6.7/10
1,057
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 the screen's greatest woman's role! 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

Those familiar with Gene Kelly's film catalogue consider his role as Oedipally-afflicted psychotic killer Robert Manette to be a radical departure from his typically sunny screen persona. In fact, the role was closer to his norm at the time. This film was made at a point in Kelly's career where MGM, his home studio, was unsure of how to capitalize on his image, which resulted in several loanout assignments to Columbia and Universal. This was chiefly because Kelly's initial fame came with his portrayal of charming antihero Joey Evans in Broadway's Pal Joey (1940) and his first film, For Me and My Gal (1942), in which he portrayed a replica of the Evans character. Kelly also played a heel, to varying degrees, in his follow-up films Thousands Cheer (1943) and Anchors Aweigh (1945). It was his character's redemption at the end of each of these films that finally solidified the Kelly screen persona, that of the streetwise everyman whose better nature prevails, and when he returned from service in WWII, he was firmly established as a leading man. 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

Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year
Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser
Sung by Deanna Durbin
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Shows Deanna's acting to good advantage, but not much of Maugham left
19 December 2004 | by fisherforrestSee all my reviews

If you want to see a film version of Somerset Maugham's "Christmas Holiday", you'll have to wait a while. This isn't it, despite the credit. "Suggested by..." would have been a more accurate credit. Maugham's tale is set in prewar Paris and concerns a young English college student who goes to Paris to see the sights during his Christmas vacation. This film updates the action to WW2 and concerns a lieutenant just graduated from flight school on leave to get married in San Francisco. Grounded by bad weather in New Orleans, he receives a telegram from his fiancée announcing her marriage to some other cluck. He decides to continue to S.F., presumably bent on vengeance. From here on film and Maugham more less parallel each other in broad outline, but all of Maugham's discussions between the student and his radical journalist friend about politics, sex, society and other more or less tabu topics in 1944 Hollywood are eliminated. In the film, the journalist is a pestiferous, drunken ne'er-do-well who frequently acts as a pimp for Gladys' dive. In the original story, Deanna's character, named Sonya, is a Russian émigré forced into prostitution to support herself and her sociopathic lover. Stripped of all of Maugham's philosophical thrust, we have just another film-noir/weeper, although it's not too bad in many respects. Not to reveal the melodramatic denouement tacked on by Hollywood, I'll only say that Maugham's story ends without any resolution, except possibly the student's regret that after being introduced to Sonya, he didn't see Paris, and all he got out of Sonya was conversation. In that, film and story agree.

Well, there you are! Somerset Maugham's "Christmas Holiday" indeed! But it's not as bad as some critics declare. Pauline Kael didn't like it, of course. But it is interesting as a film noir, and Deanna's first, perhaps only real, chance at a dramatic vehicle. Helen Hayes, or even Jane Greer, she wasn't, but then it's doubtful that Universal ever made any effort to develop her acting talent beyond the merest fundamentals. Also she didn't have the long film background of a Helen Parrish. She does present a winsome, sympathetic girl plunged into bad circumstances when her attractive husband proves a murderer and general bad type. Added to that, her mother-in-law casts her out after the husband's conviction. It's not a great performance, but Hollywood has produced many worse. Gene Kelly and the rest of the cast are very good. Kelly is in a very early role, the others are mostly veterans. It's a very moody piece, with photography to suit, and not at all what you would have gotten if Maugham's real story had been filmed.

Oh, yes. Deanna gets to sing two songs. Early on we get "Spring will be a little late this year", which is a slightly jazzy torch song, and later in the film, "Always", beautifully and wistfully delivered by Deann.


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