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Holiday Inn

Holiday Inn (1942), starring Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Marjorie Reynolds, Virginia Dale

Editorial review of Holiday Inn courtesy of Amazon.com

This perennial, Christmas-season favorite from 1942 teamed Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire as entertainers (and rival suitors of Marjorie Reynolds) running an inn that is only open on holidays. It’s a great excuse for lots of singing and dancing, seamlessly wrapped in a catchy story, and Astaire’s frequent director Mark Sandrich (Top Hat, Shall We Dance?) doesn’t let us down. The Irving Berlin numbers (each one connected to a different holiday) are winners. Crosby’s warm performance of “White Christmas” is a movie touchstone. –Tom Keogh

In 1942, Fred Astaire and Bing Crosby teamed up at Der Bingle’s Paramount Pictures for Holiday Inn, a black-and-white musical that proves more entertaining than Crosby’s color semi-remake White Christmas in 1954. Astaire and Crosby play partner/rival song-and-dance men who compete for the hand of their performing partner, played by Virginia Dale. After Crosby loses, he moves to the Connecticut countryside where he creates a resort that is only open on holidays and puts on the shows with the help of Marjorie Reynolds. Dumped by Dale, Astaire makes a drunken arrival at the inn on New Year’s Eve and dances with Reynolds. He decides she’ll be his new partner, but doesn’t remember what she looks like, setting off a frenzied search at every subsequent show while the once-bitten Crosby does his best to steer him off track.

Holiday Inn (1942), starring Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Marjorie Reynolds, Virginia DaleThe theme gives Irving Berlin an excuse to craft or recycle a number of holiday-themed songs, such as (in the former category) “Washington’s Birthday” or (in the latter) “Easter Parade.” The most famous of the new material, of course, is “White Christmas,” which became one of the bestselling songs of all time and the title song of Crosby’s 1954 film. Astaire and Crosby also team up for “I’ll Capture Her Heart,” which playfully contrasts the stars’ specialties, and Astaire’s “It’s So Easy to Dance with You” became one of the signature songs of his post-Ginger Rogers career. Astaire and Crosby teamed up again for Blue Skies in 1946. –David Horiuchi

Cast of characters in Holiday Inn