photography, and some on-location scenes showing off Hollywood as it looked then “My Dream is Yours” is a real joy to watch. Especially for a dream sequence towards the end with none other than Bugs Bunny turning up and dancing alongside Day and Carson.
Day is a war widow with a son, and there are a few sequences about that which don’t quite work as well with the rest of the film for my tastes, but I found the charms of “My Dream is Yours” hard to resists. Warner Archive brings a new HD scan of the film out, along with the carryover extras from the DVD release, including the trailer, a WB cartoon, Joe McDoakes short, and another short subject. Going for that “night at the movies” feel, letting you get a sense of what would have been seen on the same bill as “My Dream is Yours” when it first played theaters. The color looks breathtaking, and I was really glad I spent some time in this little 1949 musical landscape.
1951’s “On Moonlight Bay” could, on the surface, just appear to be WB’s stab at making their version of MGM’s perennial favorite “Meet Me In St. Louis.” But that’s doing a disservice to the film. The film is another Technicolor musical set in pre-World War I America, and it does focus on a family with Day at the center as a tomboy, but the film stands on its own and is quite different than the MGM film.
Gordon MacRae stars alongside Day in this one, where he plays a college student that Day, who had zero intention of falling in love with anyone, falls in love with. It’s all well and good till Day’s conservative banker father asks the young man for his ideas about life, and is met with some ideas that are radical and fly in the face of all the father holds true and decent in his heart. Father naturally forbids the boy from seeing his daughter ever again, and as you can well imagine that goes over as well as a led balloon.
The film, a favorite of Day’s, was such a hit that WB immediately planned a direct sequel to the film, “By The Light of the Silvery Moon.” It’s a very fun, good, well-made movie, but drags a bit when a little after halfway into the movie part of the focus shifts onto Day’s young brother and his shenanigans. Of the two films, I liked “My Dream is Yours” more, but that doesn’t seem “Bay” is a film you should sit out on. If anything, Day, the songs, and that aforementioned jaw-dropping Technicolor is well worth the price of admission on blu-ray. Plus it has Mary Wickes in the cast, who doesn’t love her?
Again WB ports over DVD extras with a cartoon, trailer, and theatrical short. The new HD scan of the film is really flawless, boasting a very high bitrate and nary a scratch. It’s truly exceptional and one would imagine both these films look better than when they first played movie houses. Both films are the right kind of escape from these strange times we live in, any Doris Day we can get on blu-ray is a welcome gift, and both of these are available from wbshop.com/warnerarchive. Highly recommended additions to your library. See you next week.