Durbin... In her most dramatic glory.
1944 | B&W | 1 Hr 11 Min | Crime, Flim-Noir | NR | Universal
W. Somerset Maugham (novel)
Herman J. Mankiewicz (written for the screen by)
When you think of Christmas in August you think of the warm glow from the lights of the Christmas Tree, maybe a crackling fireplace, and of course snuggling under a blanket watching those wonderful musical Christmas specials. You come across a movie called Christmas Holiday with Gene Kelly and Deanna Durbin you think to yourself "oh this should be heartwarming full of charm and singing." But not this time instead you get a heartwarming Film-Noir.
If your new to the Man Cave welcome and thanks for stopping this post is part of a fun blog hop over at The Midnite Drive-In so make sure to head on over there and check out some of the other Noir movie posts.
Before we get wrapped up in the fact this is a Christmas movie lets take a look into how that is shall we? The movie opens up with our hero getting a cold letter from his girlfriend that he was about to spend Christmas with went off to get married. Even tho he plans on still going out to see her (with the look of hate in his eyes) his plane meets rough weather and has to land until further notice. This is on Christmas Eve, and other than a bunch of talking that goes on in the movie we get a beautiful Christmas Mass scene and then the movie goes into flashback mode. So if you ask me the Christmas line is pretty blurred.
The look and feel of this movie are superb, director Robert Siodmak (The Crimson Pirate, Son of Dracula) really paints a dark mood. You never lose focus on the plot as he drives us all the way home in such well-crafted fashion. Of course, he had great help behind the pen as well, Herman Mankiewicz gave us a few greats like The Pride of the Yankees and of course Citizen Kane before moving on to Christmas Holiday. And novelist Somerset Maugham is no slouch either as his novels are still adapted today. In fact, Being Julia was one of his and along with Secret Agent way back in 1936.
Now do not let the term Flashback's make you think twice about this movie they are paced just right and again you never lose focus on the story. Grant and Durbin are amazing on the screen you hate to see her suffer as her charter oozes sadness. And you could feel the pain has she sung "Spring Will Be a Little Late This Year" in a gorgeous way.
The soundtrack is a mixed bag of Christmas music and cafe style jazz. Including "Always" Written by Irving Berlin. I can understand why this is not a highly talked about Christmas movie but I still feel this deserves some love. With no DVD or Blu-Ray, Christmas Holiday is a hard one to track down. And the fact that it is a Universal movie that is in Public Domain you would think a company out there would still jump at the chance to cash in on this movie.
This movie kind of blew my away with is fantastic cast, dark outlook, and a moving story. As one that is new to Flim-Noir and after watching the god awful Jail Bait this was a sigh of relief. If you can track this one down I highly suggest it, and it is worth your time and effort. Not your tradition Grant/Durbin Christmas Musical and that is ok!
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