6.7/10
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39 user 20 critic

Christmas Holiday (1944)

Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 31 July 1944 (USA)
A young femme fatale-type woman realizes that the man she married is an incorrigible wastrel.

Director:

Robert Siodmak

Writers:

W. Somerset Maugham (novel), Herman J. Mankiewicz (written for the screen by)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Deanna Durbin ... Jackie Lamont / Abigail Martin
Gene Kelly ... Robert Manette
Richard Whorf ... Simon Fenimore
Dean Harens ... Charles Mason
Gladys George ... Valerie De Merode
Gale Sondergaard ... Mrs. Manette
David Bruce ... Gerald Tyler
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Storyline

Due to inclement weather, Lt. Charles Mason is forced to spend Christmas in New Orleans. Recently dumped by his girlfriend, the depressed Lieutenant falls in with Jackie Lamont, a singer who works at a nightclub and brothel. After attending midnight mass together, she tells her story to Charles. Her real name is Abigail and she fell in love with Robert Manette. After six months of happy married life, Robert is arrested for murder, but Abigail can't help loving her no-good husband. Written by L. Hamre

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 July 1944 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

W. Somerset Maugham's Christmas Holiday See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Universal Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert Siodmak's brilliant 'Christmas Holiday' was considered by Deanna Durbin as the one film of which she was proud. 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 »

Connections

References Casablanca (1942) See more »

Soundtracks

I'll Remember April
(uncredited)
By Gene de Paul, Patricia Johnson and Don Raye
Performed as background music by a small band as Dean Harens dances with Deanna Durbin.
See more »

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User Reviews

Some Kind of Strange Christmas
20 February 2011 | by dougdoepkeSee 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.


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