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Christmas Holiday (1944)

 -  Crime | Drama | Film-Noir  -  30 June 1944 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 658 users  
Reviews: 30 user | 17 critic

A young femme fatale-type woman realizes that the wealthy man she married is an incorrigible wastrel.

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(novel), (written for the screen by)
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Title: Christmas Holiday (1944)

Christmas Holiday (1944) on IMDb 6.7/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Jackie Lamont / Abigail Martin
...
Robert Manette
Richard Whorf ...
Simon Fenimore
Dean Harens ...
Lt. Charles Mason
...
Valerie De Merode
...
Mrs. Manette
David Bruce ...
Gerald Tyler
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Storyline

A young femme fatale-type woman realizes that the wealthy man she married is an incorrigible wastrel.

Add Full Plot | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Durbin... In her most dramatic glory. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

30 June 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

W. Somerset Maugham's Christmas Holiday  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on September 17, 1945 with David Bruce reprising his film role. See more »

Goofs

After Robert breaks out of jail, the newspaper spells his last name as "Mannette", however the spelling of the last name in the end credits is "Manette". See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Corporal: [to the soldiers] You are now about to become Officers of the Army of the United States.
See more »

Soundtracks

Always
by Irving Berlin
Performed by Deanna Durbin (uncredited)
Copyright MCMXXV by Irving Berlin, Inc. (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

Some Kind of Strange Christmas
20 February 2011 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

Pairing sunny star Deanna Durbin with stormy director Robert Siodmak is like coupling Snow White with Orson Welles. So who's going to win out—Universal's top money earner or noir's artistic vision. It's a struggle between luminous halos, on one hand, and creepy shadows, on the other. Actually the odd pairing works pretty well, thanks to Durbin's genuine acting ability, Gene Kelly's subtle ambiguity, and an unusually suggestive script. Clearly, Durbin is looking to change her virginal type casting, while Kelly has yet (I believe) to settle into his premier dancing career.

But, it's really Kelly's Manette who steals the film, with both a startlingly sly performance and the script's unconventional suggestions of incest and homosexuality. For example, there's a rather emphatic reference to Manette's being his mother's "all", plus mom's (Sondergaard) consuming attachment throughout the film. There's also repeated reference to Manette's "weakness", just ambiguous enough to go beyond a gambling habit. Couple that with his shaded behavior in several scenes, especially in the "anything goes" gambling den. Needless to say, such forbidden themes could only be hinted at in 40's Hollywood.

Adding to the 40's exotica is Durbin playing what amounts to a barroom hooker. She may remain pure at heart—confirmed in the midnight mass scene—nonetheless, the role amounts to a risky departure for Universal's teen idol. Thus director Siodmak's challenge is to reaffirm Abigail's (Durbin) basic innocence no matter what else happens, which he does through selective cameo lighting, even though that conflicts with his noirish sensibility. Then too, Dean Haren's sweetly normal escort is there to reassure fans that underneath it all, Durbin remains Durbin.

And to think the studio entitled this odd excursion into the dark side, Christmas Holiday, of all things. I sympathize with unsuspecting fans plunking down money to see the usual Durbin fluff. Nevertheless, the movie remains a fascinating study in conflicting styles and ambiguous characterization.


9 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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