Stars: Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Marjorie Reynolds, Virginia Dale, Walter Abel.
Director: Mark Sandrich
Screenplay: Claude Binyon
The good old Hollywood holiday classic which not only has charm but embarrassing racism, yet sometimes you must forgive a film that is simply an example of its time. Bing sings what is possibly the most famous Christmas carol, White Christmas—oh boy does that now sound racist, Astaire dances while intoxicated, and the film trollops through not only the most notable American holidays but also Lincoln Day and Washington's Birthday... But Christmas is not the same without watching Holiday Inn.
The plot centres around Jim Hardy (Bing Crosby) wanting to settle down and enjoy the simple life in the country on a farm. After his fiancé leaves him for Ted Hanover (Fred Astaire) as she herself does not want to give up her dancing career Jim finds out just how un-relaxing farming can be. So instead of farming he converts his farm into the Holiday Inn that only opens on calendar holidays.
This gives the film plenty of excuses to come up with songs for all the in between holidays where Bing can sing along and Astaire can dance to. There are a few forgettable songs, one is quite memorable for Lincoln Day, but sadly that is because Jim decides it must be performed in blackface—a ruse to hide Bing's love interest from fiancé stealing Astaire. The film then flows through the holiday seasons with Hanover visiting the Holiday Inn and trying to find the girl (Linda, played by Marjorie Reynolds) he danced with on New Years Eve that happens to be in love with Hardy.
The middle section is a tad meandering which means I usually lose focus every time I watch it, but the beginning and ending is strong and nicely bookended by the song White Christmas.
Until next year Holiday Inn!