Shine on Harvest Moon


1h 52m 1944
Shine on Harvest Moon

Brief Synopsis

Song-filled look behind the scenes of vaudeville, based on the lives of Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth.

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Musical
Biography
Release Date
Apr 8, 1944
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 10 Mar 1944
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 52m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White, Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10,075ft

Synopsis

In 1905, songwriter and performer Jack Norworth is taken by his magician friend, the Great Georgetti, to see a singer named Nora Bayes, who is performing at a local honky-tonk cabaret run by Dan Costello. In between numbers, Costello encourages Nora to entertain the cabaret's owner, Tim Donovan. Jack is so impressed with Nora's rendition of one of his songs that he offers to help her break into vaudeville. When Costello interrupts their conversation to insist that Nora return to Donovan's table, a fight ensues, and Jack, Georgetti and Nora are thrown out of the cabaret. Jack walks Nora home and promises to get her a tryout at the Crystal Theater where he works. Later, Costello offers to rehire Nora and also proposes marriage, but Nora angrily sends him away. In retaliation, Costello hires a group of ruffians to disrupt Nora's audition. Jack then suggests that Nora and another singer, Blanche Mallory, perform as a sister act at a theater run by his friend, Poppa Karl. Later, believing that Jack favors Nora over her, Blanche quits the act. Jack then marries Nora, and they become a team. They travel around the country singing Jack's songs and are a big success. Later they return to New York, hoping to sign a contract to perform there, but Costello and Donovan have bought up the largest chain of theaters and refuse to book them. Costello then proceeds to pressure other theater owners into blacklisting the couple, and Jack and Nora fall on hard times. Jack writes "Shine On, Harvest Moon," which he is sure will be a hit. His publisher agrees, but wants Blanche, who is now working for Costello, to introduce the song. Blanche will agree only if Jack teams up with her, and when he declines, she refuses to sing the song. One night, Georgetti and his assistant, Margie, visit Jack and Nora, and Margie accidentally discloses Blanche's offer. Not wanting to stand in the way of Jack's success, Nora tells Blanche that she is leaving Jack. Later, Poppa Karl finds Nora working in an Atlantic City music store and tells her that Jack is so depressed by her leaving that he has been fired from every job he has taken. Happily, Nora returns to New York for Jack's opening in burlesque. When Jack sees Nora, he begins to sing to her, and she joins him in a duet. They are seen by a man who works for showman Florenz Ziegfeld, who puts them in the revue. Together they sing "Shine On, Harvest Moon" and are a huge success.

Cast

Ann Sheridan

Nora Bayes

Dennis Morgan

Jack Norworth

Jack Carson

The Great Georgetti

Irene Manning

Blanche Mallory

S. Z. Sakall

Poppa Karl

Marie Wilson

Margie

Robert Shayne

Dan Costello

Bob Murphy

Desk sergeant

The Four Step Brothers

Dance team

The Ashburns

Dance team

Will Stanton

Drunk civilian

Paul Panzer

Doorman

Al Hill

Captain of waiters

Tom Herbert

Drunk at table

William Davidson

Tim Donovan

Fred Kelsey

Policeman in patrol car

Joseph Crehan

Harry Miller

Charles Jordan

Gentleman on street

Don Barclay

Cab driver

Dorothy Grainger

Mitzie Menegue

Doodles Weaver

Elevator man

Charles Wilson

Stage manager

James Bush

William Fowler

Nestor Paiva

Romero

Ann Codee

Wardrobe woman

Marjorie Hoshelle

Fowler's secretary

Philip Van Zandt

Cullen

Edward Hearn

Toughie

Paul Stanton

Ted Harvey

John Peters

Mug

Brandon Hurst

Watchman

Otto Shafter

Electrician

Phyllis Kennedy

Hortense

Harry Seymour

Pianist

Mike Mazurki

Bouncer

Frank Hagney

Bouncer

Jack Norton

Drunk

Bert Roach

Drunk

Dutch Hendrian

Heckler

Ed O'neill

Heckler

Art Miles

Heckler

Michael Gaddis

Heckler

Charles Marsh

Vaudevillian

Tom Quinn

Vaudevillian

Jack Boyle

Vaudevillian

Duke Johnson

Vaudevillian

Billy Bletcher

Policeman in "Big Night" number

Peggy Carson

Vaudevillian

Nita Pike

Vaudevillian

Doria Caron

Vaudevillian

Dick Humphreys

Dancer

Marilyn Kay

Dancer

Ethel Shattuck

Juggler

Edward Ward

Juggler

Johnnie Berkes

Tramp ambassador in "United States" number

Billy Young

Tramp ambassador in "United States" number

Betty Bryson

Soubrette in "United States" number

Jack Daley

Policeman in "Big Night" number

Mike Donovan

Policeman in "Big Night" number

Frank Mccarroll

Policeman in "Big Night" number

Charles Mcavoy

Policeman in "Big Night" number

Kernan Cripps

Policeman in "Big Night" number

Tom Murray

Policeman in "Big Night" number

George Mcdonald

Policeman in "Big Night" number

Bob Reeves

Policeman in "Big Night" number

Bill O'leary

Policeman in "Big Night" number

Charles Mcmurphy

Policeman in "Big Night" number

Allen D. Sewall

Policeman in "Big Night" number

Hank Mann

Audience member

George Bunny

Audience member

Sam Adams

Audience member

Paddy O'flynn

Audience member

Francis Sayles

Audience member

Henry Sylvester

Audience member

Nolan Leary

Audience member

Cy Ring

Film Details

Genre
Drama
Musical
Biography
Release Date
Apr 8, 1944
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 10 Mar 1944
Production Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 52m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Black and White, Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10,075ft

Articles

Shine On, Harvest Moon


In the dark days of World War II, Americans were hungry for escapist entertainment. And nothing provided a better escape than musicals, especially nostalgic musicals. Warner Brothers' Shine On, Harvest Moon (1944), a musical biography about early 20th-century entertainers Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth fit the bill admirably, in spite of the fact that the historical details were less than accurate. The real-life Bayes and Norworth were vaudeville and Broadway stars. As songwriters, their most famous collaboration was "Shine on, Harvest Moon," which they wrote and introduced in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1908. They got married that same year (the second marriage for both), and divorced in 1913. Each married three more times, and Bayes died of cancer in 1928. Instead of facts, Shine On, Harvest Moon substituted a fanciful and cliched backstage story about a devoted couple's struggle to succeed in show business. Director David Butler later recalled the attitude of studio executives during the war: "Never mind the story. Just give me 8,000 feet of film."

What Shine On, Harvest Moon lacked in veracity, however, it made up in entertainment value. The musical numbers were plentiful and well performed. Like Nora Bayes herself, Ann Sheridan had an appealing contralto singing voice. But she wasn't allowed to use it in Shine On, Harvest Moon - her vocals were dubbed by Lynn Martin. Still, David Butler recalled that Sheridan's lip synching was "perfection," and that Lynn Martin's voice matched Sheridan's quite well. Dennis Morgan, an experienced musical performer, did his own singing, even though his tenor voice was nothing like Jack Norworth's. Irene Manning, playing a rival of Sheridan's, also contributed some good musical numbers, and Jack Carson and Marie Wilson were standouts in a comedy routine, "So Dumb but So Beautiful." The production cried out for technicolor, but because of wartime restrictions, the film was shot in black and white, with only the finale - the title number - shot in color. Because of the profusion of greenery in the number, critics had fun mocking it, with comments like "Warner Brothers must have traded in the script for a seed catalog."

Co-star Jack Carson was familiar with the era portrayed in the film. Early in his career, Carson was half of a vaudeville team which satirized the music of that period. A talented comedy and musical performer, Carson also proved himself in dramatic roles in such films as Mildred Pierce (1945) and A Star Is Born (1954). He and Dennis Morgan would make several "buddy" pictures together, including Two Guys from Milwaukee (1946), and Two Guys from Texas (1948).

The reviews for Shine On, Harvest Moon were decidedly mixed at best. Variety's was typical, praising the musical numbers, and noting that director David Butler "gets plenty out of the cast members, despite script deficiencies." Unfortunately for the cast, many critics still remembered the real Norworth and Bayes fondly (Norworth, in fact, was still alive when the film was released, and still performed occasionally). Bosley Crowther's New York Times review was, alas, also typical: "As for the performances of Miss Sheridan and Mr. Morgan in the pseudo-biographical roles, we can only say that history does not repeat itself." But finally, enough time has now gone by that the performances in Shine On, Harvest Moon can be appreciated on their own, without any comparisons to the long-gone originals.

Producer: William Jacobs
Director: David Butler
Screenplay: Sam Hellman, Richard Weil, Francis Swann, James V. Kern, based on the story by Richard Weil
Art Direction: Charles Novi
Cinematography: Arthur Edeson
Costume Designer: Milo Anderson
Editor: Irene Morra
Music: Leo F. Forbstein, Music Director; Songs by Jack Norworth, Nora Bayes, and others
Cast: Ann Sheridan (Nora Bayes), Dennis Morgan (Jack Norworth), Jack Carson (The Great Georgetti), Irene Manning (Blanche Mallory), S.Z. Sakall (Poppa Karl), Marie Wilson (Margie), Robert Shayne (Dan Costello), Bob Murphy (Police Sergeant).
BW & C-113m. Closed Captioning.

by Margarita Landazuri
Shine On, Harvest Moon

Shine On, Harvest Moon

In the dark days of World War II, Americans were hungry for escapist entertainment. And nothing provided a better escape than musicals, especially nostalgic musicals. Warner Brothers' Shine On, Harvest Moon (1944), a musical biography about early 20th-century entertainers Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth fit the bill admirably, in spite of the fact that the historical details were less than accurate. The real-life Bayes and Norworth were vaudeville and Broadway stars. As songwriters, their most famous collaboration was "Shine on, Harvest Moon," which they wrote and introduced in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1908. They got married that same year (the second marriage for both), and divorced in 1913. Each married three more times, and Bayes died of cancer in 1928. Instead of facts, Shine On, Harvest Moon substituted a fanciful and cliched backstage story about a devoted couple's struggle to succeed in show business. Director David Butler later recalled the attitude of studio executives during the war: "Never mind the story. Just give me 8,000 feet of film." What Shine On, Harvest Moon lacked in veracity, however, it made up in entertainment value. The musical numbers were plentiful and well performed. Like Nora Bayes herself, Ann Sheridan had an appealing contralto singing voice. But she wasn't allowed to use it in Shine On, Harvest Moon - her vocals were dubbed by Lynn Martin. Still, David Butler recalled that Sheridan's lip synching was "perfection," and that Lynn Martin's voice matched Sheridan's quite well. Dennis Morgan, an experienced musical performer, did his own singing, even though his tenor voice was nothing like Jack Norworth's. Irene Manning, playing a rival of Sheridan's, also contributed some good musical numbers, and Jack Carson and Marie Wilson were standouts in a comedy routine, "So Dumb but So Beautiful." The production cried out for technicolor, but because of wartime restrictions, the film was shot in black and white, with only the finale - the title number - shot in color. Because of the profusion of greenery in the number, critics had fun mocking it, with comments like "Warner Brothers must have traded in the script for a seed catalog." Co-star Jack Carson was familiar with the era portrayed in the film. Early in his career, Carson was half of a vaudeville team which satirized the music of that period. A talented comedy and musical performer, Carson also proved himself in dramatic roles in such films as Mildred Pierce (1945) and A Star Is Born (1954). He and Dennis Morgan would make several "buddy" pictures together, including Two Guys from Milwaukee (1946), and Two Guys from Texas (1948). The reviews for Shine On, Harvest Moon were decidedly mixed at best. Variety's was typical, praising the musical numbers, and noting that director David Butler "gets plenty out of the cast members, despite script deficiencies." Unfortunately for the cast, many critics still remembered the real Norworth and Bayes fondly (Norworth, in fact, was still alive when the film was released, and still performed occasionally). Bosley Crowther's New York Times review was, alas, also typical: "As for the performances of Miss Sheridan and Mr. Morgan in the pseudo-biographical roles, we can only say that history does not repeat itself." But finally, enough time has now gone by that the performances in Shine On, Harvest Moon can be appreciated on their own, without any comparisons to the long-gone originals. Producer: William Jacobs Director: David Butler Screenplay: Sam Hellman, Richard Weil, Francis Swann, James V. Kern, based on the story by Richard Weil Art Direction: Charles Novi Cinematography: Arthur Edeson Costume Designer: Milo Anderson Editor: Irene Morra Music: Leo F. Forbstein, Music Director; Songs by Jack Norworth, Nora Bayes, and others Cast: Ann Sheridan (Nora Bayes), Dennis Morgan (Jack Norworth), Jack Carson (The Great Georgetti), Irene Manning (Blanche Mallory), S.Z. Sakall (Poppa Karl), Marie Wilson (Margie), Robert Shayne (Dan Costello), Bob Murphy (Police Sergeant). BW & C-113m. Closed Captioning. by Margarita Landazuri

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Nora Bayes, whose real name was Eleanor Goldberg, a popular entertainer and songwriter in vaudeville and on Broadway, was known for her deep voice and dynamic style. She was the first person to sing George M. Cohan's 1917 song "Over There." Among the shows she appeared in were the Ziegfeld Follies of 1907, 1908, and 1909; Little Miss Fix-It (1911); Maid in America (1915); The Cohan Revue (1917); and Queen O'Hearts (1922). Bayes was married five times. Her second husband was Jack Norworth, with whom she formed a stage act. In a New York Herald Tribune article, Norworth remembers that he first met Bayes when she came into his publisher's office looking for new material. They were married two weeks later and began to perform as a team in vaudeville. Later, they performed for two seasons in the Ziegfeld Follies before their marriage ended. Bayes died in 1928.
       According to press releases in the file on the film at the AMPAS Library, Harold Goldman and Bert Granet were at one time assigned to write the screenplay and Julius J. and Philip G. Epstein were to make their producing debut with this film. Hollywood Reporter news items add that Jerry Wald was also slated to produce the film, some scenes for which were shot on location at the Warner Bros. Ranch.