At an inn which is open only on holidays, a crooner and a hoofer vie for the affections of a beautiful up-and-coming performer.At an inn which is open only on holidays, a crooner and a hoofer vie for the affections of a beautiful up-and-coming performer.At an inn which is open only on holidays, a crooner and a hoofer vie for the affections of a beautiful up-and-coming performer.
Reviewers who fault this movie for it's patriotism and display of martial force in the midst of a "holiday" movie are obviously too young to know what the world was like when this was made. It was a time of greater innocence, greater danger and greater racial discrimination. The innocence was that of the children and the general public who could take a "standard Hollywood plot" at face value. It was a time of danger, not necessarily from within society itself (as now when crime makes streets unsafe) but from the outside with dictators killing millions while they battle for world domination. Those tanks and planes WERE freedom. Without them we would be yelling "Seig Heil" today and would not have the right to critique a simple movie. The State would have made it for you and "you Will like it"!
As the "black face" routine was showing I turned to my family and said that I was sure that despite the "classic" status of this film there were probably a lot of people wincing as they watched Bing Crosby with burnt cork all over him.
I'm sure that before he died Bing too winced a little bit at that number, but taken in the context of history it was to be expected. Al Jolson made a career of blackface and never regretted it for a minute. Most of the American population accepted that that's "the way it is". Only in the last 40 years have we learned that's NOT the way it is.
Things change and it's understandable that after almost 60 years certain depictions of society as it existed then would be out of place today. 20 years ago the movie was popular but the music was certainly out of style. With the resurgence of the "big band sound" in the last 5-10 years people are noticing that Bob Crosby and the Bobcats were participants. No doubt a certain amount of nepotism existed, but Bob Crosby was not Billy Carter to Bing's Jimmy Carter. (Anyone under 20 can now run and look up Jimmy and Billy Carter.) Bob Crosby achieved a certain amount of star status with some of his recordings. He had 4 chart topping hits and led bands for almost 50 years. He was always eclipsed by his older brother, but then Bing Crosby was THE biggest star of that time, at least among singers.
Bob's music was a Dixieland style and it lent a lightness to the big band orchestrations of Irving Berlin's songs that might have otherwise made the music ponderous, too much so for this light comedy at least.
Remember, finally that when Holiday Inn came out we were losing WW2. The Pacific was a Japanese ocean, the Atlantic was virtually controlled by German U-Boats and Allied ships were being sunk within sight of American cities. The Axis also controlled all of Europe and the Russians were being rolled back into their own homeland.
Holiday Inn was escapist entertainment from this bleak reality and it is understandable if some martial patriotism was included to hearten the home front.
For 90% of the U.S., snow at Christmas is the exception rather than the rule, but the emotions expressed by the song White Christmas hit exactly the feelings of millions of soldiers taken from their homes to fight a war. If Holiday Inn did nothing else, it gave Americans something to believe in and remember when things were at their darkest.
"May your days be merry and bright, and may all your Christmases be White."
- Dec 25, 2000