The 1940s were the war years and yet some of the best Christmas films were made during this time. This is probably due to the fact that people longed for a sense of normalcy and stability in their lives and Christmas was all about reunions of family , friends and lovers. A magical time when the woes of the world seemed to melt away.
The song ‘I’m dreaming of a white Christmas’ sung by Bing Crosby was first heard in the 1942 film ‘ Holiday Inn’. A film with a plot worthy of an opera. Very complicated in the telling but easier to understand when mixed with beautiful scenery, beautiful music and beautiful people. Of course it’s a love story ,with quite a few twists ,which takes place not only over Christmas but over New Years Eve, Easter and Thanks Giving too. All takes place in a hide-away hotel in the mountains. A comfy cozy dream of a place which is a relaxed home away from home. Here there’s good home cooking too. For all those renovation enthusiasts this film is a total must. During the course of the film an old run down hotel is transformed into ‘The Holiday Inn’ a comfortable haven ready for the next Christmas season. The film stars Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire along with two relatively unknown actresses, Marjorie Reynolds and Virginia Dale. The former made at least fifty films including a small part in ‘ Gone With The Wind’ and the latter made films throughout the 30s and 40s and then disappeared for almost thirty years returning in the 70s. Virginia Dale presented a scene from ‘ Holiday Inn’ in ‘That’s Entertainment’ in 1974 in which her co star from the film, Marjorie Reynolds , dances with Fred Astaire. We here in Australia can only dream of this type of Christmas. For us it’s usually barbeques on the beach or this year inside the family enclave with all the blinds down trying to escape the scorching sun. We would love to be running around in the snow and sipping hot toddies by a grande piano whilst belting out Christmas songs. But for us it’s a hot Christmas indeed. Oh for the charm of ‘ The Holiday Inn’.
Hybiscus Bloom 19/12/2013