This movie (1 hr 41 min.s) starring Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Marjorie Reynolds and Virginia Dale made its US premier in August 1942. Director/producer Mark Sandrich started filming in Oct/Nov 1941 and finished in February 1942 — the movie was being filmed around the time the Imperial Japanese Navy bombed Pearl Harbor. The movie featured the song “White Christmas,” written by Irving Berlin, who wrote the lyrics and music for all the songs in the movie.
The DVD cover describes the movie: “Crosby plays a song and dance man who leaves showbiz to run an inn that is open only on holidays. Astaire plays his former partner and rival in love. Follow the two talented pals as they find themselves competing for the affections of the same lovely lady (Marjorie Reynolds).”
“Holiday Inn” is more than light entertainment. Yes, the movie has the singing and dancing talents of Crosby, Astaire, Reynolds, and Dale. Yes, the movie has the song “White Christmas.” Yes, the movie has romance. Yes, the movie has humor and lightness. But the singing and dancing and lightness is woven into the fabric of one man’s attempt to live where he can be lazy, not work, take things easy, rest often, and be happy.
The driving force behind the movie is what Jim Hardy (played by Crosby) learns and does from his attempt to have happiness without work. Does he find happiness without work and effort, by being lazy? Is Astaire the one who succeeds at life? Does Astaire get the girl? Is Mamie one of the wisest characters in the movie? Who learns what during the movie?
As you are probably expecting, my answers are all: “You’ll have to watch the movie to find out.” Even to find out if what I said is true, or if I just made this work ethic stuff up to get you to watch the movie! (Which would be a good ruse to get people to enjoy some nice music…hmmm…I wonder…)
More than a Christmas movie, “Holiday Inn” has songs for New Year’s Eve, Washington’s Birthday, Lincoln’s Birthday, the Fourth of July — and it’s got “Easter Parade!!!” (Which, like “White Christmas,” is supposed to have made its debut in “Holiday Inn.”) “Easter Parade” is beautifully done by Bing Crosby, singing to Marjorie Reynolds as they drive a simple horse-drawn carriage, from church to Holiday Inn, past people and past trees in full blossom. That kind of scene is aesthetically in black and white.