Holiday Inn (1942)
My Classic Movie Monday is a bit late this week, but I couldn’t let this week pass without writing about “Holiday Inn”!
This is my third favorite Christmas movie of all time. And hey, it’s another Crosby film! We do love him at our house. I remember watching this as a kid and hating – absolutely hating – Fred Astaire. You see, in the movie, Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire play part of a song and dance trio. Bing Crosby is engaged to the third member of the trio (played by Virginia Dale), and he thinks that they’re going to quit show business and live a quiet life on a farm. But no, Fred Astaire and Virginia Dale are actually in love, and carrying on a relationship behind Bing’s back! Bing finds out on Christmas Eve, and decides to quit the trio anyway. He turns his farm into an inn that’s only open on holidays. On New Year’s Eve, Fred finds out that Virginia is two-timing him, so he heads off to the inn and promptly makes a play for Bing’s new girl.
I remember hating Fred Astaire so much for always stealing Bing’s girl. Not the character played by Astaire, mind you, but the actual actor. As a child I didn’t know that the actor and character were different, so for a long time I didn’t watch any of Astaire’s other films. My mom still laughs about this now. But don’t think this is a sordid film about cheating, because that part of it is handled so light-heartedly. Besides, it’s an Irving Berlin holiday movie, so there’s no negative vibe at all.
If I want to live in the “Meet Me In St. Louis” house, I want to vacation at the Holiday Inn (not the hotel, though that was named after the movie). But the farm/inn is just too beautiful for words, with a high ceiling and wide beams, big and airy rooms, a huge kitchen, wide staircases and window seats everywhere. Uuuuggghhhh. I’m lost for words. I could just imagine vacationing here and going on weekends, sipping hot cocoa by the fire or reading a book on the window seat. But there’d have to be WiFi and cable.
This film introduced us to the classic “White Christmas” and reused “Easter Parade”. (It’s funny how they reused songs for movies back then, isn’t it?) There’s a song for every holiday, and each one is just wonderful. (Although there’s no Halloween celebration, what’s up with that? Was it not a holiday back then?) The number performed by the trio in the beginning of the film, “I’ll Capture Your Heart Singing”, is all about how Bing is good at singing but terrible at dancing, while of course Fred is an amazing dancer but a horrible singer. They reworked it for the ending, which is a nice touch. Because of course it’s a happy ending for all – Bing gets his girl (Marjorie Reynolds), and they love running the inn and living a simple life, while Fred gets back together with Virginia Dale and they continue as dance partners.
This is such a funny and entertaining film, and because it’s my third favorite holiday movie, whenever I watch this it means that Christmas is almost upon us! I time my Christmas moviefest so that I watch my favorites as close to the 25th as possible. And it just leaves you with the warm fuzzies anyway, so really it’s win-win!