on November 20, 2002
My dad was always making sure I knew that the song "White Christmas" originated in this film, and not the Crosby/Kaye movie named "White Christmas", so that's the first trivia question answer about "Holiday Inn". The other interesting tidbit is that the hotel chain "Holiday Inn" was named for this movie! Seems the owner saw the movie and thought it was a good name for the new hotels he was opening up, and presto! There you go.
It's an easy enough plot line: Bing and Fred used to be partnered with a gal engaged to Bing, but she throws him over to be with Fred. Bing, a performer fed up with working so hard, retreats to a farm and eventually dreams up the idea of an inn which is ONLY open on holidays, giving him the rest of the year to loaf around. Aspiring entertainer Marjorie Reynolds shows up on Christmas just on cue to be serenaded with "White Christmas", and things look pretty cozy for them pretty fast. But complications arise when the now-jilted Fred turns up at the inn on New Year's, and the gal chase is on again, but now after Bing's new star/girlfriend. Jealousy plays a few tricks on everyone before every Jack gets the proper Jill by movie's end.
A few of the other reviewers say that the film is marred by the Lincoln's birthday number Bing leads in blackface. While I agree that the segment unfortunately makes the movie one with a limited audience in today's more racially charged atmosphere, I think a bigger problem with the movie is...Bing himself! Yep, I don't think Bing is a very nice fellow in the movie, even though Fred is supposed to be the cad, as one reviewer put it. When Bing gets wind of Fred's interest in the new gal as a dancing partner (before any protestations of love, mind you), Bing immediately begins to dissemble and lie to prevent Marjorie Reynolds from having her big break. His proposal to her on Lincoln's Birthday is somewhat lackluster, and then when Fred asks him about the engagement, Bing backpedals and says basically that he's not engaged. Uhm, that kind of behavior would make Bing a bum, not a hero. Let's face it: he deserves to have his girlfriend walk out on him! Even when he finally goes to Hollywood to win Marjorie back, it's only to cramp her style and make her give up her burgeoning movie career to return to his lazy lifestyle at the inn. There should be recriminations for the Bing character, and there are not.
Lest you think that I hate "Holiday Inn", let me assure you that that's not the case. Bing always is a good performer, and Fred makes even the most difficult numbers seem effortless--check out the firecracker dance on July 4th! It was a bit wild to see the superpatriotic song of the Freedom Man, done by Bing with his big ole Uncle Sam hat because of the sudden interpolation of the armed forces footage, culminating in images of MacArthur and FDR. Just in case anyone was doubting whether the film came from the war years, y'know! All of us watching the movie thought it a shame that Marjorie Reynolds didn't really catch on, because she's quite cute in many shots and she is more graceful with Fred than the other lady who earlier jettisoned Bing.
Final verdict? "Holiday Inn" is pretty good still, though the blackface number may offend some viewers and Bing's character is not exactly a white hat himself. Have a happy holiday with Bing and Fred down at the inn!
on January 26, 2000
Holiday Inn is a great movie for holidays, especially Christmas, and quite fun and cheerful. It's also a movie with a lot of internal contrasts.
Portions of Holiday are quite sophisticated and surprisingly modern; the self-referential movie subplot is nicely tongue-in-cheek and wouldn't look at all out of place in a modern film.
Quite a lot of it is naive and highly sentimental, particularly the love triangle and the traditional holidays. Astaire and Crosby almost make you believe in chivalry. And Bing Crosby singing White Christmas is enough to give anyone a memory transfusion - you'll find yourself remembering idyllic Christmases past. Even if they didn't actually happen. Even if you don't actually celebrate Christmas.
And, of course, one part of is totally enmeshed in the nasty political and moral sensibilities of its time. That would be the treatment of the blacks in this movie, with a special emphasis on the song for Lincoln's Birthday. This is the part of the film that requires a step back and a very deep breath. Yes, it's horribly insulting and rather degrading; there are lines that will make anyone born after 1950 squirm with discomfort. It's also very typical of the time in which the movie was made. If you aren't capable of accepting that, you will hate this movie. Don't bother with it.
On the other hand, if you're willing to forgive the past its faults, this is a really sweet movie - with just enough wit to guard against total sugar overdose.
on November 17, 1999
The holidays just wouldn't be the same without this great old movie. The music is great and so is the dancing (Of course, it's Astaire!) Watching this movie makes you warm and comfy like your favorite old sweater. I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 due to the fact that this "favorite old sweater" has a few nasty stains on it with the portrait of the maid and her children,and blackface number on Lincoln's Birthday which are a disappointingly offensive part of Hollywood's racist history. As long as you don't let those stupid parts spoil it for you the rest of movie is fun and truly enjoyable. I'd like a home just like the Inn where a full stage just sorta appears when you need one! And how 'bout a job like Bing's character where you just have to sing and dance 10 or 12 days a year?
on July 3, 2000
What would Christmas be without this wonderful movie? Bing Crosby, at his zenith of fame, sings the Irving Berlin classic, "White Christmas" and throws in several other dandy songs to boot. Fred Astaire also dances his famous "firecracker" routine which is possibly his greatest solo dance in any movie. Astaire's incredibly versatility and atheleticism are showcased throughout this movie.
"Holiday Inn" has everything: humor, great songs, Astaire's timeless dancing, Bing's inimitable baritone and it's guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.
on November 1, 2001
I like this movie, Holiday Inn, because its a musical,
has tapdancing, and is fun to watch! However, it's
not my favorite, but I still like it. In this movie,
Bing Crosby and Fred Astair are the main characters.
Jim, (Bing Crosby) wants to open a inn in his home.
He says that it only opens on holidays. He performs shows
on New Year, George Washington's birthday, Abraham
Lincoln's birthday, Valentine's Day, Easter Sunday,
Independence Day, and Christmas. This movie was
enjoyable for me, and I really liked it!