In all the years of traditional Christmas movies, 'Holiday Inn' sorta stood out to me as a renowned Christmas classic that I've managed to overlook completely until now. A large reason for picking this title for a Christmas review is, indeed, to finally say that I've seen it.
I'll tell you right away that this wasn't entirely up my alley, and a particular, shall we say, uncomfortable musical number makes it incredibly dated in a pretty bad way. But before I get into things bear in mind that I can still respect the fact that there's a lot more to this film that makes it a classic in the eyes of many. Not the least of which is the music.
Fun fact for any newcomers, this one earned a Best Original Song Oscar, if you can believe it, 'White Christmas'. Y'know, the best selling single of all time according to Guinness? The one Christmas song you're 100% guaranteed to hear some version of around the holidays? And yes, the most popular version of the song is performed by Bing Crosby, who earned that Oscar with his performance. It's pretty well solidified in the history books.
Crooner Jim Hardy (Crosby) is crazy for a lovely singer and talented dancer, Linda Mason (Marjorie Reynolds). However, a suave dancer, and... friend?... to Jim, named Ted Hanover (Fred Astaire), recently brushed off by a devious vixen, Lila Dixon (Virginia Dale), cuts in and takes Linda out from under Jim's nose. As it all unfolds things get kinda complicated, but all in all, we're talking about a love triangle story unfolding with the setting as Jim's Holiday Inn - a supper club open for 15 holidays of the year.
Christmas is certainly the main focus here, but New Years, Lincoln's Birthday (*cringe*), Valentine's Day, Easter, the 4th of July, Thanksgiving, and several more are represented as the year unfolds. As one could imagine, the biggest star of this movie is the music. There's plenty of original songs here, written by the film's producer, Irving Berlin. Most of them have that nice, classic atmosphere you could only get with a classic film from the 40's, with plenty of great song and dance numbers, and plenty of heart despite a few dated uncomfortable moments here and there.
As I mentioned before, this isn't entirely up my alley, but I fully respect what it is, and the fact that it's a beloved and perhaps traditional film for many. I'm certainly not here to give it a bad review of any sort, I'm just very particular about my musicals. I generally want some off the wall comedy ('Cannibal the Musical'), or dream-like stuff ('La La Land') going on, and all the normalish, realistic stuff I find kinda "meh". That was sadly the case for me here, but it just goes to show that we're all very different in tastes. If you love this, I'm not gonna argue its quality or hold it against you in any way... but c'mon people, the Lincoln's Birthday scene would not fly these days.