1247. Holiday (1938)

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7.4 Engaging, but not so funny
  • Acting 7.7
  • Directing 7.4
  • Story 7.2
  • User Ratings (0 Votes) 0

Starring: Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, Doris Nolan

Director: George Cukor

Running Time: 95 mins


Holiday is an American film about a man who, just before getting engaged to a woman he met only 10 days ago, faces a dilemma between his wife-to-be’s wealthy family heritage and his own free-thinking lifestyle, until he finds support in the woman’s sister.

Holiday¬†isn’t exactly a generic screwball comedy, and that’s a feature of this film that works both to its advantage and its detriment. On the one hand, you do have a whole host of great performances that make the dramatic aspect of the story really engaging, but on the other, it’s never quite as funny or hugely enjoyable as you’d like it.

However, we’ve got to start with the centrepiece of the whole film, and that’s Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn. Of the four films they did together, the others being the brilliant Bringing Up Baby and The Philadelphia Story, as well as the awful Sylvia Scarlett, this isn’t the greatest, but their amazing chemistry really goes a long way to make Holiday as good a film as it can be.

Every time the two are on screen together, it’s absolutely electric. Even when the focus of this film isn’t particularly on their characters’ romance, they just work so well together, playing off of one another fantastically and providing as much entertaining sparring as possible, which is just brilliant to watch.

Moving onto the story, and, whilst it’s not the most enthralling or entertaining screwball you’ve ever seen, it does a good job at making the dramatic element of the story interesting, something that genre can often fail to do.

So, thanks to Grant’s brilliant performance, we see this man’s emotional confusion as he faces a really difficult dilemma in the moments before his engagement is to be announced, and that is at times almost a very powerful element to this story that makes it so engaging.

Of course, this is still a comedy, and laughs are the main focus, but because I didn’t have many big laugh-out-loud moments, I can’t say it’s the most entertaining comedy you’ll see, but the way that the dramatic side to the story is handled is excellent, and much more impressive than many other films of the genre, so that’s why, overall, I’m going to give Holiday a 7.4.

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The Mad Movie Man, AKA Anthony Cullen, writes articles and reviews about movies and the world of cinema. Since January 1st, 2013, he has watched and reviewed a movie every day. This is the blog dedicated to the project: www.madmovieman.com