Holiday Inn [Blu-ray]
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Screen legends Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire sing and dance their way into your heart in one of the most timeless holiday classics ever, Holiday Inn. Featuring the Academy Award-winning song, “White Christmas”, Crosby plays a song and dance man who leaves showbiz to run an inn that is open only on holidays. Astaire plays his former partner and rival in love. Follow the two talented pals as they find themselves competing for the affections of the same lovely lady (Marjorie Reynolds). ‘Tis the season for one of the most sensational musical comedies of all time!
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Differing with what some others have said, I regard "Holiday Inn" to have a fairly complicated plot for a light musical comedy. There are at least four twists on the romances in the story, and Bing's attempts to keep Fred away from his new girl are convoluted and funny.
The movie introduced the song "White Christmas", which would be the top selling song in the world for decades thereafter. It is one of the most covered songs of all Christmas songs, and Bing's version is still the best performance.
There are a couple of other fairly memorable songs, and outside of Rogers and Hammerstein or Lerner and Lowe, that's a pretty good number. The rest of the songs are entertaining in their context, and that's all that's required. After all, there is only so much any songwriter can do in producing songs about Washington or Lincoln's birthdays! LOL
At Thanksgiving in the movie, there is a little joke that most people these days won't get. You see a cartoon turkey confused and staggering back and forth between November 20th and November 27th on a calendar. Before 1942 the President declared the date of the official Thanksgiving holiday each year, but they always proclaimed it to occur on the last Thursday in November. In 1939 President Roosevelt, under pressure from merchants, proclaimed it as the 4th Thursday in a year where November had five. This break with tradition was not universally popular, and for three years the United States was approximately evenly divided, with some states celebrating the holiday on the next to last Thursday of the month, and some on the last Thursday. The turkey cartoon is spoofing that situation. In December of 1941 Congress stepped in and set the holiday in law as the 4th Thursday of the month, as we have known it since. That gives merchants a few more shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas in years where November has five Thursdays.
You'll come to like all the characters, even Astaire's somewhat scurrilous character who for some reason is always falling for his friend's girls.
The plot has been well documented in myriad reviews and synopses, so I won't go through it again here. If you're familiar with romantic comedies, you've seen all the bases touched here many times.
If you can't stand classic older films, you may disagree, but I give this film a great recommendation as a fine holiday film for the family to watch together. Of course, the movie isn't particularly about Christmas, but gets credit as a Christmas movie because of the flagship song. You could just as well watch it as a 4th of July movie! LOL
The plot is predictable and slight, I'll admit, with the dance and song sequences taking up most of the time. But the plot was satisfying, and the Berlin's songs and the Astaire and Reynolds dance sequences are a consistent pleasure. My one big caveat is that the black face sequence is profoundly disturbing in this day and age. The song with that scene is excellent, but it's a difficult one to watch. I know that when this film is broadcast on television, that scene is often omitted, and I expect that in future viewings of this film, I'll skip that scene myself.
On the whole, Holiday Inn was fun to watch, and I expect that I'll be more open to this type of musical in the future.
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