Starring: Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Marjorie Reynolds
Director: Mark Sandrich
Running Time: 100 mins
Holiday Inn is an American film about two men who engage in a game of one-upsmanship as they attempt to gain the affections of a bright new performer working in an inn open only on holidays.
Holiday Inn is the sort of classic Christmas movie just like the ones I used to know. (Sorry, that was very cheesy). With a classically cosy and heartwarming atmosphere throughout, it’s the perfect sort of film to sit down to in front of the fireplace on a snowy day, bettered by delightful performances from Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and Marjorie Reynolds, as well as a great soundtrack throughout. Its story may not be the most emotionally riveting ever put to screen, but it still features enough pleasant comedy and drama to make Holiday Inn an overall lovely watch.
While a lot of modern Christmas classics manage to capture the holiday cheer in their own usually quirky and slightly more energetic way, there’s nothing really like watching these golden oldies, dripping with cosy and warm heart everywhere you look. Holiday Inn, too, isn’t entirely a Christmas movie, instead taking place on all sorts of national holidays throughout the calendar year, but it still manages to capture that classic feeling of the spirit of the festivities, and that’s what really makes it such a pleasant watch.
Moving along at a very calm pace from start to finish, with a simple and fun central plot, and featuring the odd delightful musical number from Bing Crosby and his co-stars here and there, Holiday Inn has all the hallmarks of a film that’s there to comfort you, knowing full well that it may not be the world’s most dramatically riveting piece, but is certainly the sort of movie to really make you smile.
Along with that cosy atmosphere that it pulls off so well, the lead performances really add to the pleasant nature of the film as a whole. Bing Crosby is as effortlessly charismatic as ever in the lead role, and easily the most interesting character of the movie, while Marjorie Reynolds is a delightful love interest, and Fred Astaire is a heap of fun whenever he shows up on screen, even if his performance doesn’t quite shine as strongly as Crosby’s.
The music, too, is a nice addition to proceedings. As the film takes place over the course of the year on various holidays, there’s always a song to sing about whichever one of those festivals, whether it be the 4th of July, Easter or more, and although none of the songs are quite as legendary as White Christmas, which makes its first on-screen appearance in this film, they’re still a consistently delightful addition to the film throughout.
With all that said, as nice and cosy as the film is, I can’t say that I was absolutely riveted by Holiday Inn. Its story, following two men both vying for the affections of the same woman, is fun to watch, but it just doesn’t have the emotional depth necessary to make it any more appealing than simply sitting back and watching a pleasant Christmas movie, and that means that the film can be a little boring at times when the story takes centre stage instead of the main performers, which was a bit of a shame to see.
Overall, however, I had a lovely time with Holiday Inn. Although it doesn’t offer up the most riveting or emotionally enthralling story in history, its incredibly cosy and pleasant atmosphere, complete with great songs and strong performances, make it a delightful watch all the same, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.2.