I was all ready, getting the final touches ready to put up my review of It’s a Wonderful Life, for ‘Tis the Season Cinema with Lisa and Erin and I went over to Lisa’s blog to get the link for her review and saw that she’d reviewed Holiday Inn. It’s been that kind of week; it’s a wonder I get anything done correctly some days!
Anyway, because this is 2022, I went online to see where I could see Holiday Inn. I’m sure there are pirate sites that are easy enough to find, but I just went through Amazon for the “rental”. It’s the first time I’ve done that, and it worked out pretty well.
It’s no wonder that this isn’t the film that was the launching point for the success of the song “White Christmas”. It features a lot of music and dancing, which was more common in films made in 1942, and if that’s
There are a good number of similarities with White Christmas which was a ‘Tis the Season Cinema pick a couple of weeks ago, but where it’s similar, it’s not quite as good. Both have silly stories, but even though there’s some attempts at “manipulation”, amongst the characters in White Christmas, it’s more understandable, and everyone is portrayed as being pretty good at heart. (Though this isn’t the fault of the filmmakers, the fashion of the 1950s is so much more iconic and recognizable and still holds so much influence over women’s fashion today that even the women’s outfits, though beautiful, don’t seem as nice.)
This film, on the other hand, ends up with the five who are the main characters all being pretty manipulative of each other, and while the end may be the happy ending, I hardly know if it’s actually a “triumph of love”.
As in White Christmas, there’s the “show within a show” aspect. This time, though, each is holiday themed, as Jim (Bing Crosby’s character) wants to run a venue that is only open on the holidays. It may have been the case then, but talking about a farm in Connecticut made me chuckle. I realize that a fair amount of Connecticut is within the New York metro area (and some people even commute!) but to imagine that there was an area that was there that was so backwoods that it was hardly suitable to have cars on is a little wild.
The biggest thing, though, for modern audiences is the show for Lincoln’s Birthday. The number sung is an ode to “Abraham” sung by, I’m assuming, former slaves. The thing about this, though, is that Jim (Crosby) and Linda (Marjorie Reynolds) put on blackface to do it, and there’s even a scene where Jim helps put on Linda’s makeup. For that reason, I’m surprised that the movie is as widely available as it still is.
And that’s a whole can of worms these days. Growing up in the 80s and 90s, I would have never have dreamed of doing anything with blackface, and it shocks me to see people like Justin Trudeau, who is not all that much older than I am, in pictures partying with blackface on. That being said, this movie came out in 1942, and attitudes were different. Even with Linda’s over-the-top outfit for the number, it’s obvious that the film is not out to denigrate African-Americans. First of all, the freeing of the slaves is presented as a good thing, even among the elite of the film and theater industries – there’s no sarcastic comments about it or anything. The housekeeper is black, and nobody ever treats poorly or speaks down to her. In fact, her speaking her mind to Jim becomes the key to him chasing down his happiness.
In any case, this was a movie with excellent dancing, music, and acting, but a questionable premise and scenes that certainly haven’t aged well. It may be a movie I’d revisit sometime, but not for a very, very long time.
The thing with the calendar on Thanksgiving was hilarious though. Mind you, the film was released in 1942. In 1941, FDR declared that Thanksgiving was a national holiday and that it would be commemorated on the 4th Thursday of November. Before this, it had always been the last Thursday, and a good number of people resisted the change (done mainly to help Christmas sales – I kid you not). Therefore to see the turkey run back and forth between the dates was very amusing.
I am interested in Lisa and Erin’s takes… Once I hit “post”, I’ll go over and read their opinions, and you should too! Lisa’s review is here: https://lisahoweler.com/2022/12/08/tis-the-season-cinema-holiday-inn/ and Erin’s is here: https://crackercrumblife.com/2022/12/08/tis-the-season-cinema-holiday-inn/