In 1942, Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby teamed up at Der Bingle's Paramount Pictures for Holiday Inn
, a black-and-white musical that proves more entertaining than Crosby's color semi-remake White Christmas
in 1954. Astaire and Crosby play partner/rival song-and-dance men who compete for the hand of their performing partner, played by Virginia Dale. After Crosby loses, he moves to the Connecticut countryside where he creates a resort that is only open on holidays and puts on the shows with the help of Marjorie Reynolds. Dumped by Dale, Astaire makes a drunken arrival at the inn on New Year's Eve and dances with Reynolds. He decides she'll be his new partner, but doesn't remember what she looks like, setting off a frenzied search at every subsequent show while the once-bitten Crosby does his best to steer him off track. The theme gives Irving Berlin an excuse to craft or recycle a number of holiday-themed songs, such as (in the former category) "Washington's Birthday" or (in the latter) "Easter Parade." The most famous of the new material, of course, is "White Christmas," which became one of the bestselling songs of all time and the title song of Crosby's 1954 film. Astaire and Crosby also team up for "I'll Capture Her Heart," which playfully contrasts the stars' specialties, and Astaire's "It's So Easy to Dance with You" became one of the signature songs of his post-Ginger Rogers career. Astaire and Crosby teamed up again for Blue Skies
in 1946. --David Horiuchi
On the DVD
"A Couple of Song and Dance Men" is a 45-minute conversation between author-historian Ken Barnes and Ava Astaire McKenzie, Fred's daughter, recapping the careers of Astaire and Crosby. It's a bit wooden, but not without charm, and has some interesting early footage, chiefly of Crosby (presumably because of studio rights issues). There's also a seven-minute discussion of how sound has been recorded for movie musicals, and specifically how it was done for Holiday Inn's "I'll Capture Her Heart." Barnes's commentary track offers bits of trivia (they had originally wanted Ginger Rogers for one of the roles, and yes, the title inspired the hotel chain) and incorporates some archival quotes by Astaire and Crosby. The remastered picture is a noticeable improvement over the earlier double-feature DVD, which paired Holiday Inn with Crosby's Going My Way. --David Horiuchi
Holiday Inn remains one of the most popular musical films of all-time. Filled with dancing, singing and humour, the film features Academy Award-winning music including "White Christmas", one of the best-selling records in music history. Now, for the first time ever, Holiday Inn is available in an all-new Special Edition! Loaded with bonus materials and a digitally remastered picture, Holiday Inn Special Edition is the perfect gift this holiday season!
A Couple of Song and Dance Men Featurette; All Singing-All Dancing Featurette ; Audio Commentary with Film Historian Ken Barnes & Archive Audio Comments from Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby and John Scott Trotter; Original Theatrical Trailer.