Film Flick: Holiday Inn

Friday, November 30, 2012


Hello, Never Fully Dressed readers. With the holidays coming up, I'm running a special series sharing some of the holiday classics that have stood the test of time. Some might be new to you; some might be favorite films, but they're all sure to impart a sense of that holiday fun.



An inn that's open only during the holidays? That outlandish premise is the basis of the Christmas classic Holiday Inn. Irving Berlin pitched the idea as a way for him to write songs about all the different American holidays after his song "Easter Parade" was a hit in an earlier film.

As you can imagine, a plot that revolves around having a song and dance number for every holiday, means the story is sometimes weak, but Holiday Inn has two aces up its sleeve in the forms of Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire as lead actors. Crosby is his usual laid-back, lovable everyman- though somewhat more manipulative here than in other films- and Astaire plays elegant but shallow to a tee. Their characters Jim (Crosby) and Ted (Astaire) are partners, along with dancer Lila (Virginia Dale), in a song and dance routine. Jim longs for farm life- and eventually finds it in his idea for a "Holiday Inn." In the midst of getting the inn up and running the two men vie for the heart of a woman- not once, but twice. First for the worldly Lila and then for the film's real leading lady, Linda. Linda, as played by Marjorie Reynolds, is sweet and kind, but of more importance is her ability to both sing and dance. She can help draw the crowds to the Inn, but Ted hopes she can also draw Hollywood's attention. Will she love the quiet life with Crosby's Jim, or will bright lights and Astaire's charming Ted win the day?

This is the film that brought us the classic song "White Christmas." Though it would win the Academy Award that year for best song and go on to be the best selling music single for over fifty years, many involved in the film weren't initially blown away. Supposedly, during rehearsals, Crosby merely told Berlin, "I don't think we have any problems with that one, Irving." In fact, the song expected to be the big hit was the Valentine's song, " Be Careful- It's My Heart." Other holiday numbers include a New Year's, one for Lincoln's birthday, as well as one for Washington's, a re-use of "Easter Parade," a 4th of July number, and a Thanksgiving song. Some of these are rather painfully awkward. In fact,  the Lincoln number is often cut from television showings due to it's rather racist overtones and use of blackface. Still, most are at least hummable tunes. Astaire has a few big moments of his own- a Fourth of July Dance involving fireworks exploding in time to his dancing feet and a partner dance that is even more impressive once you know Astaire was actually drunk and not just pretending to be so. 



Overall, this is a great film to snuggle up and watch on a snowy day. Sure, it has a few weak musical numbers, but they are more than made up for by the good numbers. Some might prefer Crosby's later and more famous White Christmas, but Holiday Inn has a charm all its own with two of Hollywood's greats using all of their combined singing and dancing skills to win the girl. So, as the movie's song puts it, "kick your cares down the stairs, and come to Holiday Inn!"



P.S. WANT MORE HOLIDAY CLASSIC FILMS? GET INTO THE SPIRIT WITH: WHITE CHRISTMAS | CHRISTMAS IN CONNECTICUT | MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET |SHOP AROUND THE CORNER MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS | IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE | IT HAPPENED ON 5TH AVENUE | HOLIDAY | A CHRISTMAS CAROL |

13 comments

  1. i be chill-in at the Holiday Innnn (ok i just couldn't help myself) but totally have never seen this one! and i love old movies :) adding it to my list

    xoRachel

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    1. Haha! Though yeah- actually the Holiday Inn chain hotel was named for this film.Crazy.

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  2. MY sister and I used to watch this movie around Christmas when I was younger!! WE loved older holiday flicks

    <3 katherine
    of corgis and cocktails

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    1. How fun! My sister and I love older movies too. It's become a tradition to watch White Christmas on Christmas Eve (we may or may no sing along to the "Sisters, Sisters" song.)

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  3. LOVE this movie!! I'm such a sucker for old holiday movies. This along with White Christmas and It's a Wonderful Life are traditions for my family to watch every year :)

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    1. Ha- I'm planning on reviewing both of those two movies as well. White Christmas is what my family watches on Christmas Eve.

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  4. This seems like a fun holiday flick :)

    "Astaire was actually drunk and not just pretending to be so" Sounds like he had a good time!

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    1. I guess he had two shots of bourbon before the first take and before ever take after that. They kept the seventh- and final-take. My guess is he was pretty out of it by the end!

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  5. Aw, this is one of my favorite Christmas movies! I need to get my hands on a copy to watch this year. So glad you reviewed this one!

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  6. Ohhh I haven't seen this one...must go find it. I need a good movie to get me in the Christmas mood. Plus Fred Astaire!!!

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    1. You can never go wrong with Fred Astaire. Such an amazing dancer. I just learned that he and Bing Crosby are in another movie together- Blue Skies- so I'm trying to track that one down now...

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  7. Great review, I love this film!
    I adore your blog, would you like to follow each other?
    km-iamyou.blogspot.com.au
    xx.

    ReplyDelete

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