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Leo Gogarty marries Margaud Morgan after a whirlwind romance just before shipping out to war. When he returns he is surprised to discover not only that his bride is not what she led him to ... See full summary »
Gregory La Cava
While waiting at a train station, Nikki Collins witnesses a murder from a nearby building. When she brings the police to the scene of the crime, they think she's crazy since there's no body... See full summary »
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A young woman at a girl's school in Switzerland makes up stories about and writes herself letters from an imaginary explorer-adventurer father; and is eventually put in a position where she... See full summary »
In this light and lovely romantic musical, a Hungarian woman(Deanna Durbin) attends a Viennese fair and buys a card from a gypsy fortune teller. It says that she will meet someone important... See full summary »
A perfumed but poisoned Christmas card from Siodmak, Durbin
Christmas Holiday, one of Robert Siodmak's early cluster of what would later be called film noir, is based on a W. Somerset Maugham story and a Herman J. Mankiewicz script. It's a triumph of casting against type. Gene Kelly is a scheming charmer prone to violence; his doting mom is Gale Sondergaard, for once not splaying her usual dragon-lady claws (at least not through most of her role). Most startling is the diminutive thrush Deanna Durbin, a pert presence and teen star in a number of 30s and 40s hits. Here she delivers a natural, nuanced performance that cleaves nicely between the exuberant ingenue of her early romance with Kelly (told in flashback) and the hardened torch-carrier she becomes. Her singing reflects these shadings, too: the winsome songbird warbles an early snatch of "Always;" a swacked, Chet-Bakerish chanteuse phones in "Spring will be a little late this year," while the reprise of "Always" turns into a heavy, torchy number. The plot's about a soldier stranded in New Orleans on Christmas Eve, after getting a Dear John wire from his fiancee; he ends up meeting Durbin in a roadhouse, and they swap stories after midnight Mass. Alas, Kelly has escaped from the pen at Angola with a mind to settle some scores. Maugham's chum Noel Coward once marvelled at how potent cheap music could be; this movie, like Jean Negulesco's Humoresque, ends with the strains of Wagner's Liebestod -- transcendent music cheaply used -- and, against your better instincts, you get sucked right in.
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