Holiday Inn (1942)
Lovely Linda Mason has crooner Jim Hardy head over heels, but suave stepper Ted Hanover wants her for his new dance partner after femme fatale Lila Dixon gives him the brush. Jim's supper club—Holiday Inn—is the setting for the chase by Hanover and manager Danny Reed. The music's the thing.
Highly Overrated But Still Good
Excellent but underrated film
Exactly the movie you think it is, but not the movie you want it to be.
Actress is magnificent and exudes a hypnotic screen presence in this affecting drama.
Of course that was after they made a stage version of its remake, "White Christmas", well a partial remake of it. For reasons beyond my understanding, "White Christmas" is more well known and a holiday perennial, even though this film introduced the Oscar winning song by Bing Crosby and has a much better plot. I find "White Christmas" too gimmicky and dated, even in 1950's terms, and highly overrated. The plot line surrounding a country inn open only at the holidays was keeping in touch with the patriotic morale at the time, and in updating the remake with post war ideals it seemed pretentious and colorless in spite of all that garish Technicolor.The Broadway version took out certain elements that cleared up any "politically incorrect" issues, mostly by getting rid of the black housekeeper, Louise Beavers, singing about "happy darkies" in the production number about Abraham Lincoln and turned her into a feisty (white) female "Miss Fix-It". The basic story remained but turned Fred Astaire's character into an even more smooth womanizing playboy while making Crosby's character more of a homebody with the desire of show business still in his heart. The stage version was recently broadcast on PBS so comparisons are inevitable. Having seen the stage version in the front row, I found myself grinning broadly, and in revisiting the film for the first time in many years, realized that I was doing exactly the same thing with the film.The singing and dancing team of Astaire and Crosby (along with Marjorie Reynolds) are happy until Reynolds chooses Astaire over Crosby, leaving Crosby to make his holiday inn plans without her. Like a bad penny, Astaire turns up again, making a play for Crosby's new partner, Virginia Dale, creating issues as he becomes involved in the inn's increasing popularity. It's more of a serious plot than most original movie musicals of the time, but thanks to the intersection send great Berlin standards (and plenty of new material as well), even the blackfaced "Abraham" which really celebrates the end of slavery even with the tactless stereotypes popularized in minstrel shows. The success of this lead to a second Astaire/Crosby pairing ("Blue Skies") but other than more of that great Irving Berlin American songbook, it was quite a disappointment.
I don't care when this film was made its wrong to perform in black face. Yes we are in a more politically correct society but that this is still insulting. I am sure it was insulting to black people when this film was made. Saying the "N-Word" was okay at one time but now its not! Just because things were once okay doesn't mean its okay now. I am not for censorship and I think this film should be seen by people who want to see it but I think a warning should of been put on the DVD before we started watching. I had no idea there was a "Black Face Number". Maybe there was more? I had to turn it off. My Grand children are black.
This is the movie that White Christmas is very loosely based on. The only real similarities are two guys, one of which is Bing Crosby, two girls, the white Christmas song, and an inn. It pretty much stops there.Now let me say this, I kind of get that a movie from 1942 might have some racist things in it. I understand it was a different time, and I can deal with the small stuff, but this movie doesn't have just small stuff. It has a musical number with a full on BLACK FACE routine by Bing Crosby, Marjorie Reynolds and half the wait staff. Not to mention the mammy character.The movie isn't all that bad otherwise, but I really feel like when you go searching for holiday films, there should be a note in a review somewhere clearly warning you about these things, so you don't spend your money renting or buying something as purely awful as this.
Singer/composer Jim (Bing Crosby) has the modest ambition of a combination hostelry/show venue, open for just 15 days a year: the public holidays, where there will be a show for each holiday. As the act breaks up, he discovers that his more ambitious partner, dancer Ted (Fred Astaire) has successfully lured away dance partner Lila who Jim had expected to accompany him. After a while starting his establishment alone, Jim finds himself in the company of talented singer/dancer Linda (Marjorie Reynolds) and romance develops. Then Ted arrives back on the scene...Holiday Inn is a slight romantic musical comedy featuring the pairing of Crosby and Astaire, and a bunch of songs by Irving Berlin. What could go wrong? Not much, actually. This monochrome period piece (a nicely colourised version is available) trundles along exactly as expected, with songs, dances, chuckles and music in all the right places, and winning performances from all concerned. It almost seems a shame to raise criticisms.Apart from the picky point of "No wonder he's losing money when you look at the cost of the production value he's putting on stage for a single night," there are two main criticisms. One, the songs (many of which are themed for a particular holiday) come from the weaker end of the Irving Berlin songbook. And, two, the Lincoln number, delivered in blackface, demonstrates the casual and more or less inadvertent racial attitudes of the era fairly embarrassingly.Against this, of course, the film introduces the monumental White Christmas, against which no criticism can stand!