BY AMBER KELLY-ANDERSON
The gist: Fed up with working year round, crooner Jim Hardy (Bing Crosby) longs to retired to the country life with lady love and partner, Lila Dixon (Virginia Dale), only to discover she’s smitten with the third party in their act, hoofer Ted Hanover (Fred Astaire). After discovering the work required to run a farm, Hardy turns it into a supper club, Holiday Inn, open holidays only, where he woos shop girl turned star Linda Mason (Marjorie Reynolds). When the newly single Hanover arrives on the scene, Hardy must fight to keep both Hanover and Hollywood from snatching Linda away.
Naughty or nice: A nice look at the holidays kissed with delightful tunes by Irving Berlin. Even Astaire’s roguish turn as Hanover lacks any bite to his villainy. Some versions cut out the not-so-nice black face number in honour of Lincoln’s birthday.
Why it gets us in the spirit: As the name implies, this isn’t just a Christmas movie, it’s the holiday movie that takes the viewer on a year-long journey of holiday-themed tunes and performances.
Magic moment: Since the film’s defining moment is described below, Fred Astaire’s solo Fourth of July tap dance featuring a lit cigarette (which spends part of the dance dangling effortlessly from his mouth) and pockets full of fire crackers takes a close second. Talk about bang.
Santa sighting: Baby New Year and Father Time, George Washington period costumes, and an animated turkey but no fellow in red.
Accompanying carol: While Crosby and Danny Kaye’s movie White Christmas is most commonly associated with the song of the same name, it made its debut in this film. Crosby’s much less cheesy performance in Holiday Inn features him singing it at a piano to the woman he’s destined to love as snow falls outside. The simple visual coupled with his incomparable voice are reminders of not only why the song is a classic, but also of that lovely childhood dream of snow on Christmas (at least when a girl grows up in snow-free Texas).
Perfect present for: The classic film lover, your grandparents, or families who want something sweet and family-oriented but are scared of claymation.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qa6Eyfx0mE]