Hmmm, I wonder of Tennessee Williams saw this in 1945 and wrote SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER as a riff on this astonishing incestuous masochistic noir. Universal's 1944 "Christmas Holiday"is a startling dark film that is quite explicit in its adult themes of prostitution, self punishment, sexual manipulation, incest and some quite twisted emotional ideas. It even has scenes similar to that same 1959 Taylor Montgomery Hepburn drama. Cleverly, Universal cast music stars Gene Kelly as the handsome spoiled son with the demon mother (Gale Sondergaard) and cherubic Deanna Durbin as the adoring slavish young woman that Mother encourages he marries to keep his amoral unethical character in check. The idea that Mother enthusiastically endorses their marriage so she can control both of them by their sexual desire for each other is a rank idea as slimy as seen in the pre code shocker THE SILVER CORD. I personally found the film riveting and I very much liked the casting against type. For me it gave the film excellent surprise value. Kelly made a terrific seductive rat. Durbin's slide into willing prostitution to 'be with him' in a decadent lifestyle (while he was away) is a great downbeat storyline. Everything about "Christmas Holiday" is deceptive, right from the happy title to the handsome horror of Kelly's character. I will not spoil the story for you other than to say the whole film is a terrific ride, and with a ripe explicit tone, you will be seduced yourself. Plenty of flashback like SORRY WRONG NUMBER and equally as creepy. What a surprise! Hilariously, in Australia it was our Nationwide TV treat at 8.30pm on Christmas night! Haven't our TV programmers got a sly sense of humor.
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