26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 3 December 2010
If as a purist you have been discouraged from watching colourized versions of black and white films, I urge you to buy this! The colourization effects in "Holiday Inn" are quite simply breathtaking, the range of colours employed is consisitently impressive and of 100% realistic nature. The quality of the image is crystal clear, there is no colour "bleed" and in each frame everything is perfect. The early attempts at colourization were quite frankly pretty appalling, but this is something else.
So - do buy this - you won't be sorry - and if on occasion you prefer to watch it in b&w, you can still do so - this is a two disc set.
I've no idea how much it costs to colourize a film to this standard, but it makes you wish more could be done! Not film noirs obviously, but some 30s/40s films that screamed for technicolour and were yet filmed in b&w - The Sea Hawk with Errol Flynn, Betty Grable and Alice Faye in Tin Pan Alley, even King's Row possibly - we could all suggest our favourites. Not all of these are even available on DVD. Imagining them coloured to this standard would be truly marvellous.
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Few things are as enjoyable as watching the two old smoothies, Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire, at the top of their game doing what they do best, and doing it better than anyone else. With Holiday Inn, make it three old smoothies: Crosby, Astaire and Irving Berlin. In fact, the only thing to get in the way of the movie is the plot. It's boy meets girl, boy loses girl to his best friend and partner. Repeat with another girl. Then bring back the first girl. Do another roundelay until boy and second girl and partner and first girl all have a happy ending.
What makes the movie work so well and is such a pleasure to watch, of course, is Crosby singing, Astaire dancing, and both doing their charming best with songs, some new, some old, by Irving Berlin. Berlin was one of the great American song writers who hit their peak from the late Twenties through the late Forties. Many of the cognoscenti sniff their noses at him as corny or just too popular. Berlin was, in fact, a highly skilled and immensely talented song writer. He wrote songs which were original, catchy, varied and inevitable...that rare quality in a song that hits a listener with a melody never heard before yet which seems as if each note could never have been placed in any other way. He also was a shrewd businessman. Holiday Inn is one of several movies Berlin personally pitched to Hollywood. The stories were never much, but Berlin would mix hits from his catalogue and write new songs. In addition to Holiday Inn, think of There's No Business Like Show Business, Blue Skies, Alexander's Ragtime Band, This Is the Army and White Christmas. The genesis in each case was Berlin. They worked so well because Berlin could write hits in so many styles, lush and romantic, sad and romantic, waltzes, comedy numbers, ballads, syncopated struts, jazzy, patriotic, sentimental or bawdy. It's not for nothing that Cole Porter and Fred Astaire were close friends of his. Personally, I think he could write in more styles and yet keep his own personality intact than any of the great American songwriters except Richard Rodgers. Considering his competition included Gershwin, Porter, Kern and Rodgers, I realize that's quite a statement. If I were stranded on a desert island and could only listen -- over and over -- to the songs of one Broadway composer, Rodgers would be first choice. Berlin would be second.
In Holiday Inn, the idea is simple. Jim Hardy (Bing Crosby) leaves the team of Hardy and Hanover (Fred Astaire as Ted Hanover) to lead a lazy, country life on a Connecticut farm, far away from the incessant work of show business. He thinks he's going to marry the third member of the team, Lila Dixon (Virginia Dale). For those keeping score, she's girl number one. But Ted wins Lila, who is good natured up to the point where her ambition takes over, with promises of a bright dancing career. Later, Jim mets Linda Mason (Marjorie Reynolds) and gets the idea of turning his farm into Holiday Inn, a cozy, bucolic supper-club which will open only on holidays. But Lila has left Ted, Ted meets Linda, and...you get the idea.
From his catalogue, Berlin provided major hits such as "Lazy" and "Easter Parade." Among the lesser known songs or songs written specifically for the movie are "You're Easy to Dance With," "Be Careful, It's My Heart" and a song that got off to a slow start but which turned into one of Berlin's powerhouse hits, "White Christmas." Notable numbers include...
--"I'll Capture Her Heart Singing" - This starts the movie and introduces us to the team of Hardy and Hanover. It's jaunty, funny and perfectly matches, with tongue in cheek, the singing skills of Crosby and the dancing skills of Astaire.
--"You're Easy to Dance With" - Astaire and Virginia Dale do this number as a star supper-club number from their act. It's a smooth, fluid routine, part swing, part tap, that's sophisticated and perfectly executed.
--"White Christmas" - It's sung with few embellishments by Crosby. The song is such a perennial and is heard so incessantly over the Christmas holidays that it's almost impossible to listen to it objectively. What strikes me about it is how carefully Berlin paired a deceptively simple melody with such evocative and concrete imagery.
--"Abraham" - For contemporary audiences, this song probably reaches new heights (or lows) in political incorrectness. The song is sung by Crosby as a celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birthday and Lincoln's freeing of the slaves. So far, so good. But Crosby, the singers and dancers, even the members of the band, are all in blackface. It's like watching a reverential minstrel show. This sort of thing was acceptable a generation ago. Now, we can only remember history, try to understand, then flinch and move on.
--"Be Careful, It's My Heart" - The number starts out being sung by Crosby, then turns into one of those great, romantic wooing numbers by Astaire with Marjorie Reynolds. The conclusion is a knock out. Astaire and Reynolds sweep around behind a large valentine and, backlit so only their shadows show, pause and hold a classic pose in silhouette, then continue back to the dance floor. They sweep around again behind the valentine, but this time they leap through it toward us, tearing what had seemed a solid backdrop into paper shreds. It's highly dramatic and unexpected.
--"Say It With Firecrackers" - This turned out to be one of Astaire's most complicated dance numbers; it took 38 takes to get it right. He starts out with fast tapping and never lets up...then takes it higher by incorporating firecrackers and exploding torpedoes into the dance, pulling them from his pockets and hurling them on the polished dance floor, matching the explosions in perfect rhythm to his taps. It's quite a sight.
Holiday Inn has charm, first-class performances by Crosby and Astaire and memorable songs by Berlin. The picture transfer is very good; so is the audio. Extras include a commentary track by Ken Barnes, identified as a film historian, and two extras, one of which features an interview with Astaire's daughter. For those interested in the composer, I recommend As Thousands Cheer: The Life of Irving Berlin by Laurence Bergreen and The Complete Lyrics of Irving Berlin by Robert Kimball.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This film has been a favourite of mine since I was a child. Fred Astaire's dancing in this is as good as any film he made and the 'firecracker' solo routine is particularly memorable.
The music, of course, is a collection of Irvine Berlin songs that have become standards over the years. The first outing for 'White Christmas' is here and also Easter Parade: a song for each holiday. With Bing Crosby delivering, they are very good indeed.
There's a bit (not too much) of second world war propaganda (this was made in 1942).
I must confess that the film has dated a bit: there are some scenes that would not be acceptable today in terms of stereotyping, but it is a product of its age and has to be viewed in that light.
Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby work very well together. Although Astaire was no slouch as a singer, this film allows him to major on his dancing whilst Crosby concentrates on the vocals.
On the technical side, the good news is that the prints are high quality. The colouring of the original black and white film is excellent - really very, very good. It is so good that it is easy to forget that the colour is an add-on. I have seen some colourised films where, frankly, it would have been better to leave the print as it was. Not so here, in my opinion: the colour works.
So ... good music, singing and dancing. A thin plot, as always, but not corny like some films of the time. This is still a good evening's entertainment over seventy years after it was made. Slightly dated now, so not a top rating, but still well worth four stars.
26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Paramount Pictures presents "HOLIDAY INN" (4 August 1942) (100 mins/B&W/Color) (Dolby digitally remastered) -- Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire were the stars of Holiday Inn with support from Marjorie Reynolds and Virginia Dale --- Produced and directed by Mark Sandrich, filming took place between November 1941 and February 1942. Holiday Inn had its premiere at the New York Paramount Theatre in August 1942. It was a runaway success both in the U.S. and the United Kingdom, proving to be the highest grossing film musical up to that time --- The big song had been expected to be "BE CAREFUL, IT'S MY HEART" --- While that song did very well, it was "WHITE CHRISTMAS" that topped the charts in October 1942 and stayed there for eleven weeks.
Story line and plot, In the first of two films the other being "Blue Skies" (1946), Astaire and Crosby did together the characters are remarkably the same --- Ted Hanover (Fred Astaire) is the elegant and charming show business professional who's ambitious for success --- Jim Hardy (Bing Crosby) is the talented, but lazy partner who just wants a life of ease and comfort and not to work more than he has to --- Small wonder that their double act broke up --- But now enter a complication --- They both get interested in the same girl who in this film is Linda Mason (Marjorie Reynolds) --- Plus Lila Dixon (Virginia Dale, who becomes Fred's dancing partner with some wonderful routines in fine fashion.
"BE CAREFUL IT'S MY HEART", the Valentine's Day song, sung by Crosby and danced to by Astaire and Reynolds --- Fred Astaire gave a tour de force performance, singing, and, of course, dancing his way through this delightful piece in rare form --- It is said that he worked so hard during rehearsals that he wasted away some 25 pounds by the time he filmed the firecracker number --- He might just as well have been weightless, because he defies gravity with his every move.
Under the production staff of:
Mark Sandrich - Director / Producer
Claude Binyon - Screenwriter
Elmer Rice - Screenwriter
Dave Abel - Cinematographer
Irving Berlin - Composer (Music Score)
Robert Emmett Dolan - Musical Direction/Supervision / Composer (Music Score)
Ellsworth Hoagland - Editor
Hans Dreier - Production Designer
Roland Anderson - Art Director
Edith Head - Costume Designer
Wally Westmore - Makeup
Charles C. Coleman, Jr. - First Assistant Director
Daniel Dare - Choreography
Disc One -- Irving Berlin's: Holiday Inn
1. Love Triangle (Main Titles) [4:39]
2. "I'll Capture Your Heart Singing" [5:43]
3. "Lazy" [8:26]
4. "You're Easy to Dance With" [3:40]
5. "White Christmas" [6:18]
6. "Happy Holiday/Holiday Inn" [3:09]
7. Let's Start the New Year Right" [6:19]
8. A New Partner [3:29]
9. In Disguise [3:30]
10. "Abraham" [5:46]
11. "Be Careful, It's My Heart" [6:38]
12. "I Can't Tell a Lie" [6:38]
13. "Easter Parade" [3:42]
14. "Song of Freedom" [3:11]
15. "Let's Say It With Firecrackers" [7:49]
16. "Plenty to Be Thankful For" [6:24]
17. Lights, Camera, Action [4:52]
18. Happy New Year (End Titles) [8:06]
the cast includes:
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 ... François
James Bell ... Dunbar
John Gallaudet ... Parker
Shelby Bacon ... Vanderbilt
Bing Crosby (aka: Harry Lillis Crosby)
Date of Birth: 2 May 1903 - Tacoma, Washington
Date of Death: 14 October 1977 - Madrid, Spain
2. Fred Astaire (aka: Frederic Austerlitz Jr)
Date of Birth: 10 May 1899 - Omaha, Nebraska
Date of Death: 22 June 1987 - Los Angeles, California
1. A couple of song and dance men; An intimate retrospective of Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire
on interview with Ava Astaire-McKenzie;
2 All singing - All dancing; Experience the making of the unforgettable song and dance numbers of Holiday Inn; ;
3. Audio commentary; Feature length audio commentary by film historian Ken Barnes with archive audio comments
by Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire and John Scott Trotter.
4. Original theatrical trailer
Great job by Paramount Pictures and released by Universal ---The conversion of color is done by Legend Films, which has colorized a number of Shirley Temple films --- The results are remarkable. If you'd never seen a Technicolor film, you'd think "Holiday Inn" was shot in color --- looking forward to more high quality titles from their film market --- order your copy now from Amazon where there are plenty of copies available on DVD, stay tuned once again for top notch releases --- where they are experts in releasing long forgotten films and treasures to the collector.
Total Time: 100 mins on DVD ~ Paramount Pictures ~ (10/14/2008)