Tuesday, December 10, 2013

12 Days of Christmas Films: Holiday Inn {3}

I'm going to have to start being a bit more consistent with these Christmas movie reviews if I want to fit them all in before December 25th! :)

Next on the list is 1942's Holiday Inn. This movie gets a lot of comparisons to White Christmas...they both feature that song, both star Bing Crosby, they're set in inns that look very similar, etc. While I do love White Christmas (and it will be reviewed soon), Holiday Inn is my favorite of the two.

First of all, I'm always rather amazed by all of the holiday songs. Irving Berlin was a genius, you guys! Seriously...who else could write catchy, good songs about Thanksgiving and the 4th of July and George Washington's birthday? No one. I love all of the songs, actually, even the few that aren't holiday songs, like "I'll Capture Your Heart" and "You're Easy to Dance With." {By the way, apparently, out of all of the holiday songs, the one Irving Berlin struggled with the most was the Christmas one, because he was Jewish. The one he wrote was White Christmas, which, of course, was a huge hit.}

Maybe I should mention what the movie is about...Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, and a girl (I should know her name, but I don't. Her character's name is Lila) are a song and dance act. At the beginning of the film, Bing and the girl are planning on retiring from show business and going to live in the country. But it turns out Astaire and the girl are in love, and she agrees to ditch Bing and continue dancing with Astaire. Bing's character decides to go on with his plan and becomes a farmer in Connecticut, until he decides that's too much work. So he opens his big country house as "Holiday Inn," an inn that's open and offer shows only on holidays. And lots of other shenanigans (and singing and dancing) happen after that. :)

I love both Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, so I'm pretty happy with that casting. :) I'm very unfamiliar with the two female leads...I've never seen them in anything other than this film. They're very good in their roles, though. Anyway, I think Crosby and Astaire are great together. Obviously one is a better singer and the other is a better dancer, but they both do at least a bit of both in this film. One of my favorite musical numbers is the one they do together right at the beginning: "I'll Capture Your Heart." The lyrics are perfect for what's going on in the story at the time (though poor Bing doesn't realize yet just how true they are!), and it's just a fun number with Crosby explaining how he'll win the girl with his singing and Astaire claiming he will with his dancing.

Fred Astaire is so likable that it's hard to be mad at him despite the fact that he's basically trying to steal Bing Crosby's girl throughout the whole film. It's ironic because in most films, Bing Crosby is the one stealing the girls (the Road to... films with Bob Hope come to mind :). His dancing is, as always, pretty amazing. He's even incredibly graceful in the scene where his character is drunk. Of course, my favorite Astaire dance number in Holiday Inn is the 4th of July one...it's a solo dance with lots of firecrackers. It's incredible! 

Also, this is random, but isn't the inn lovely? It's so pretty...I'd love to stay there, especially if snow was falling outside those big windows. :) I think I even spotted a spinning wheel in the upstairs hallway in one scene!

Holiday Inn is a pretty classy musical, and like the best of musicals, it has great humor. There are quite a few witty one-liners and some funny situations. I like how Astaire and his manager go about trying to find the girl based on two things: what it's like to dance with her (Astaire danced with her but he was drunk and doesn't remember her) and what she looks like from behind (his manager caught a glimpse of her back when she was going up the stairs). Fred Astaire says, "This is terrible! I feel like a wolf!" I also love the scene where Bing is wryly responding to his own recording of the Thanksgiving song.

But my favorite scene is the very end of the film. I love it all from the moment Fred Astaire and his manager are saying, "What could possibly go wrong?" just at the moment when Bing is knocking on the hotel room door. I love all of the irony in that scene and how it's a film within a film. Plus, I do love happy endings.

So check out Holiday Inn this month if you haven't seen it before (or watch it again if you have!). It has a lot to offer: Christmas atmosphere, clever songs, Fred Astaire dancing, Bing Crosby singing, and a couple of really beautiful sparkly dresses. :)
Have you seen Holiday Inn before? Do you like it? White Christmas or Holiday Inn?


  1. Never have seen this one, but... I'm thinking I should watch it this year. Love White Christmas and Christmas in Connecticut (they're the best-est "oldies" in my estimation), both are those "nostalgic" kind of movies that I just love watching at this time of year. They're just... beautiful.

    Thanks for featuring all of these, Kristin. :)

  2. Love! Both Holiday Inn and White Christmas! I'm a diehard Bing fan, though. :)

  3. Yay, I loved your review! Sometimes after watching White Christmas, I feel like there's not much point watching Holiday Inn because they're so similar. But your review reminded me of all the things I love about Holiday Inn...especially near the end with the "What could go wrong?" scenario. :) I think I'll watch it one of these days soon.

    1. OH yeah, and I loved that you mentioned the "Road to..." movies. Road to Morocco was so my favorite of all those.

  4. Great review! I've absolutely loved Holiday Inn from the moment I first watched it five or so years ago! I grew up with White Christmas so I do like that one too by Holiday Inn wins for me!


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