Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Great Christmas Show: 1942

Today I'm continuing with my list of favorite Christmas movies and TV shows -- I started it here with a post about the 1965 Charlie Brown Christmas special. I'm trying to keep the list in chronological order as much as possible, so today I've got two black & white films from 1942. (A year that's very special in my book, since it's the year my parents got married!)

Directed and Produced by Mark Sandrich
Written by Irving Berlin, Elmer Rice, and Claude Binyon

Music by Irving Berlin
Starring Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Marjorie Reynolds, Virginia Dale, Walter Abel, and Louise Beavers

In Holiday Inn, former musical-act partners Jim Hardy (Crosby) and Ted Hanover (Astaire) battle for the affection of lovely singer Linda Mason (Reynolds). Hardy falls in love with the beautiful performer and persuades her to come to work at the country inn he's opening, but his ex-buddy Hanover wants her to be his new dance partner. The setting for most of the film is Jim's supper club, Holiday Inn, which is only open on holidays (get it?) -- and that schtick provides the excuse for lots of big production numbers.

OK, this isn't really a Christmas movie exclusively -- it's about all the holidays throughout the year. But it introduced us to one of the iconic holiday songs, Irving Berlin's "White Christmas," and I always watch it at some point during the season.

It's schmaltzy and some of the musical numbers and dialogue probably wouldn't make it into a movie filmed in these politically correct times, but it's still fun to watch Crosby and Astaire going through their paces back when they were at the top of their game.

Directed by William Keighley
Written by Julius J. Epstein and Philip Epstein

From the play by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman

Starring Monty Woolley, Bette Davis, Ann Sheridan, Jimmy Durante, Billie Burke, and Reginald Gardiner

When the world's most famous (and most obnoxious) theater critic, Sheridan Whiteside (Woolley) slips on the front steps of a provincial Ohio businessman's home and breaks his hip, he and his eccentric entourage take over the house indefinitely.

Again, technically this isn't really a Christmas movie, although it does take place over the Christmas holiday. And it wasn't one of my favorites until a few years ago when my husband got hooked on it and added it to his "must see" list for the holidays. Now I'm a fan, too. And oddly enough, Monty Woolley is one of the co-stars in at least three of my favorite Christmas movies (besides this one, he appears in The Bishop's Wife and Since You Went Away).

See another Holidailies Post:
The Great Christmas Show, Day One


  1. I haven't seen "Man Who Came to Dinner" in a long time, but I'm hoping that I find it this season to remind me how good it is--my friend, Jim Brochu, is playing Sheridan Whiteside in New York right now.

  2. Hi, Bev! Thanks for the visit. I once played the female lead in this one, in a theater lab production. Much fun -- but of course, Sheridan Whiteside is the really great role! Haven't seen the movie yet this year, but it's usually on the Turner movie channel at some point during the holidays.


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