Sunday, December 15, 2013

Family Movie Night: Holiday Inn

Title: Holiday Inn
Director: Mark Sandrich
Original Release: 1942
Choice: Mine
My Overall Rating: 3 stars out of 5
via Wikipedia
Without a doubt, Irving Berlin, Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby were all titans of the 20th century entertainment industry.  The three combined forces for the 1942 classic, Holiday Inn.  If all you want out of a movie is snappy tunes sung in smooth baritone with the God of Dance floating around on tip-toe, Holiday Inn has it all!  If you're looking for sharp acting and a compelling story, it's probably not the best choice.

The basic idea's a lot of fun.  Jim Hardy (Crosby) leaves his glitzy singing career behind to open a little hotel in the Connecticut countryside, offering top-notch entertainment with one wrinkle: the joint's only open on holidays.  Young, innocent and talented Linda Mason (Marjorie Reynolds) walks into his life as a singing and romantic partner.  All's going according to plan until Jim's old pal Ted Hanover (Astaire) turns up and tries to steal Linda away as a dancing partner.  Unfortunately, neither Bing nor Fred was much of an actor.  Their careers will built on other, admittedly considerable talents.

Irving Berlin wrote twelve new songs for the movie, nearly all associated with particular holidays. He also incorporated "Easter Parade," a song he'd written for the Broadway revue As Thousands Cheer.  By far the most popular song of the baker's dozen was the timeless "White Christmas," '43's Oscar winner for best song and one of the best-selling recordings in history.  The song has been covered by hundreds of performers but it will always belong to Bing Crosby:



The Lincoln's Birthday sequence is a bit troubling by 21st century standards.  Jim decides it would be a great idea if they perform the song "Abraham" in blackface.  AMC cuts the song out of their annual airing of the film but Turner Classic Movies leaves it in theirs.

The movie is definitely fun.  Crosby and Astaire both dazzle.  I could do without seeing it again but Our Girl loved it.  She's a sucker for holidays so this was right up her alley.  I expect this one will come around in the rotation again.

And yes, the hotel chain is named after the movie.

18 comments:

  1. I don't think I've ever seen this entire movie, which is surprising because I've seen a lot of the old holiday classics. My favorite is "White Christmas" with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye.

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    1. I've never seen "White Christmas," actually.

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  2. When I was young my Mum and I would watch this when it came in TV. I liked watching it with Mum but it was never a "must" watch. Haven't seen it for years.
    I think it is much better than White Christmas. Poor Vera Ellen.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. I'd never seen either until this weekend. Now I'm a little curious about WC. Maybe someday.

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  3. I think I've seen it, but it's been a while. Or I might be thinking of its doppelganger/quasi-sequel, White Christmas.

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    1. I'm glad to have seen it. The song "White Christmas" is so over-played this time of year but Crosby's original performance in the movie truly is something special - very different from the studio recording that sold megamillions. And, of course, watching Astaire dance is always a treat - such a different feel from Gene Kelly or, really, anyone else. The man practically flies.

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  4. Looks like a really funny movie. A good laugh is always needed.

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    1. I'd say it's more sweet than funny. If you want to laugh, try Bringing Up Baby.

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  5. I could be wrong but... the song White Christmas was such a hit the studio made the movie White Christmes to cash in... I read that somewhere a long time ago so who knows if that is right.

    cheers, parsnip

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  6. I don't think I've seen this movie but I kind of want to...I was actually thinking the whole time I was reading, is the hotel named after the movie? LOL

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    1. I'll admit, I'd been wondering myself. Thank you, Wikipedia!

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  7. At first I thought it was the other way around. Interesting trivia!

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    1. Undoubtedly clever marketing for the hotel chain at the time, founded in 1952.

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  8. What wonderful nostalgia these old classics stir up. It really is christmas, isn't it? I'm dreaming now...

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    1. Yup, the jolly season is well underway. (I first typed it as "underwary" - Freudian slip?) For my daughter, it's been rolling since mid-November. I'm ready to move on!

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  9. This sounds like a cute family movie. Thanks for the recommendation! I'm always looking out for films to watch with my kids.

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    1. Yes, definitely cute and very family friendly. Not even much smooching.

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