‘Tis the Season Cinema: Holiday Inn

This month Lisa from Boondock Ramblings and I, along with newcomer Katja from Breath of Hallelujah who is joining in, are having fun watching the same Christmas movies and then posting our thoughts. This week’s movie, Holiday Inn, ended up being not quite what we expected or remembered!

Before I begin let’s just address the elephant in the room. Some of you may have known this already, but I wasn’t aware and Lisa had totally forgotten about it, but this movie has a very problematic scene. It has a scene in blackface. I do not condone racism; in fact I am vehemently opposed to it. We are all aware now just how inappropriate and wrong this scene is, and there are versions now available to watch without this scene. However, this scene needs to be acknowledged. To not address it is to smooth over the fact that this and other scenes/acts in show business history had acts like this, and we can’t move on without talking about these things.

So, with that out of the way let’s talk about the rest of the movie a little.

It is very similar to White Christmas in some ways, especially considering the movie is filmed on the same set that White Christmas was. Bing also croons away on that old favorite Christmas song in Holiday Inn, which was filmed before White Christmas. Bing has a partner in entertainment, Fred Astaire this time, and Bing decides to retire away to the country and work his farm. That sounds good to me. However, he also chooses to do this after his fiance tells him she would rather be with Fred Astaire! Um, that sucks. So off he goes to his farm in the country, brokenhearted. He learns though that he can’t just leave show business behind, and turns his place into an inn that is only open for the holidays, complete with musical numbers. Fred Astaire does kind of steal the show in my opinion in this one. Sorry Bing.

Two examples of how?

First off, the famous firecracker scene. Super dramatic honestly. I loved it. I sort of wish I could just throw down a firecracker before I left a place or something for extra emphasis. Tap dancing is so cool too. I have always wanted to do it!

Then, the famous drunk dancing scene! In this one Fred Astaire is actually drunk – in order to pull it off, he took drinks between takes. I’ll tell you, if you look back on my wild youth, my dancing under the influence was not this graceful…

It was just cute and rather funny.

The movie itself is a more of a vehicle to show off the talents of Crosby and Astaire, which are considerable, and while it does have Christmas scenes, it is more of a musical that celebrates many different holidays.

This was an unusual one, that is for sure! But, it did have some good scenes and Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby are like a power couple. Did it have situations that were jarring and uncomfortable for someone of our time? Absolutely. But it does give us the opportunity to talk about them and talk about how it is wrong.

Moving on!

Yes! Next week we are talking about my very favorite holiday movie – Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas!! We are also going to be talking about A Charlie Brown Christmas, which is another holiday favorite. Both are so wonderful and I am so excited to watch them both!!

You can find Lisa’s thoughts here.

You can find Katja’s thoughts here.

11 thoughts on “‘Tis the Season Cinema: Holiday Inn

  1. Pingback: ‘Tis the Season Cinema: Holiday Inn | Boondock Ramblings

  2. Just to clarify: I knew the scene was there but I had forgotten just how prolonged and bad it was! I think I must have been doing something with my son or daughter when the scene was on back then when I first watched it and I think it’s been at least 8 years since I’ve watched it all the way through — maybe even 15! I threw it on the list and then my husband reminded me of the scene again and then I remembered and thought…umm…..maybe we should skip this one. Then I sort of forgot again because my brain has holes in it. Plus, I thought it was a thirty-second scene, not like five of horridness! Gah!

    Well, at least we both were able to remind people it is in there, it is wrong, and it ruins a lot of the movie. Fred’s dancing in the two scenes you mentioned saves the movie or I might dismiss it altogether.

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  3. Pingback: Holiday Inn – ‘Tis the Season Cinema – Breath of Hallelujah

  4. I don’t think I’ve seen this movie, or I may have seen bits and pieces of it because these kinds of movies require an attention span I don’t always have. It’s such a hard call about issues like this. Do we pretend they never happened, do we call them out and face that wrath, or do we just accept they are what they are…a representation of the past that wasn’t all we think it was? I honestly don’t know the right answer. I think by acknowledging that it’s there, you’ve done the right thing. It kind of reminds me of that Christmas song…that now has the rapist idea attached to it. I honestly don’t know how I feel about it. Sometimes, it seems like we get a little too sensitive about such things. But, on the other hand (here’s where you can tell I’m a Libra), if I were a victim of rape, I might feel an entirely different way about it. And, then throw in Michael Jackson…another conversation I continually have with myself and my youngest son who adores the musician and not the man. So many conundrums in life these days!

    https://marshainthemiddle.com/

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    1. It was a tough call. I wasn’t quite sure how to address it. I figured the best way was to bring it into the light, acknowledge it, and move on. I think sometimes we do get a little too sensitive about stuff, as you said, so I feel like it is a hard line to walk sometimes. Like – Gone With the WInd. I grew up watching that movie once a year with my mother. I love that movie. Is it a stellar example of humanity in America and entertainment? No. Did it teach me valuable life lessons? Debatable. But I do feel like I could perhaps make clothing from curtains if I needed (also see Sound of Music). But..it is a really great movie. Slavery was real. I can’t not watch something because I don’t like that that happened. Good came from that movie as well – Hattie McDaniel was the first Black woman to win an Academy Award. So we do need to look at the big picture, always. So your Michael Jackson struggles are my Gone with the Wind struggles. LOL.

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  5. Pingback: My Sunday-Monday Post – Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs..

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