AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
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Holiday Inn
Director: Mark Sandrich (Dir)
Release Date:   1942
Premiere Information:   New York premiere: 4 Aug 1942
Production Date:   18 Nov 1941--30 Jan 1942
Duration (in mins):   100-101
Duration (in feet):   9,044
Duration (in reels):   11
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Cast:   Bing Crosby (Jim Hardy)  
    Fred Astaire (Ted Hanover)  
    Marjorie Reynolds (Linda Mason)  
    Virginia Dale (Lila Dixon)  
    Walter Abel (Danny Reed)  
    Louise Beavers (Mamie)  
    Irving Bacon (Gus)  
    Marek Windheim (Francois)  
    James Bell (Dunbar)  
    John Gallaudet (Parker)  
    Shelby Bacon (Vanderbilt)  
    Joan Arnold (Daphne)  
    June Ealey (Specialty dancer)  
    David Tihmar (Specialty dancer)  
    Edward Emerson (Man at Holiday Inn)  
    Leon Belasco (Proprietor in flower shop)  
    Harry Barris (Orchestra leader)  
    Ronnie Rondell (Orchestra leader)  
    Jacques Vanaire (Assistant headwaiter)  
    Keith Richards (Assistant director)  
    Reed Porter (Assistant director)  
    Oscar G. Hendrian (Doorman)  
    Robert Homans (Doorman)  
    Katharine Booth (Hatcheck girl)  
    Judith Gibson (Cigarette girl)  
    Barbara Slater (Waitress)  
    Alaine Brandes (Waitress)  
    Laurie Douglas (Waitress)  
    Louise LaPlanche (Waitress)  
    Lynda Grey (Dancing girl)  
    Lora Lee (Girl)  
    William Cabanne (Boy)  
    Kenneth Griffith (Boy)  
    Bud Jamison (Santa Claus)  
    Muriel Barr (Dancer)  
    Patsy Bedell (Dancer)  
    Marion Colby (Dancer)  
    Loretta Barnett (Dancer)  
    Glen Forbes (Dancer)  
    Bob Locke Lorraine (Dancer)  
    Ross Murray (Dancer)  
    Don Brown (Dancer)  
    Kitty Kelly    
    Edward Arnold Jr.    
    Mel Ruick    
    Anthony Nace    

Summary: On Christmas Eve in New York, the performing trio of singer Jim Hardy, dancer Ted Hanover, and singer and dancer Lila Dixon, split up when Lila chooses to marry Ted and continue performing rather than marry fiancĂ© Jim, who plans to quit performing to run a farm. After a year of struggling with farm work in Connecticut, and several weeks of recuperation in a sanitarium, Jim decides on a less exhausting occupation and opens Holiday Inn, a country-style inn which features live entertainment and is only open on holidays. As a way of stopping Linda Mason, an ambitious performer who works selling flowers, from pestering him, Ted's agent, Danny Reed, sends Linda to Connecticut to audition for Jim. The two are attracted to each other and Jim offers her a job. On New Year's Eve, after Lila jilts Ted so that she can marry a Texas millionaire, Ted travels to Holiday Inn to drown his sorrows. He arrives drunk, but immediately engages in a dance with Linda. The patrons all think that she is Ted's new dance partner and applaud as Ted collapses in a drunken stupor. In the morning, Ted cannot remember much about Linda but becomes determined to find her and make her his new dance partner. Jim does everything he can to thwart Ted's plans because he has fallen in love with Linda. Although Linda performs on Lincoln's birthday at the inn, Ted does not recognize her because Jim makes her wear blackface make-up for her number. Ted does find her on Valentine's Day, however, and insists that they perform together for Washington's birthday. Ted mercilessly pursues Linda to draw her away from Jim, and stays on at the inn through the next few holidays. When Jim overhears that Ted has brought two Hollywood film producers to see the Fourth of July show, he secretly asks his driver, Gus, who is picking Linda up at the train station, to make sure that she does not arrive in time for the show, and then invites Lila, who did not marry after all, to perform. Gus drives the car into a pond, and when Linda hitches a ride on the road, she is picked up by Lila. Unaware of Linda's identity, Lila tells Linda her story, and on the pretense of taking a shortcut, Linda makes sure Lila drives into the pond as well. Both women show up too late for the performance, but the producers offer to buy the idea of Holiday Inn to use as the basis of a musical. Having earned the enmity of all his friends because of his deception, Jim reluctantly agrees to the idea, but insists on remaining in Connecticut to write the music while Ted and Linda go to Hollywood. On Thanksgiving Day, when a lonely and dispirited Jim reads that Ted and Linda are engaged, his concerned housekeeper, Mamie, convinces him not to give up and to pursue Linda honestly. Jim arrives in Hollywood on Christmas Eve, just before Ted and Linda's wedding. Despite Ted and Danny's efforts, he manages to sneak onto a soundstage which has been set up like his Holiday Inn, and as Linda performs "White Christmas," the first song they ever sang together, Jim sings along and the two are happily reunited. Finally, on New Year's Eve, the two couples, Jim and Linda and Ted and Lila, perform together at Holiday Inn. 

Production Company: Paramount Pictures, Inc.  
Production Text: A Mark Sandrich Production
Distribution Company: Paramount Pictures, Inc.  
Director: Mark Sandrich (Dir)
  C. C. Coleman Jr. (Asst dir)
  Oscar Rudolph (2d asst dir)
Producer: Mark Sandrich (Prod) (Prod)
Writer: Claude Binyon (Scr)
  Elmer Rice (Adpt)
  Irving Berlin (Based on an idea by)
  Ben Holmes (Contr wrt)
  Zion Myers (Contr wrt)
  Francis Swann (Contr wrt)
  Bert Lawrence (Contr wrt)
Photography: David Abel (Dir of photog)
  John Ellis (Stills)
Art Direction: Hans Dreier (Art dir)
  Roland Anderson (Art dir)
  William Flannery (Art dir asst)
Film Editor: Ellsworth Hoagland (Ed)
Set Decoration: Sam Comer (Set dresser)
  Ray Moyer (Set dresser)
Costumes: Edith Head (Gowns)
  Billy Livingston (Ward des for chorus)
Music: Robert Emmett Dolan (Mus dir)
  Arthur Franklin (Mus asst)
  Bob Crosby's Band (Specialty accompaniments)
  Joseph Lilley (Vocal arr)
  Andrea Setaro (Orch scoring)
Sound: Earl Hayman (Sd rec)
  John Cope (Sd rec)
Dance: Danny Dare (Dance ensembles staged by)
  Sam Ledner (Dance dir)
  George King (Asst dance dir)
  Bernard Pearce (Asst dance dir)
  Al Mann (Dance staff)
Make Up: Wally Westmore (Makeup artist)
  Leonora Sabine (Hair supv)
Production Misc: Zion Myers (Prod asst)
  Charles Woolstenhulme (Unit mgr)
  N. Lacey (Loc mgr)
  Jean Bosquet (Pub)
  Eunice Douglas (Irving Berlin's secy)
  Grace Dubray (Scr clerk)
  Trudy Wellman (Secy and scr clerk)
  Hazel Noe (Dance secy)
Stand In: Martha Mears (Singing voice for Marjorie Reynolds)
Country: United States
Language: English

Songs: "You're Easy to Dance With," "I'll Capture Her Heart Singing," "White Christmas," "Let's Start the New Year Right," "Happy Holiday," "Abraham," "Be Careful It's My Heart," "Plenty to Be Thankful For," "I Can't Tell a Lie," "Easter Parade," "Firecracker Song," "Song of Freedom" and "Lazy," music and lyrics by Irving Berlin.
Composer: Irving Berlin

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number Passed By NBR:
Paramount Pictures, Inc. 12/6/1942 dd/mm/yyyy LP11636 Yes

Physical Properties: b&w:
  Sd: Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording

 
Genre: Romance
  Musical comedy
  Romance
 
Subjects (Major): Dancers
  Holidays
  Nightclubs
  Romantic rivalry
  Singers
 
Subjects (Minor): African Americans
  Children
  Christmas Eve
  Deception
  Drunkenness
  Easter
  Engagements
  Farmers
  Florists
  Fourth of July
  Gold diggers
  Housekeepers
  Inns
  Laziness
  Lure of the country
  Motion picture producers
  Motion picture studios
  New Year's Eve
  New York City
  Proposals (Marital)
  St. Valentine's Day
  Thanksgiving Day
  Theatrical agents

Note: Opening credits read "Irving Berlin's Holiday Inn ." Information in the Paramount Collection at the AMPAS Library reveals the following information about the production: Renie DeMarco, Richard Denning, Macdonald Carey (erroneously called "Donald Carey") and Janet Blair were tested for roles in this film. Fred Astaire worked for two weeks without pay as a Christmas gift to Paramount. After three days of rehearsal, the firecracker dance sequence became the last scene to be shot and took two days to film. A Paramount News news item indicates that Julia Faye, Mildred Harris, Jane Novak and Ruth Clifford were slated to appear in the film. However, Clifford was not identified in the viewed print, and the participation of the other actresses in the film has not been confirmed. HR news items add the following information about the production: Paramount planned to include a special musical dance sequence to commemorate Navy Day, using a revamped version of an old Irving Berlin song, "This Is a Great Country," but the number was dropped and was probably never shot. Plans for an elaborate opening in Los Angeles in Aug 1942 were abandoned due to wartime conditions on the Pacific coast. Proceeds from the New York premiere went to the Navy Relief Society. In Sep 1942, the shoes Fred Astaire wore in the firecracker sequence were sold at a Cleveland, OH, auction for $116,000 worth of war bonds, and then one shoe and both laces were later resold for another $22,000 worth of war bonds. According to modern sources, Berlin devised the concept for this film after he wrote the song "Easter Parade" for the 1933 Broadway play As Thousands Cheer , and subsequently planned a musical revue based on major American holidays. The musical play was never produced, but Berlin later pitched the idea to Mark Sandrich, who had worked with him on three Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers pictures at RKO. A modern source notes that Berlin's contract stipulated that his music would not be altered once filming began, and lists Walter Scharf as a music arranger and director. Berlin won an Academy Award for his song, "White Christmas," and the film was nominated for Academy Awards in the following categories: Best Writing (Original Story), Irving Berlin; Best Music (Scoring of a Musical Picture), Robert Emmett Dolan. Berlin's "White Christmas" went on to become one of the most popular recorded songs in history. Although a 1960 article in L.A. Mirror News indicates that Berlin originally wrote "White Christmas" in 1938, a Berlin biography and other modern sources agree that the song was an original written for Holiday Inn . "White Christmas" was a favorite with homesick soldiers during World War II, and Crosby frequently sang it during USO tours. For many years it remained the largest-selling "single" in history and was only supplanted from that position in 1997 by Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," revised to commemorate the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. The Abraham Lincoln number is often cut from television prints due to the offensive nature of the performers in blackface. One of the notable dance numbers in the film was "Say It With Firecrackers," in which Astaire hurls firecrackers from his pocket and steps onto charges especially laid out in the floor to create small explosions in honor of Independence Day. Another number frequently shown in documentaries on Astaire is the "drunk dance," in which he appears to be drunk as partner Marjorie Reynolds helps him to stay upright. Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire again co-starred in the 1946 film Blue Skies , directed by Stuart Heisler, which also featured songs by Irving Berlin. In 1954, Paramount released the film White Christmas , which was loosely inspired by Holiday Inn . Robert Emmett Dolan produced the later film, which was directed by Michael Curtiz, starred Crosby and Danny Kaye, and featured songs by Irving Berlin, including the title song. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   13 Jun 1942.   
Daily Variety   15 Jun 42   p. 3.
Film Daily   15 Jun 42   p. 6.
Hollywood Reporter   13 May 41   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   12 Jun 41   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   20 Aug 41   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   21 Aug 41   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   28 Aug 41   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   18 Sep 41   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   14 Oct 41   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   10 Nov 41   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   14 Nov 41   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   18 Nov 41   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   4 Dec 41   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Dec 41   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   23 Dec 41   p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter   30 Mar 42   p. 5.
Hollywood Reporter   8 Jul 42   p. 2.
Hollywood Reporter   15 Jun 42   p. 3.
Hollywood Reporter   22 Sep 42   p. 6.
Down Beat   15 Dec 44   p. 7.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   13 Jun 42   p. 713.
New York Times   5 Aug 42   p. 16.
Variety   17 Jun 42   p. 8.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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