Director: Mark Sandrich
Original Release: 1942
My Overall Rating: 3 stars out of 5
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.