Getting into the holiday spirit is easy, especially with movies like Holiday Inn.
In this picture, Ted Hanover (played by Fred Astaire) and Jim Hardy (played by Bing Crosby) are part of a singing and dancing trio with the lovely Lisa Dixon (played by Virginia Dale). Both guys are in love with Lila, but she’s in love with one just a little bit more than the other. However, she just so happens to have agreed to live on a little Connecticut farm with the other. Behind Jim’s back and with the help of their manager, Ted and Lila ditch Jim and break out as a dancing duo on their own.
Jim’s farm isn’t as profitable as planned and he creates a plan to turn it into a holiday inn. He goes to see his old friends show, and meets the lovely Linda Mason (played by Marjorie Reynolds). Upon returning to the inn, Jim is surprised to find Linda there, as it turns out his old manager gave the former flower shop girl the floor show job there. Romance blossoms between the two and the new Holiday Inn prospers.
Their happiness is short lived when a intoxicated Ted shows up at the door of the inn, ditches by Lila for a Texan millionaire. Chaos ensues as yet again, Ted and Jim go head to head for the same girl.
I love this movie and all of Irving Berlin’s music. “Be Careful, It’s My Heart” is a touching number, and “The Easter Parade” can be heard in a later film where Astaire came out of retirement to star in with Judy Garland after an injured Gene Kelly could no longer take the role. And one little tidbit that makes me as a huge big band fan was to hear Bob Crosby (Bing Crosby’s younger brother, born in 1913) and the Bobcats as the band in the movie.
“What brings you on this bright and uninviting day?” ~Jim Hardy
What makes this film so iconic though, is possibly Berlin’s most famous and well-known tune, “White Christmas”. It’s gentle, sweet, endearing, and melts one’s heart. The lyrics are ingenious and the sights of children peeping out the window and the gentle snowfall on a cold winter night come naturally. Ironically enough, this was not the expected big hit song. Many, in fact, believed “Be Careful, It’s My Heart” would be the show stopping number. Surprisingly, “White Christmas” came out on top, and I am privileged to say I own a 1942 copy of the song, war bond stamp and all.
One of my favorite parts is when Jim goes to Hollywood and we get to see the sound stage with the inn in it and the camera crew “filming” the movie. It gives you a real taste of how pictures were made.
Is this the highest quality movie I’ve ever seen? No, but is it still one of the best? Yes, and it’s well deserved. Fred Astaire took shots between takes of his dance with Majorie Reynolds, making his dance real. There is so much talent in such a heartwarming and comedic movie. I recommend it wholeheartedly and because of its holiday theme, it can be watched anytime of the year, but it is especially good during the holidays.
Get in the holiday spirit with Holiday Inn!