Stolen Holiday (1937) Poster

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A great guilty pleasure
Oriel31 December 2002
Fans of Claude Rains and Kay Francis shouldn't miss this one. It has its weaknesses--the romantic lead (Ian Hunter) is simply not as interesting as the devilish Rains--but it's tremendous fun nonetheless. The opening sequences may be the strongest: independent model Kay Francis meets the dashing but underhanded Claude Rains under strange circumstances, and the two form an unlikely partnership. The scenes between these two are the highlight of the film.

In a great supporting role as Francis's best friend and Rains's severest critic, acid-tongued Alison Skipworth is hysterical. And I love the elegant and often eccentric fashions spotlighted by the movie in the fashion show sequences. For me, the interest only flags during the "stolen holiday" of the title--a forced romantic idyll between Francis and Hunter. When Rains starts scheming and Francis starts suffering, that's when the movie really cooks. You'll have your work cut out for you finding this movie, but it's worth seeking out.
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A model becomes involved with a swindler
blanche-213 September 2008
Kay Francis stars in "Stolen Holiday," a 1937 film that also stars Claude Rains, Ian Hunter and Alison Skipworth. Francis plays Nicole Picot, a beautiful Parisian model who is hired by Orloff (Claude Rains) to be his escort for an important dinner with a financier. The dinner is a great success, Orloff makes a lot of money and sets Nicole up in her own design house. Though there is not a romantic involvement, they are very close friends, and she is very loyal to him.

Unbeknownst to her, Orloff is involved in some unsavory business practices, and things begin to unravel when he and Nicole take a vacation together. Since Orloff isn't around, and at the encouragement of her assistant (Alison Skipworth), Nicole is escorted around town by Anthony Wayne (Ian Hunter). The two fall in love. However, Orloff believes that an elaborate society wedding will make the police less likely to bother him, so Nicole agrees to marry him.

The cast and the fashions really help this story. Francis looks beautiful in some great fashions. She often played strong, independent women - even as a young woman, as she is here, she has the air of a leading lady and not an ingénue. Despite her famous speech impediment, her speaking voice is one of her most interesting traits - low and melodic. Rains could play anything. Here he's an elegant Russian swindler who has set his business up with his own self-preservation in mind, and he's very believable. Alison Skipworth, as Nicole's friend and assistant, brings some humor to the film as a card-reader who is less than enthusiastic about Nicole's association with Orloff.

Good movie, and I'm grateful that here in the states, we're able to see films such as this on TCM.
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Kay Francis fans will love this one!
Geoff Lambert22 December 2004
Actually the stolen holiday of the title is only a small part of the film and is, quite frankly, a little boring and holds up the action. I found myself longing for it to finish and get back to the main plot! Fine performances from Kay, Claude Rains and Alison Skipworth, and Ian Hunter is his usual debonair self. Also, in a small part, Alexander D'Arcy (he of "The Awful Truth" fame).

Some of the strongest scenes are in the early parts of the movie, especially when Kay Francis almost arrogantly descends the staircase at a grand reception she is giving, and, seemingly ignoring everybody, manages to turn every head in the place with the new creation she is wearing! Marvellous!! To the best of my knowledge this movie has never been shown on British TV.

So, over here at least, a forgotten film worth investigating.
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Daring Dreams, Dashed Hopes
jjnxn-113 January 2014
Better than average Kay Francis picture. Thanks to a stronger script than was usually handed to her as well as a superior co-star in Claude Rains this swindle drama moves along at a nice clip assisted by that master of any genre, Michael Curtiz.

Of course this wouldn't be a Kay vehicle if they didn't slap one amazing outfit after another on her back and she wears them with the same effortless grace and elegance she always exhibited.

The story isn't terribly inventive but Kay and Claude have a good chemistry which works to the advantage of making the film more involving than it would be. It's nice to see her matched with an artist of equal skill to hers instead of the usual bland leading men such as George Brent and Alan Dinehart she was often teamed with.

This was one of the last good films she made as queen of the lot before her feud with the brothers Warner caused them to start sticking her in any piece of low rent junk to get her to walk on her contract.
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C Rains, K Francis in mix of crime drama & love story
ksf-217 September 2009
That card at the beginning of the film stating that all characters, events, and names are entirely fictitious was pretty rare back in those days, so the director must have been a little concerned making this one! Then we learn that we are in Paris in 1931 at a fashion show. Nicole (Kay Francis) and Suzanne (Alison Skipworth) work for a fashionable dress shop. Stefan Orloff (Claude Rains, a couple years before Casablanca) comes along and has a proposition for her. She follows through on her end of the bargain, and he sets her up in a shop of her own. We get through that in the first 15 minutes, but Nicole isn't done with him yet... their lives stay intertwined, against the advice of her friend Suzanne. Then, all at once, about a half hour into the film, we bluntly find out exactly what Orloff and his cronies are up to, and by association, now Nicole is involved too. The timing is a little strange, but the script and direction are good. Francis certainly had a successful career, but it might have been even more successful if not for her problem pronouncing the letter "R"... Directed by Michael Curtiz, who would also direct Rains in Casablanca in 1942. Produced by Hal Wallis, who also produced all those silly Elvis movies. The story here is interesting to follow, and the outdoor scenery is beautiful, even if its not really Europe we're seeing.
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Very good acting...and the story is based on a true scandal.
MartinHafer6 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This film is based on the "Stavisky Affair"--a scandal in France caused by a crook who had scaled the heights of society by creating a false impression of immense wealth. In other words, his fake jewels and finery convinced a lot of suckers to invest in his monetary schemes--including a lot of government officials. In this film, the man's name is changed to "Orloff" and the story is spiced up a bit, but it's still the same basic tale. If you want a story that is closer to the original, try watching "Stavinsky" with Jean-Paul Belmondo.

The film begins with Claude Rains hiring Kay Francis to pose as his wife. Apparently, he has a scheme that he wants to put over and wants a sophisticated woman to help him create the necessary look of success. So, from the beginning, she knows he's a tad larcenous, though the degree to which he lies, cheats and steals is way beyond her comprehension. For a while, they are both quite successful--he with his many investments and she with her fashion studio. Years pass and they both are quite happy. Later, however, the depth to which he went to make his fortune--and he attempts to bring Kay into this in a sad attempt to save himself.

The film is interesting and the acting very good as well. I didn't particularly care for the relationship between Francis and Ian Hunter (it seemed out of place) but Rains and Francis did a fine job here. Provided you don't mind the man liberties the studio took in telling the story of Stavinsky, this is interesting and worth seeing--even with a rather weak ending.
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edwagreen22 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
A rather benign story of a model who meets up with a swindler and she comes under his orbit as the years pass and his involvement in selling fake bonds is exposed. He gets her to marry him for social status.

You see little to no violence here with the exception of rioting by disenchanted buyers and the final killing scene.

The film would have been a lot better if Francis, with those large eyes and had the writing cast her in not only a vulnerable situation, but placed her in grave danger as well.

Claude Rains plays the rather erudite thief and even his downfall is rather droll to watch.
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An Odd Friendship
dougdoepke22 April 2017
Plot-- Clever con-man Orloff uses fashion model Picot to gain entrée into French high society. Once situated among the rich, his financial swindle proceeds. In return, he rewards Picot with her own fashion house, which soon prospers. But what will happen to their bonded relationship if Picot's con game is discovered.

That opening of elegant models parading down the runway is a grabber. As one of the models, Picot (Francis) commands with regal stature and a compelling gaze. On the other hand, Orloff (Rains) commands with voice and smooth demeanor, despite his short stature. Together, they're an interesting, though hardly romantic, pair.

It's really the two charismatic leads that carry the film. The con game thread is not emphasized, rather the odd relationship between the two amounts to the main thread. It's ultimately a bond of friendship and gratitude that endures, despite Picot's romance with the rather callow Wayne (Hunter). I'm not sure how convincing the relationship is since the narrative is more intent on using it rather than explaining its steadfastness. I wish that key part were more strongly written. And though talk dominates, the film's well-mounted, while Curtiz directs with a smooth tempo that never drags. Also, a rotund, aging Allison Skipworth as Picot's assistant adds a colorful touch of lemony spice.

In passing-- Catch that biplane the twosome travels to France in. It may be the ugliest example of flight engineering I've seen. Note also presence of commanding Frank Conroy as a police inspector. His fearsomely dominating Maj. Tetley in the classic Ox- Bow Incident (1943) certainly deserved Oscar recognition. Here he gets a few moments of that.

Overall, the movie's mainly a showcase for the two leads, without being anything special.
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