Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Special: Holiday Inn

Holiday Inn (1942)

Bing Crosby (as Jim Hardy) plays a song and dance man who leaves showbiz to run an inn that is open only on holidays. Fred Astaire (as Ted Hanover) plays his former partner and rival in love. Follow the two talented pals as they find themselves competing for the affections of the same lovely lady (Marjorie Reynolds as Linda Mason).

My Thoughts
This film always reminds me of my G'ma, because she was a big fan and the first (and I think only) time I've ever seen this movie before was with her. It's another oldie but goodie that I believe this time of year just calls for. Two of the greats work together to make one of the most enjoyable films of all time.

It always takes me a second to get used to black and films, but once I get used to it, I don't even notice it anymore. I think it adds to the movies authenticity a little, too, when the movie has been around as long as this one has. Makes it seem even more like a "classic".

Who would you pick if Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby were fighting over you?!? (Mostly directed toward the female readers...but guys can pick, too, if they want...)
Personally, I'd vote for Bing Crosby!

Watching Jim be 'lazy' makes me never want to be lazy again...that is not what I picture when I think of a lazy retirement...But I guess it is what I think of when I hear "farm", so why did he think a farm would be lazy??

I love the idea of a Holiday Inn. I don't know if they would make enough money to keep it going, but I think the novelty of it would be worth a visit.

Sometimes I wish I could dance like the people in these movies, but only if I don't have to wear the heels...And just thinking about the amount of time they must spend dancing makes me tired. I think I'll stick with the macarena and the chicken dance...

I could listen to Bing Crosby sing "White Christmas" all day long. Though it did kind of bother me that he's playing a piano during the first "White Christmas" scene and there's no piano to be heard. It's still a beautiful sound, but I'd rather hear the piano...

Jim and Ted start out the movie fighting over one girl (Lila Dixon, played by Virginia Dale), and then they start fighting over another girl (Linda)! Somebody needs to make up their mind...Watching Fred Astaire dance drunkenly is fairly entertaining, though. He's still better than most of the guys I know! It was a comedy routine that he didn't know he was in, which just makes it all the funnier.

I'm very impressed that he could make an entire night's routine out of some of these holidays...Lincoln's Birthday?
I wonder if engagements really came and went that easily in the 40s. Jim's engaged to Lila, then Lila's engaged to Ted, then Jim's engaged to Linda...geesh. What did I say about making up your mind??

Black face has always weirded me out. That's one thing I'm glad I missed in entertainment. And did they really call cars 'horseless carriages'? I mean, I guess it makes sense, I just never heard that one before. Interesting...

I wish Bing Crosby would write a song just for me! I wish people still sang like that...I'm pretty sure not even Fred Astaire would be able to steal me :-) And why would you just break someone's prop like that?!? And just assume that you can stick your act in with someone else's place? Ted's a little stuck on himself, I think...not a great friend in this one. I don't know if we're supposed to like Ted or not, but I most certainly do not. He doesn't see anything wrong with trying to steal his friend's fiancee...and while Jim's sitting right there, too! Oy...

Once again...boys are silly. Sure Ted's trying to steal the girl, and sure he might actually be able to do it with a career in Hollywood staring her in the face...but that doesn't mean you should try to trick everyone so that she stays! Could you just tell the girl everything and trust her for once! Goodness never works out the way it's supposed to anyway...except in the movies, they always figure it out in the end.

The Hollywood montage may start to make you a little dizzy before we get to Thanksgiving, but at least the dresses are really pretty. And the Thanksgiving cartoon is entertaining...poor little confused turkey. Just stay on the wrong date and maybe you'll make it next year's Thanksgiving! :-)

All the way back around to Christmas Eve again. A Christmas movie with two whole Christmases in it! It's mostly a romance story, but it has easily become a Christmas classic. One of the few that you could watch year round, though. A movie for any holiday.

Random Facts
Marjorie Reynolds' singing was dubbed by Martha Mears. Martha also did the singing for such stars as Hedy Lamarr, Rita Hayworth, Lucille Ball, Audrey Totter and Veronica Lake. You didn't really think these fine actresses were doing their own singing, did you??

The animated Thanksgiving sequence is a topical reference to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's failed attempt to change the date of the holiday.

The script originally called for a Labor Day dance number, "This Is a Great Country."

For the "drunk" dance, Fred Astaire had two drinks of bourbon before the first take and one before each succeeding take. The seventh (last) take was used in the film...and then Fred was helped off-stage.

The firecracker dance sequence required 3 days of rehearsal and took two days to film. Fred Astaire's shoes for the dance were auctioned off for $116,000 worth of war bonds.

The proceeds from the New York City premiere went to the Navy Relief Society.

Some controversy surrounded the history of the song "White Christmas" when it was reported in a 1960 news item that Irving Berlin wrote the song in 1938, which would have made it ineligible for an Academy Award nomination. But a biography and modern sources agree it was written for this film, and the sheet music has a 1942 copyright date.

The first public performance of the song "White Christmas" was by Bing Crosby on his NBC radio show "The Kraft Music Hall" on Christmas Day 1941, during the middle of filming Holiday Inn, which was released seven months later. The song went on to become one of the biggest selling songs in the history of music. This was the first of three films to feature Crosby singing "White Christmas".

When Irving Berlin won an Oscar for his song "White Christmas" from this movie, he became the first artist to present himself with an Academy Award.

Until 1997, "White Christmas" was the best selling music single ever. It was passed at that time by "Goodbye, England's Rose", the Elton John rework of "Candle in the Wind" done for Princess Diana's funeral.

The set of the Holiday Inn was reused by Paramount twelve years later for the musical White Christmas, also starring Bing Crosby and again with songs composed by Irving Berlin.

Bing Crosby's original "Rhythm Boys" partner Harry Barris plays the orchestra leader in the nightclub scenes. Also making cameo appearances are Irving Berlin as a New York City flower store manager and Bob Crosby and His Orchestra. Bob, of course, was the younger brother of Bing.

Kemmons Wilson, who founded the "Holiday Inn" motel chain in 1952, named them after this movie.

Mary Martin stated in her autobiography that she had to turn down the role of Linda Mason in this film (which eventually led to the termination of her contract at Paramount) because she was pregnant.

A turning point in the life of Alan Sues, a regular on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, was an unauthorized visit to Paramount Studios as a teenager when he jumped a fence and watched a scene being filmed for the movie Holiday Inn.

Holiday Inn was filmed at the original Holiday Inn in Monte Rio, California, and in Sonoma County, California. The Monte Rio Holiday Inn is still in business today, operating under the name Village Inn & Restaurant.

The Lincoln's Birthday celebration features the musical sequence "Abraham", in which Bing Crosby and Marjorie Reynolds appear in blackface. It is often deleted from television showings because some have deemed it archaic and racially offensive.

World War II was raging at the time. Thus, Bing Crosby takes to the stage and performs "Song of Freedom", a patriotic flag-waver saluting President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Four Freedoms and the American Armed Forces.

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