‘Holiday Inn’ (Film)

 holiday inn dvd

‘HOLIDAY INN’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

Welcome to Holiday Inn

For my Dad.

The ‘Holiday Inn’ 1-disc DVD from December 2008

My Dad loves this Christmas movie!

He’s into his jazz and nostalgia music from the 1920s, 30s and 40s. I love this Christmas movie too! I like some of the music featured in it and I love watching ‘Holiday Inn’ at around Christmas time. This should certainly be a movie to add to your Christmas viewing list. I cherish watching this every year. 🙂

‘Holiday Inn’ is a 1942 American musical film that features Irving Berlin’s music and stars Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. It’s a charming, romantic-comedy film based on a simple premise of a man running an inn, except the inn opens only on the official holidays themselves throughout the year in America.

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As I said, I enjoy watching this film every Christmas. It contains some lovely performances from the cast and there are some catchy easy-to-sing songs in the film that people cherish every year. These include well-known songs such as ‘White Christmas’ and ‘Easter Parade’ composed by Mr. Irving Berlin.

‘Holiday Inn’ was released on DVD as a 1-disc edition before it was re-released on a 2-disc Special Edition. The 2-disc Special Edition DVD of ‘Holiday Inn’ contains two versions of the film. There’s the original black-and-white version from 1942 on Disc 1 and there’s a new colourised version on Disc 2.

The film’s story is about two song-and-dance men in America. They’re Bing Crosby as Jim Hardy and Fred Astaire as Ted Hanover. They’ve both been in the song-and-dance business for some time. Jim sings whilst Ted dances. On the night of their last show, Jim finds Ted’s in love with singer Lila Dixon.

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Ted and Lila want to continue doing show business while Jim goes ahead with his idyllic plans to live on a farm. When that fails, Jim decides to turn his farm into an inn – ‘Holiday Inn’. Taking a chance with his great idea, Jim has some help from a flower shop girl, Linda Mason, to run the inn with him.

I love the idyllic feel of ‘Holiday Inn’ as the jaunty musical aspects of the movie shine throughout. I also love the comedy moments throughout the movie as well as the song and dance routines between Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire as their characters. The idea for ‘Holiday Inn’ is very good too.

It’s clever to have a story about an inn open for public holidays only – that’s 15 for America in the annual year. As well as having Christmas in the year, there’s also New Year’s Day, Lincoln’s Birthday, St Valentine’s Day, Washington’s Birthday, Easter Sunday, Independence Day and Thanksgiving Day.

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I love how each of the holidays are preceded by a calendar in the year. My favourite is the Thanksgiving one. A cartoon turkey gets confused on which date in November is Thanksgiving Day, since he keeps going back and forth between the third and fourth Thursdays which was funny indeed.

I like the combination of Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire as a musical comedy duo. They bounce off each other very well in terms of singing, dancing and performances in the film. They must have been really good friends when making ‘Holiday Inn’ since it clearly shows when they work together.

I enjoyed Bing Crosby in this musical movie. He comes across as a great performer in terms of acting and singing. I’ve seen Crosby in a number of films over the years with encouragement from my Dad and also when we used to visit my Nana at her house as she loved the classic 1940s musical movies.

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I enjoyed the character of Jim Hardy played by Crosby. Jim tries to live a lazy life before turning his farm into ‘Holiday Inn’. He’s easily heartbroken when his friend Ted steals a girl he’s in love with like Linda Mason. Jim tries to tolerate it at first, but he hopes to win Linda Mason’s heart at the film’s end.

I’m impressed with Crosby’s balance of comedy and drama in his performance as Jim during the film. Crosby has a very good singing voice that makes its mark, especially with some of the song numbers that I’ve enjoyed. These include Bing singing ‘White Christmas’; ‘Easter Parade’ and ‘Song of Freedom’.

I also enjoyed Fred Astaire as Ted Hanover in the movie. Astaire is well-known for his dancing and he both dances and sings extremely well in the film. He’s done plenty of films with Ginger Rogers as his singing/dancing partner before and after ‘Holiday Inn’. I did like Astaire’s character of Ted in this.

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Ted Hanover is a great contrast to Jim Hardy. Ted easily manages to win the heart of every girl he meets as his dance partner, which easily annoys Jim. I like some of the dance numbers that Mr. Astaire performs in the film. These numbers include dancing with Lila Dixon for ‘You’re Easy To Dance With’.

Fred Astaire as Ted Hanover is also a very good dancer with Linda Mason when he’s drunk. There’s also a firework dance that Fred Astaire does for the Independence Day section of the movie. That must have been pretty dangerous for Fred Astaire to do when he filmed it for the ‘Holiday Inn’ movie.

The guest cast is equally good in the movie. There’s Marjorie Reynolds as Linda Mason, a potential love interest for Jim Hardy; Virginia Dale as Lila Dixon, Ted Hanover’s dancing partner and potential love interest; and Walter Abel as Danny Reed, Ted Hanover’s agent, who I found really funny in this.

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The movie’s songs are also very good and catchy to listen to. As well as the famous ‘White Christmas’ song, there’s ‘Easter Parade’ that was later used in the 1948 film ‘Easter Parade’ starring Fred Astaire and Judy Garland. There’s the New Year’s Day songs ‘Happy Holiday’ and ‘Let’s Start the New Year Right’.

There’s also the controversial blackface minstrel song called ‘Abraham’ for Lincoln’s Birthday. There’s also ‘Be Careful It’s My Heart’ for St Valentine’s Day; ‘Song of Freedom’ for Independence Day and ‘I’ve Got Plenty to Be Thankful For’ for Thanksgiving Day. These are well-loved songs from the movie.

‘Holiday Inn’ has had its own legacy following its release at the cinemas back in the 1940s. As well as the song ‘White Christmas’ getting its own film in 1954, there are Holiday Inns all around the world today. I keep seeing Holiday Inns in areas around the UK. There’s one close to where I live in Cardiff. 😀

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The DVD special features on the 2-disc Special Edition DVD of ‘Holiday Inn’ are as follows. On Disc 1, there’s the original black-and-white version of the film from 1942. There’s also the ‘A Couple of Song and Dance Men’ behind-the-scenes featurette with Ava Astaire-MacKenzie, Fred Astaire’s daughter. There’s ‘All Singing, All Dancing: Before & After’ which contains another interview with Ava Astaire-MacKenzie. There’s also an audio commentary on ‘Holiday Inn’ by film historian Ken Barnes with archive audio comments from Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby and composer/orchestrater John Scott Trotte. There’s also cast and crew profiles; production notes and a theatrical trailer for the ‘Holiday Inn’ film.

On Disc 2, there’s the brand-new colourised version of ‘Holiday Inn’ created by Legacy Films. I really enjoyed the colourised version of the film, as it felt fresh and new. It reminded me of the Laurel & Hardy films being colourised for VHS and DVD. Legacy Films have done an impressive job on this. There’s also a documentary on the making of the colourised version of ‘Holiday Inn’ called ‘Colouring a Classic’. It looks into how the film was colourised for the DVD using new technology. Jan Mucklestone, personal sketch artist of costume designer Edith Head, appears in this documentary.

holiday inn poster

‘Holiday Inn’ is a great nostalgic movie from the 1940s to watch over Christmas. I look forward to seeing this film with Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. I was very impressed when I watched the colour version of this Christmas film. ‘Holiday Inn’ is full of laughs; music and also has lots of fun to enjoy.

Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire rise with top performances as both actors and singers in this Christmas movie with songs and dance routines from Irving Berlin’s music. My Dad loves this Christmas movie as I do too. I’m sure you will too as I highly recommended purchasing the 2-disc Special Edition DVD.

‘Holiday Inn’ rating – 10/10


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Return to Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers
Return to Bing Crosby

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