I’ve heard many movie reviewers refer to “White Christmas” as being a remake of “Holiday Inn.” Well, I consider myself to be a “White Christmas” aficionado and I watched “Holiday Inn” for the second time last night. I don't know if it was the movie makers' intention to create a remake, but I must say, they really aren’t that similar. Bing Crosby is in both, he sings “White Christmas” in both, and there’s an inn in both. That’s about as far as it goes.
So, let’s take a closer look at “Holiday Inn.” Bing plays Jim, a crooner who’s tired of the stage. He wants his holidays off, rather than doing two shows on those special occasions. He’s planning to marry Lila, the girl in the act, and live on a farm he recently purchased in Connecticut. What he doesn’t know is that his partner, Ted (played by Fred Astaire) has also fallen for Lila and plans to marry her himself. When he finds out, he goes off to his farm and sulks—he and Ted have fought over women for years, but it’s never come down to marriage before.
A year passes—a hard year of chopping wood, pitching hay, and caring for the animals. Jim decides that life on a farm just isn’t as relaxing as he thought it would be, so he comes up with another idea, to turn the farm into an inn that’s only open on holidays. He’ll put on a show themed around each holiday and people will have a place to come to celebrate. He thinks it’s a wonderful idea, and he goes to New York to round up some entertainers to join him.
Linda Mason is looking for a job in the entertainment business, and she applies to work at the inn. Soon she and Jim are an item, but when Lila dumps Ted and he comes to the inn looking for solace, the rivalry starts up again as Ted sets his sights on Linda, not only as a dance partner but as a wife. This throws the friends at odds, and Jim resorts to sabotage to keep Linda from achieving success with Ted, which of course only drives her further into Ted’s arms when she finds out what Jim has done.
The movie is full of songs for each holiday, and some pretty snazzy dance routines, too. But the biggest emphasis is on Christmas, which makes this a good film to enjoy at this time of year. Knowing what we know now about political correctness, and, oh, basic respect for human beings on this planet, I was a little put off by the black face routine presented on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, but I’m willing to let bygones be bygones and recommend this film as a fun addition to your holiday lineup and possibly a good jumping-off place to discuss human rights with your children.
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