Summer Holiday (1948)

 |  Musical  |  16 April 1948 (USA)
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Danville, Connecticut at the turn of the century. Young Richard Miller lives in a middle-class neighborhood with his family. He is in love with the girl next-door, Muriel, but her father ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Muriel McComber (as Gloria De Haven)
Jackie 'Butch' Jenkins ...
Tommy Miller (as Butch Jenkins)
Marilyn Maxwell ...
Selena Royle ...
Michael Kirby ...
Shirley Johns ...
Hal Hackett ...
Elsie Rand (as Ann Francis)
John Alexander ...
Virginia Brissac ...


Danville, Connecticut at the turn of the century. Young Richard Miller lives in a middle-class neighborhood with his family. He is in love with the girl next-door, Muriel, but her father isn't too happy with their puppy-love, since Richard always share his revolutionary ideas with her. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


M-G-M's Great American Musical!




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Release Date:

16 April 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ah, Wilderness!  »

Box Office


$2,258,325 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Filmed between June 17 and mid-October 1946, the film was not copyrighted until 26 November 1947, and its wide release was held back until April 16, 1948. The Manhattan opening at Lowe's State Theatre followed on June 11, 1948. See more »


At the beginning of the "Stanley Steamer" segment Richard Miller (Mickey Rooney) lights the burner in the steamer then gets in and drives away accompanied by several explosions from under the hood. A Stanley Steamer took several minutes to develop steam and could not be driven immediately, also there was nothing under the hood but a burner and a boiler neither of which would cause explosions of the type shown. See more »


Richard Miller: Mankind was better off when lived in the Dark Ages. When everybody went around naked!
Uncle Sid: Well, maybe so. But today it might interfere with your social life.
See more »


Version of Front Row Center: Ah, Wilderness! (1955) See more »


The Stanley Steamer
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Ralph Blane
Performed by Mickey Rooney, Gloria DeHaven, Walter Huston, Selena Royle (dubbed by Denny Wilson),
Agnes Moorehead and Jackie 'Butch' Jenkins (as Butch Jenkins)
See more »

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User Reviews

The luscious music makes "Summer Holiday" a treat
16 April 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Summer Holiday" is a summer treat that has become an annual ritual at our house. I never fail to slip the video tape into the VCR as May morphs into June and the last days of school are rolling into summer vacation.

Mickey Rooney is exuberant as Richard, and Gloria DeHaven is cute and charming as his timorous girlfriend Muriel. Walter Huston is at his reassuring best as Richard's wise and rock-steady father, while Frank Morgan plays the likable, avuncular family drunk who can never quite overcome his dependence on the bottle.

The scenery is gorgeous, particularly in the opening scene as protagonists Richard and Muriel sing "Afraid to Fall in Love" to one other then go dancing off into a summery green field together - and also in the celebratory Fourth of July number "Independence Day," shot at the lush Busch Gardens in Pasadena.

My one complaint is that the extended barroom scene in which Richard is lured into a night of drunkenness by the temptress bar-girl (Marilyn Maxwell) doesn't seen to match the wholesome tone of the rest of the movie.

But it is the Harry Warren/Ralph Bane music that compels me to return for more and more re-viewings. (I must have watched this movie over twenty times since I first spotted it - then taped it - on TNT in the late eighties.) Honestly, I cannot fathom what drives certain reviewers to term the score as "uninspired" or a "dud" except perhaps that they have not listened to the songs enough times or with sufficient earnestness.

A disappointing score? Quite the contrary. The Warren/Blane music is extraordinary - even those songs that meddling MGM executives chose to delete from the final version of the film. As it turned out, gorgeous numbers such as "Never Again," in which the rueful but determined Morgan character sadly recounts his battles with alcohol; the exquisitely haunting "Omar and the Princess"; Muriel's lovely confessional, "I Wish I Had a Braver Heart"; and Huston's wistful "Spring Isn't Everything" were inexplicably cut. (One needs to buy the CD soundtrack to hear those and other excised numbers.) Mere disappointment turned into artistic tragedy when a nitrate-vault fire in the mid-fifties destroyed the musical outtakes, rendering impossible any possible restoration of the film to the version envisioned by Warren and Blane. That huge chunks of the score were slashed from the film left Warren so embittered he refused to view the film for over thirty years.

Perhaps, the critics should listen to the score a second, third, or fourth time, for a few of the melodies may strike some ears as somewhat subtle and may require repeated hearings. I remember being unimpressed the first time I saw the film and heard the score but have since come to adore the music. I'd categorize the uniquely delightful "Afraid to Fall in Love" as one of the songs that needs to be heard more than once to be fully appreciated.

Despite the meat-cleaver cuts, what remains of the score makes for luscious listening. From the brief but tuneful overture while credits are rolling, to the winsome "Our Home Town" - extended opening-scene dialog set to music, to the rousing anthem "Dan-Dan Danville High," to the gloriously catchy "The Stanley Steamer," the music lilts. One of my personal favorites is "While the Men Are All Drinking," a brief number sung by the ladies as they organize their picnic food in the park while their men are off competing in an Independence Day beer-drinking contest and the children are off diving into a nearby pond.

To my ears, the music is stunning beautiful and the reason I place "Summer Holiday" in my top ten, all-time-favorite movie list and why I consider Warren one of the top seven or eight composers of popular music that ever lived. He considered this score his best, and I enthusiastically concur.

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