A singer and a dancer compete for the affections of an
up-and-comer at an inn that's only open on holidays.
Holiday Inn (1942)
Directed by Mark Sandrich
Written by Claude Binyon
Starring Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Marjorie Reynolds,
Virginia Dale, Walter Abel, Louise Beavers
Oscar Wins - Best Original Song (White Christmas)
Oscar Nominations - Best Original Story, Best Original Score (Robert Emmett Dolan)
Holiday Inn is widely regarded as a Christmas masterpiece. It's got the rare 100% Rotten Tomatoes score, and it's the source of two timeless holiday classics, "Happy Holiday" and "White Christmas." However, I think everyone who praises this movie constantly needs to take another good long look, because I don't think they've seen it in decades. If they have seen it, it was probably on a TV broadcast, which has the lengthy blackface "Lincoln" segment cut out. Yep, that was the clincher for me. Add to that a blatant disregard for character development or just the simple way people react to betrayal, and you have an absolute mess of a film that is only so highly regarded because we got "White Christmas" out of it.
Jim (Crosby) and Ted (Astaire) are good friends who are constantly screwing each other over and stealing each other's girlfriends. Yet, for some reason, they remain friends the entire time. After Ted steals Jim's fiancée Lila (Dale), Jim moves to Connecticut to establish an inn that's only open for holidays throughout the year. He hires talented Linda (Reynolds) to be his singing and dancing partner. He falls for her, and she for him, but one night Ted shows up drunk and dances with her, then decides to steal her for his act. Throughout all of this bickering and treating women like trophies, we get probably the most offensive shit I've ever seen in a musical, which is Crosby and Reynolds in blackface singing about Abraham Lincoln. It's hard to watch, and completely destroys the movie, but it wasn't exactly a winner to begin with.
Holiday Inn needs to be reevaluated. It's hardly a classic, and it's certainly not a good movie. It's poorly written and mind-bogglingly offensive. 1954's White Christmas would steal almost the entire plot, which is already bland and forgettable. Apart from the songs that came out of these movies, there's very little to keep anyone from going back to them. This one especially is a dud that's all churched up with catchy music.